ROLLS-ROYCE GHOST (EWB)
if NOT TO CALL THIS new variant of the Ghost if you wish to stay friends
with the folk at Goodwood: this car is not ‘stretched’ or ‘long wheelbase’, it is ‘Extended Wheelbase’, though if you really want an old-fashioned look, call it ‘EWB’.
I can see why. One of the fossils that passed fora teacher at school was called EWB and it’s not an association I’d care to be reminded of. But call it what you will, its appeal lies in offering the interior room of a stretched Ghost while disguising its extra 61/2in so cleverly on the outside, I had to get one of the Rolls chaps to park one of the long (I mean extended) wheelbase cars next to a standard Ghost to tell the difference.
It’s all in the rear door, and the room it creates inside means this Ghost is substantially more spacious than a Phantom, though, at £229,000, usefully over £50,000 more affordable. Will this steal sales from the flagship model? Apparently not. In the rarefied world of Rolls-Royce, there are Ghost customers and Phantom customers, and only collectors have both. In engineering terms, it was a simple job: no changes to the engine or suspension, nor to the chassis to offset the inevitable loss of torsional rigidity brought by positioning
the wheels even further apart Weight goes up by 1321b, but almost half of that is down to the standard sunroof.
I took it out on the roads of West Sussex, spending time in all four seats. I couldn’t decide whether I preferred it with or without the steering wheel in my hands, which suggests that Rolls-Royce has judged this car just about perfectly.
Oddly, however I still don’t get that frisson of excitement I feel when I drive a Phantom. These days a Phantom seems old, slow, and technologically antediluvian, and it was never preffy even when new. But in the way they address the road and the ambience of their interior, they offer something no other car on sale can approach, not even the faster, preffier, more spacious and far cheaper Ghost with its, er, elongated wheelbase.