The tradition continues: big, fast and rich

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Did you know that the optimum temperature for serving vintage French champagne is 11 ° C? Or that the recommended temperature for non-vintage bubbles is a cooler 6C.

I know because the lovely people at Rolls Royce told me. They learned it from a master sommelier.

There is no doubt that it helps to know these things when selling cars with a million dollar asking price and with a reputation for unsurpassed luxury.

But the champagne?

Well, the latest Rolls Royce model to hit Australian shores, the recently released Ghost Extended, offers the option of a sneaky little champagne chest tucked between the rear seats.

One temperature setting is for the good stuff, the other for the cheaper drop (presumably used when an unloved aunt is perched in the back).

It is of course accompanied by four mouth-blown crystal goblets and mother-of-pearl caviar spoons. Oh, and four Rolls Royce cotton towels.

Which is great for the typical Rolls owner sitting in the back and letting someone named Geeves drive. But this car breaks that mold.

Rolls Royce says the Ghost is the kind of car its owners (Rolls Royce calls them “customers”) will prefer to drive.

Rolls Royce is, in every way, the benchmark for luxury and indulgence.

This second-generation Ghost supplants the most successful model in the brand’s 116-year history, the original Ghost launched in 2009. Released in September 2020, when Britain was at the heart of COVID-19, the new model was nevertheless adopted by a greedy market.

To say they have thought of everything is an understatement.

From the way the doors open (they are powered by electric motors, so “exit or entry” is effortless) to the RR embossed umbrellas that fit neatly into a recess in the doors, nothing is wrong. ‘is left to chance.

The brand’s iconic “spirit of extacy” ornament sitting atop this famous grille automatically retracts if the car detects a souvenir hunter.

Hidden LED downlights ensure that the pantheon grille of the car is always illuminated.

And like the ingenious little RR badges in the center of the wheels, which level automatically to ensure the logo always stays upright when the car is at rest.

The Ghost is, indeed, the “baby” of the Rolls fleet, overtaken by the flagship Phantom, the all-new Cullinan SUV and the two-door models called Wraith (coupe) and Dawn (convertible).

While technically you can buy a Ghost for $ 628,000, plus road costs, you will rarely find one with a price tag lower than seven figures. These are the endless options – all handmade, most custom.

The biggest addition is what’s called Ghost Extended – which adds 220mm to the vehicle’s length and 170mm to its rear legroom.

So what’s it like to drive? Well, that’s cool.

What you might not expect is the fact that this massive machine (it’s 5,546mm long, 2,148mm wide, and weighs almost three tons) is capable of hitting the speed limit. in 4.8 seconds. This happens thanks to a 6.75-liter twin-turbo V12 engine developing 420 kilowatts and 850 Nm, accessible from an impressive 1,750 rpm.

The cabin will be filled with melodies from an 18-speaker, 1300W per channel audio system. Or by using the built-in wi-fi.

The cockpit is opulent yet functional and surprisingly clean, with the best of leather and hand-polished woods.

The technology is amazing.

In addition to all-wheel drive, the Ghost is all-wheel drive to make maneuvering as easy as possible. Fortunately, the big machine pulls up when asked.

Consider the “flag carrier system” which allows the Ghost to adjust itself, during the race, to optimize comfort and safety. Using two roof-mounted cameras to scan the road ahead, it identifies irregularities in the road surface, such as bumps or potholes, adjusting the air suspension accordingly.

Likewise, the car uses satellite mapping to scan the road ahead, ensuring that if you approach a particularly tight curve at high speed, the car will automatically downshift in preparation.

The laser headlights have a range of over 600m, complemented by a day and night warning for wildlife and pedestrians.

Less practical, but typical of detail, is the ‘starry sky’, which includes up to 1,300 hand-drilled recesses in the pure suede roof liner, each with a fiber-optic LED to mimic the carpet. stars above.

Or, if you prefer, choose a panoramic sunroof to see the actual stars.

Rolls Royce produces a relatively modest number of 5,500 cars each year, all the more impressive as each vehicle takes a month to build, using 44 pairs of hands.

Of these, the Cullinan SUV will account for around 50 percent of sales this year, with the Ghost accounting for 25 percent as the “entry-level” model in the lineup.

The two vehicles share the same aluminum space frame and the same engine and transmission, although the Cullinan costs $ 705,000 and the Ghost $ 35,000 less.

Our test vehicle, one of the first of its kind in Australia, included enough additional options to bring its base price to $ 880,000, plus road trips.

Hey, it’s only money. And think how cool your champagne will be.

ROLLS ROYCE GHOST EXTENDED

* WHAT SIZE? Massive on any scale other than Rolls-Royce (this is one of their smaller vehicles). Room for four adults in pure opulence, plus 500 liters of Louis Vuitton bags in the trunk.

* AT WHAT SPEED? Thanks to its twin-turbo V12 engine, it reaches the speed limit in 4.8 seconds.

* WHAT THIRST? Her thirst is considerable – expect 15.7 L / 100 km – but at least she will run on 91RON fuel (she prefers 95 though).

* HOW MUCH? If you have to ask, you can’t afford it. Prices start from a check mark above $ 650,000, but most buyers sign up for at least $ 200,000 in options.


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