Ghost under starter's orders

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 12 September, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 12 September, 2009, 12:00am

The new Rolls-Royce Ghost will be presented by the marque's senior Asia and China executives at Entrance E of the Hong Kong Jockey Club at the Happy Valley Racecourse at 3.30pm on September 17, the first stop of its regional tour.

Inspired by the experimental model 200EX, and available here and on the mainland by mid 2010, the Ghost (below) seems a feat of engineering. The 'baby' Rolls' new 6.6-litre turbo-charged V12 is said to swish 563bhp, hit 100km/h in 4.7 seconds and top at a governed 250km/h, yet sips about the equivalent of a 2008 4.2-litre sports utility vehicle or 1975 Triumph Stag at 13.6 l/100km (20.8mpg) on a combined run for the carbon dioxide spew of 317g/km, (an Audi Q7 spews 326g/km). The Ghost's oomph could tempt some local bosses out of their back seats, the marque says.

'It is the most driver-focused car of the Rolls-Royce range, thanks to the eight speed shift-by-wire automatic ZF gearbox, driver assistance, peerless air suspension and Dynamic Stability Control systems,' says Rolls-Royce Asia-Pacific spokesman Hal Serudin. 'So expect an owner to give the chauffeur the day off.'

The driver sits in a slightly elevated position behind the wheel, which the marque describes as 'the authority position'. The fascia has been kept clear; it is spacious in design and has an intuitive layout, we're told, and the control centre display is concealed behind a veneered panel until its services are called upon.

'Features such as satellite navigation, telephone, communication and entertainment functions are displayed here and managed via a central rotary controller, flanked by quick-access buttons on the front centre console,' the marque says.

The Ghost's road cameras sound handy for Hong Kong's congestion. Rear, front side and top view cameras 'can combine to give a fish-eye view at blind junctions or provide ground images with obstacle recognition and reverse path prediction when parking', the marque says.

A night-vision camera in the grille 'works with Pedestrian Recognition to detect objects up to 300 metres away and display them on the central screen in the dash', Rolls-Royce says.

The Ghost is also fitted with a head-up display, cruise stop and go and lane-departure warning systems, and a high-beam assistance facility that 'monitors the light from any source at the front of the vehicle and automatically dips or raises the headlights accordingly.

The car's intelligent, four-cornered, air-suspension system and electronic variable damping system is said to be so sensitive 'that it can detect even the smallest of changes'. The system will sense the movement of a single rear passenger from one side of the seat to the other and compensate accordingly, Rolls-Royce says.