It’s bigger, sleeker, more powerful and chock-full of advanced technology.
But at its core, the all-new Ghost sedan is a Rolls-Royce. Despite recent claims of a “post-opulence” approach, the redesigned 2021 model still is the epitome of ultra-luxury, refinement and amenities.
Gone is the previous generation’s BMW 7-derived chassis. In its place is a Rolls-exclusive platform that also carries the marquee’s Phantom sedan and Cullinan crossover vehicle.
2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost (Images: Rolls-Royce)
Built on a 130-inch wheelbase, the new Ghost stretches to 218 inches from bumper to bumper and is 85 inches wide and 62 inches tall. This makes it more than an inch wider and nearly four inches longer than its predecessor. A long-wheelbase variant adds another seven inches in length, most of which is meant to benefit chauffeured rear-seat passengers.
The all-aluminum spaceframe architecture keeps the car’s curb weight down to a relatively svelte (for its massive size) 5,600 lbs.
The new chassis enables all-wheel drive and four-wheel steering. It also supports a sophisticated air suspension with an industry-first upper wishbone damper in the front assembly, which the carmaker says enhances ride quality. An integrated control unit coordinates suspension and steering settings with GPS data and information from cameras that monitor upcoming road conditions.
The second-generation Ghost is all-new from the ground up, with only the Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament carried over from the current model.
The minimalist design is highlighted by the spaceframe architecture that allows a seamless body flowing from the A-pillar to the rear of the car without any gaps. The structure requires four craftsmen to simultaneously hand weld the body together.
Laser-welded aluminum doors provide weight benefits and improve stiffness and interior acoustics, Rolls-Royce points out.
Up front, the carmaker’s signature grille is wider, taller and cleaner (the surrounding border is eliminated) than the current model. The new look is highlighted by 20 LED lights that shine down to illuminate the grille slats, which in turn reflect light outward.
The headlights also are larger and angled slightly to sweep up toward the corners of the fascia.
Machine in the Ghost
The new Ghost teams Rolls-Royce's 6.75-liter twin-turbo V-12 engine with an 8-speed automatic transmission. The combination generates 563 hp and 627 lb-ft of torque—with maximum torque available at 1,600 rpm—and propels the car from zero to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds on its way to a top speed of 155 mph.
The air intake system is integrated into larger porting to minimize noise transmission into the passenger cabin. And the suspension mountings were moved forward to allow the engine to be packaged directly behind the front axle to achieve a 50:50 weight distribution.
Star Interior, Added Safety
The minimalist design carries over to the interior, which the carmaker says is characterized by reduction and restraint.
The dashboard spans nearly the full width of the interior, encompassing the infotainment center and the instrument panel. But the highlight is a 152-unit LED system that lights up a constellation of stars on the passenger side of the dash—similar to the Starlight headliner that’s available as an option on the Ghost and other Rolls models.
To keep things quiet, the floor and firewall are double-walled with composite material. The Ghost also gets 200 lbs of sound insulation, special HVAC treatment, seat dampers and additional cavities in the 17.9-cu-ft trunk.
All doors can be automatically opened and closed by a push of a button. Other goodies include:
- 18-speaker, 1,300-watt audio system with speakers integrated into the door sills and headliner
- Air purification system
- Head-up display
On the safety front, the Ghost is equipped with adaptive cruise control, active lane keeping, a surround-view camera system with an overhead view, automatic park assistance and front and rear parking sensors.
Topology optimization cuts part development time and costs, material consumption, and product weight. And it works with additive, subtractive, and all other types of manufacturing processes, too.
The high-end automotive CAD/CAM systems do a whole lot more than their name implies. In addition to design and manufacturing, they have the ability to support analysis, product data management, and more.
Although the term “continuous improvement” is generally associated with another company, Honda is certainly pursuing that approach, as is evidenced by the Accord, which is now in its ninth generation.