Test-driving the 2023 Rolls-Royce Ghost

Cars

Having a 2023 Rolls-Royce Ghost in the driveway is like adding an addition to your house. You’ll lounge in the Ghost’s heavenly back seat on breezy summer nights, shoes off, feet coddled on the plush rug, perhaps enjoying a meal (carefully), watching the world go by, perhaps holding hands with a loved one. You might even have someone driving up front while you guys eat peeled grapes.
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2023 Rolls-Royce Ghost RR

And why shouldn’t you, in a vehicle whose MSRP is $348,500, $488,050 as tested? The world is harsh and the Ghost is soft and muted, a respite. But don’t let the calm fool you. Underneath its hood there is a Godzilla – a 6.75I V, Twin-Turbocharged 563 horsepower 12-cylinder engine mated to a 8-speed automatic gearbox.

The engine doesn’t growl and it doesn’t roar, but when you step on it, you go – in a big hurry, from 0-60 in 4.6 seconds despite your 5,450 pounds. And see that pothole over there that you can’t steer around? Hit it and you’ll feel like you’re running over one of the grapes. The car is equipped with standard adaptive suspension, employing a road-scanning camera assisting the vehicle in anticipating and compensating for potholes.

2023 Rolls-Royce Ghost DASH
2023 Rolls-Royce Ghost RR

As with its brother Phantom, Ghost is equipped with coach rear doors so you can fling open the gates with a flourish toward you, or your driver can. There are, of course, so many more options, some of the highlights of which are:

2023 Rolls-Royce Ghost HEADLINER
2023 Rolls-Royce Ghost RR

*The “Starlighter” headliner now comes standard and customizable with a constellation of stars, including shooting stars.

*Two sturdy full-size umbrellas are stowed within the guts of the rear passengers’ doors. There aren’t many who don’t know this, but Rolls-Royces typically have enormous, sturdy umbrellas stored in each of its rear doors. Whether or not it’s raining, most people demand you demonstrate once they become aware of them.

I’ve learned to merely remove the umbrellas rather than opening them and attempt ting to get them back in their holders. Picture trying to put toothpaste back in the tube. I’m just not great at it putting the umbrellas back.

*Self-righting wheel centres

Your rim badges are never lopsided, upside down, or anything but straight and centre.

The drive

It’s big and heavy. You’ve got to get used to the “play” in the accelerator which provides some of the smoothness of starting off, but your foot plays a big part, too. The brake pedal isn’t the most communicative and the handling is equally not-sharpsharp – but it’s not a sports car. All this can be quickly adjusted to and you can get back to the business of tooling around enjoying yourself, or blasting off when need be. You have zero complaints.

2023 Rolls-Royce Rear Seats
2023 Rolls-Royce Ghost RR
Inside

You won’t find a 5-star hotel with a better vibe. Every stitch is hand-sewn and everything you see is hand-built using the highest quality leather, wood and all other materials. It’s big, plush and ultra-comfortable. The pièce de résistance is the (available) headliner with its tiny, twinkly integrated LEDs to simulate a starlit sky. At night, the dashboard comes alive with illuminated ambiance.

Massaging seats aren’t my thing, but perhaps they will be yours. There is ample leg room and space, if needed, for bigger humans. Rear passengers get their own entertainment system and an available Wi-Fi hotspot. An 18-speaker Bespoke stereo system with 1300 watts of power and magnesium-ceramic speaker cones delivers mint sound, lots of crispy highs and booming lows.

The trunk is cavernous, and luxurious.

2023 Rolls-Royce Ghost REAR
2023 Rolls-Royce Ghost RR
Mileage

You get 14 or so MPG, perhaps 17 if you take it easy on the pedal. Those 12 cylinders are thirsty.

Dislikes?

*The nav system, which consistently scrolled out to show me my entire county rather than staying “pinched in” so I could clearly see the next turn. The nice English navigation lady was consistently late, telling me to turn when the turn had already gone by a few seconds earlier. She also could not understand me no matter how s-l-o-w-l-y and c-l-e-a-r-l-y I spoke. I finally just used my phone to navigate.

*The right side mirror consistently blocked the view of what might be coming on that side. I had to look over it or around it.

The overall vibe was deliciousness, though.

Warranty and Maintenance Coverage

I usually leave warranty information in a clickable link, but Ghost has a particularly good one, arriving with a four-year warranty and maintenance package which doesn’t expire when you reach a certain number of miles. A Limited warranty covers four years or unlimited miles, the Powertrain warranty covers four years or unlimited miles, and complimentary maintenance is covered for four years or unlimited miles.

And a word about customization – RR has noticed how many people trick out their Rolls-Royces in as many ways as there are customers. To illustrate, I was sent this one-off Ghost creation the company did for a Miami DJ going by the name of Champagne Rose and unveiled there in May.

Champagne Rose Signature Bespoke
Champagne Rose Signature Bespoke

It’s “a pure expression of individuality finished in a single Bespoke colorway. This Champagne Rose Signature Bespoke hue was conceived as the ultimate personal statement to celebrate the client’s artistic success.” Its ‘Champagne Rose’ Starlight Headliner took more than 60 hours to create.

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2023 Rolls-Royce Ghost JM

My Rolls was a distinctive “Duck Egg Blue” with mustard-yellow interior accents. Worked for me.

This article was first published on forbes.com and all figures are in USD.

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