In 2009, Rolls-Royce announced a new addition to its portfolio that offered something entirely different to its flagship Phantom. This product resonated with a new group of men and women who responded to the marque’s relentless pursuit of perfection in design, engineering and craftsmanship, but sought a more modest and minimalist expression of Rolls-Royce. The execution of the first Goodwood Ghost, and its laser focus on meeting the demands of its clients, was an unmitigated success, and over the course of its ten-year lifecycle, this transformative motor car became the most successful product in the company’s 116-year history. Ghost’s formidable success was vital in enabling the brand to scale up production, invest in its capabilities and establish Rolls-Royce as the truly global brand it is today. Due to Ghost’s energetic, dynamic personality, these clients came to realise that the Rolls-Royce brand could offer more than a chauffeur-driven experience. Indeed, in the United States of America and areas of Europe, clients were self-driving their Ghost from the very early stages of its introduction. Meanwhile, in Asia, clients were engaging heavily in the connected technology on board, be it for business or pleasure.
Client feedback asking for near-instant torque and near-silent running led the marque to further develop the Rolls-Royce 6.75-litre twin-turbocharged V12 petrol engine. A bespoke Ghost engine map was created to ensure ample performance for this dynamic motor car, delivering 563bhp/420kW and 850Nm/627lb ft of torque to the all-wheel steer, all-wheel drivetrain. Commensurate with clients’ expectations, maximum torque is available from just 1600rpm – only 600rpm above tick-over. To further refine its already remarkable acoustic properties, the air intake system incorporated larger porting to reduce engine presence in the interior suite. The moveable aluminium bulkhead, floor, crossmembers and sill panels were positioned specifically to ensure new Rolls-Royce Ghost meets client expectations as a motor car that is equally enjoyable to drive as it is to be driven in. Two of the cast suspension mounting assembles were pushed to the very front of new Ghost, placing its 6.75-litre V12 behind the front axle to achieve an optimum 50/50 weight distribution.
Since the launch of the first Goodwood Rolls-Royce, great care has been taken to create a distinctive aesthetic universe for each motor car. These unique domains have been created based on the design values to which different layers of Rolls-Royce clients respond. New Rolls-Royce Ghost reflects an evolved appreciation of luxury, one defined by minimalism and purity, but underpinned by great substance. In the pre-sketch ideation phase of new Ghost’s design development, this treatment was named ‘Post Opulence’ – a movement defined by authenticity of materials rather than overt statement, which had already established roots in architecture, fashion, jewellery and boat design. In addition, new Rolls-Royce Ghost was given its own ethereal front-end character. This was achieved not by way of overt design, but with light. 20 LEDS underneath the top of the radiator grille subtly illuminate the veins. During the development phase, early prototypes were over-effective and the light reflecting from the polished uprights looked too striking.
A clear understanding of clients’ changing luxury consumption patterns and a broader view of emerging design movements informed the marque that the interior aesthetic should pursue the same minimalist principles as the exterior. Busy details and superficial embellishments were rejected not only to create a more relaxing refuge, but to better celebrate the material substance and maximise the impact of bespoke colour personalisation. Wood sets for new Ghost are available in an open-pore finish, bravely showcasing materials in their naked form. Indeed, two new finishes have been developed specifically for the motor car. The first is Obsidian Ayous, inspired by the rich versatility of colours found in lava rock. The second is Dark Amber; this introduces subtle glamour to the interior suite by integrating veins of fine aluminium particles into the dark wood. As with the leather finishes, this material is left exposed as long, single-veneer leaves, bisected only by cold-to-the-touch real metal vents, through which MEPS-filtered air reaches the cabin. However, creating an environment defined by reduction, simplicity and elegance is an extremely complex endeavour. It also relies on sourcing the very finest materials; leathers, woods and metals left unembellished will invite the scrutiny of these most discerning of clients.
For new Ghost, the marque’s Bespoke Collective of designers, engineers and craftspeople created Illuminated Fascia: a world-first innovation that subtly echoes the Starlight Headliner, which has become as much a part of Rolls-Royce iconography as the Spirit of Ecstasy, Pantheon Grille and ‘Double R’ monogram. Developed over the course of two years and more than 10,000 collective hours, this remarkable piece brings an ethereal glowing Ghost nameplate, surrounded by more than 850 stars, into the interior suite of the motor car. Located on the passenger side of the dashboard, the constellation and wordmark are completely invisible when the interior lights are not in operation. Perfectly attuned to new Rolls-Royce Ghost’s Post Opulent design treatment, the Bespoke Collective chose not to use simple screen technology to achieve the effect they desired. The illumination itself comes from 152 LEDs mounted above and beneath the fascia, each meticulously colour matched to the cabin’s clock and instrument dial lighting. To ensure the Ghost wordmark is lit evenly, a 2mm-thick light guide is used, featuring more than 90,000 laser-etched dots across the surface.
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