Dallas, TX – When the Rolls-Royce Ghost debuted in 2009 as a slightly smaller, less aristocratic luxury sedan than the Phantom, it became the famed British company’s second all-new model after its acquisition by BMW a decade before, and offered an enticing recipe of upper crust mannerisms as well as an even more potent V12 than the one offered on the range-topping Phantom.
With 110 more horsepower and similarly serene wafting capability to its significantly pricier big brother, the original Ghost could arguably be seen as somewhat of a value model within Rolls-Royce’s lofty hierarchy, if there can be such a concept for any car starting at US$245,000. This was the car directed to new money owners, typically successful entrepreneurs who appreciated the traditional quality and comfort afforded by a Rolls-Royce, yet those who managed to build up their wealth largely through shrewd business deals.
To these Rolls buyers, offering something more for less – even when money is no object – is very much an appealing formula.
That formula has proven popular enough to install the Ghost as one of the pillars of the Rolls-Royce lineup, helping to spark the exponential growth that has quadrupled the size of the company since 2009. Even with the firm’s traditionally lengthy product design cycles, that’s a long time in the auto business, so Rolls flew us to Dallas to sample the refreshed 2015 Rolls-Royce’s Ghost Series II, which now starts at US$285,705, with Ghosts quietly gliding into showrooms beginning this month (October).
The Rolls folks may be disinclined to call this reworking a face lift, but on its front end is exactly where onlookers will most likely notice the subtle visual differences of the Ghost II, if they notice it at all. The hood is now higher for an even more upright, regal silhouette, with a new LED headlight design that rings the now kinked headlight design. It’s a headlight shape that may be familiar to recent Chrysler 300 buyers, ironic because the 300’s design was initially deemed a mainstream homage to Bentley, another historic British luxury marque now under German stewardship (part of the Volkswagen Group) – plus generally seen as Rolls-Royce’s closest market rival.
Another new styling element for the Ghost II is the so-called wake channel on the hood, or bonnet, as the Brits like to call it. It’s a V-shaped groove that runs back from the famous Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament, which as usual can be made to disappear or reappear at will. Chrome inserts in the front air intakes are also giveaways that this is a Ghost II, but the new wheels, headlights and wake channel are the most apparent of the subtle changes. Evolutionary is an understatement here.
2015 Rolls-Royce Ghost Series II, Spirit of Ecstacy, driver’s seat. Click image to enlarge
“Our customers want changes that are very subtle,” insisted Richard Carter, RR’s oh-so- British director of global communications. “They’ve just spent half a million dollars on a work of art, so they don’t want to be shocked with something new.”
Our first experience with the interior of this Ghost II was straight from the airport, where our driver Miles picked us up to effortlessly whisk us away to our downtown Dallas hotel. Miles was flown over for the week of international media drives to provide information, sure, but also another hint of proper British culture. He was obviously an experienced Rolls driver, always careful to just quietly nudge the door closed, allowing the power latching system to close them without any uncouth door slams.