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Baby Rolls-Royce model defines compact luxury

August 5, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
In these financially trying times, it seems as though nearly every automaker is developing smaller, more cost-efficient models, and Rolls-Royce is jumping on the bandwagon.

The Ghost sedan, nicknamed the "Baby Rolls-Royce," is 1.5 feet shorter, sits narrower and shorter and weights nearly 700 pounds less.

The Ghost also carries a lighter price tag, but it will still cost you around $250,000. But compared to Rolls' other sedan, the $380,000 Phantom, the nimble Ghost is a trimmer kind of roller.

Its underpinnings come courtesy of the BMW 7 Series, since Rolls-Royce is owned by BMW.

Under the Ghost's hood is a modified version of the V12 found in the 760Li. There's nothing like a V12 for syrupy smooth power and torque.

But you can be sure this is a true Rolls and not some re-bodied BMW. The craftsmanship and materials are purely British including the select hides for the seats, the rich wood and the polished brightwork.

Another level of luxury is the carpet - it's so thick you almost hate to mash it down with your shoes.

Some famous Rolls-Royce advertising copy from the 1960s declared that at 60 mph, the loudest noise inside the car was the ticking of the electric clock. The Ghost has a proper analog clock in the dash, but of course, clocks don't tick anymore. Still, this Rolls like every other, is very quiet at speed.

The constrained nature of a Rolls-Royce is evident throughout the car. There is no tacky tachometer in front of the driver. Instead, you'll find a power reserve meter.

The air-conditioner doesn't have a low setting for the fan - the setting is called soft.

And please, don't use the slang term "suicide doors" to describe the rear-hinged portals to the back seat. They're called coach doors.

Yes, it's huge, costs as much as many homes and it shares some parts with a much more common BMW.

But this more svelte example of a Rolls-Royce is a sign of the times, showing that even ultra luxury cars can offer a smaller, more restrained, slightly more fuel-efficient version of an automotive legend.


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