The key for the Rolls-Royce Ghost II is about twice the size of an average car key. And that’s appropriate because, as I’m about to discover, the Ghost is about twice the size of an average car.
Job One is to manoeuvre the thing out of the MR car park. Easier said than done, perhaps. This may be the ‘baby’ Rolls (at 56cm shorter than a Phantom), but that iconic chrome grille still juts out well beyond the confines of its parking space.
Thankfully, our Ghost has the optional 360° parking cameras. Thus what could have been a 28-point turn becomes, well… a seven-point turn.
This is the first time I’ve driven a Rolls-Royce and, edging out on to the open road, I am acutely aware of how much this car costs. At £220,000 before options, it isn’t vastly cheaper than my house. Fortunately, it is considerably faster.
With clear tarmac ahead, I bury the right pedal deep into the lambswool. The Ghost takes a short breath, then leaps forward with unbecoming haste for a vehicle weighing 2.5 tonnes (0-62mph takes 4.7 secs). Watching the car’s prow – complete with Spirit of Ecstasy – rise gently under acceleration is a unique and special experience.
Cruising inside a comfortable cocoon
I settle into a steady 60mph cruise, isolated from the outside world in my luxurious cocoon. Ride quality is remarkable, given those steamroller-sized 21-inch wheels. And for something with the aerodynamic properties of a Tudor manor house, wind noise is also muted.
Show this leviathan a few corners and it acquits itself well. There’s less body-roll than you might expect and no shortage of grip. However, you must keep the car’s mass in mind for braking; the pedal needs a decent shove when slowing from motorway speeds.
Many Ghost owners will only experience their cars from the back seat, and that’s a shame. In many respects this four-wheeled status symbol is no better than a Mercedes S-class costing half as much. Yet no S-class comes close for sense of occasion.
My time with the Rolls-Royce is brief, but it makes a lasting impression. For one hour, I played at being a plutocrat – and it was fabulous. Now I know what all the fuss is about.