Ghost's imminent arrival causes surge of interest
The brand name may well have passed into the English language - signifying anything that is very much at the top of its game - but the new four-door super luxury saloon from Rolls-Royce is a bravura example of how to gild the lily.
The Ghost - the most powerful car Rolls-Royce has ever built - debuted in Hong Kong last month, showcasing a more informal design that still embraces refinement, new technology and contemporary style.
Priced at HK$4.3 million - rising to about HK$5 million with a host of tempting optional extras - the Ghost has already caused a surge of interest among car owners in the region.
Powered by a 6.6 litre twin-turbo charged V12 engine, with an eight-speed automatic ZF gearbox, the Ghost can accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 4.9 seconds, and has an electronically governed top speed of 250km/h. While cruising at this speed would be frowned on by the authorities in Hong Kong, there are many attributes that make the Ghost eminently suitable for driving in the city.
'The Ghost exercises an enormous appeal,' said Colin Kelly, regional director for Rolls-Royce in Asia-Pacific.
'It has effortless power and a great contemporary style - it's not in any way stuffy. There is a great work ethic in Asia-Pacific, and especially in Hong Kong, and I think people like to reward themselves for their hard work, be it with a superb watch or a yacht, or a car like the Ghost.'
Eighty-five per cent of potential buyers who have expressed an interest in the Ghost have not previously owned a Rolls-Royce. While Hong Kong is seen as a prime market, new dealerships on the mainland - in Ningbo, Hangzhou and Shenzhen - are expected to be doing brisk business.
'Our customers are obviously successful and wealthy, but they are also looking for a car that is unique,' Kelly says. 'We encourage them to look at other makes of car as well, simply because we are confident that what we are selling is by far and away the best.'
The Ghost's exceptional performance is matched by the interior, which incorporates four-zone automatic air conditioning and two nine-inch LCD screens. The suspension is so sophisticated it will even compensate when a passenger moves from one side of the rear seat to the other.
Optional extras include a night vision camera, lane departure warning, and a key fob that automatically unlocks the doors from a distance of 1.5 metres.
The first Ghosts are due to be delivered to Hong Kong early next year, and the Rolls-Royce factory in England is increasing its workforce by 50 per cent to cope with the demand.