If you see a 2021 Rolls Royce Ghost cruising its way down a quiet boulevard, chances are that you might mistake it for its outgoing predecessor versus being anything radically new. The Ghost is one of the most successful models in the company’s history, and as a result, designers did not want to rock the boat too much when it came time to make the 2021 Ghost.
As mentioned earlier, the core design of the 2021 Ghost does not stray too far from its predecessor, with the new model only sharing the Spirit of Ecstasy badge and the door mounted umbrellas. The front fascia retains the core Rolls Royce motif, but new headlights are a vivid reminder of the bigger Phantom, while the wrap over radiator shell has been pitched, with the shell now being relegated purely to the front of the nose. This choice also forced a slight change in the Spirit of Ectasy’s perch, with the ornament being moved from her normal spot on top of the radiator shell, to her new home on the leading edge of the hood, with the piece being entirely surrounded by sheet metal. The front end itself is smoother, and features a prominent lower air intake that curls up at the edges and dovetails into elegant chrome streaks. The stand alone turn signals are also gone, and they are now integrated into the headlights themselves. The rear fascia gets a rounded trunk design, tweaked taillights, and a roof line that is very reminiscent of recent Rolls concepts.
With the company trying to keep the Ghost’s design familiar, engineers were given free reign to do whatever they wanted with the Ghost’s platform. The old model used a platform that had alot in common with the previous generation BMW 7-Series, but the 2021 Ghost pitches that setup, and now rides on its own version of Rolls’s “Architecture of Luxury.” This change allows the Ghost to join the Cullinan SUV and the larger Phantom sedan on this revolutionary platform, and also plays a prominent role in the $332,500 base sticker which is a $20,600 increase over the current sedan. But the benefits will certainly be worth the extra coin, with the platform delivering a ride that is opulently smooth and refreshingly secure.
The interior of the 2021 Ghost will ultimately be where the bulk of the changes will be found once occupants have a chance to nestle themselves into place. The old model’s busy looking squared off design is shelved, with designers opting for a more minimalist focused layout that is far more avant garde than either the Phantom or the Cullinan. The dashboard itself still feature prominent vertical features on the end of each side, but they are now integrated much better into the flatter dashboard. The wing shaped wood trim that first made its appearance on the Phantom is carried over to the Ghost, but since this piece is in a smaller car, it has less of a monolithic look to it, with the wing having a more airy looking appearance than before.
Rolls Royce claims that 20 half hides of leather were used to cover not only exposed interior bits, but also some of the hidden ones which should allow the Ghost to still be a very cushy place to spend time in. The center console houses the latest iteration of the company’s infotainment controller (aka iDrive with Rolls Royce exclusive graphics) while the infotainment system itself has been updated with new software. The Ghost also gets fully digital gauges for the first time, with the sleek screen aiming to create a timeless look. The company stopped short of revealing how large the screens for the gauges and the infotainment system are, but we suspect that while the screen size will most likely grow over the old model, they will still have an understated presence.
But Rolls Royce designers chose to go all out when it came to designing the dashboard fascia. Serving as a spiritual sequel to their last symbol of glorious over-achievement (the starlight headliner) the illuminated dashboard goes far beyond being a mere screen that was stuck on. You’ll be forgiven if you don’t notice what all the hype is about when the Ghost is off, with the piece looking like a typical gloss black trim piece. However, hit the start button, and all that rapidly changes with the panel giving occupants an unforgettable light show that lights up the Ghost lettering and surrounding starlight dots. The lettering and the star pinpricks were painstakingly etched into the piece, and are part of a broader process which we have covered here.
One other item that’s worth mentioning is that the Ghost will get electrically operated doors for the 2021 model year. A signature symbol of other recent Rolls Royce offerings, the system is activated when the occupant pulls the handle. Pulling the handle again and holding it will cause the door to open for as long as the handle is held which ensures an optimum space for occupants to enter or exit the car.
Performance hardware for the 2021 Ghost has been upgraded slightly, though this does not mean that smaller engines will find there way under the hood. Instead, an all new 6.8 liter V12 is shoehorned in, with the new mill now producing 563 horsepower and 627 lb-ft of torque. The new engine is supposed to have better low-end behavior than the outgoing 6.6 liter V12, and allows the Ghost to scamper its way to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds. All that power means that the engine is still a rather thirsty beast, with initial mileage estimates ringing in at just 12 mpg in city driving, and 14 mpg in combined EPA testing. An eight speed automatic and all-wheel drive also do their part to modernize the littlest Rolls Royce, with the transmission itself rumored to have an eco mode that can help squeeze a few extra miles per gallon out of the V12.
The suspension was designed to work hand in hand with the Architecture of Luxury platform, and that includes an unusual damper that is mounted on the upper wishbone. This world first technology helps provide even greater degrees of suspension control, while also allowing engineers to further refine the suspension for more comfort but without sacrificing desired levels of stability. The damper will not branch out into BMW offerings, and will remain a Rolls Royce exclusive which should please fans that want an offering that has exclusivity inside and out. It also joins a whole crew of other advanced suspension technologies at all four corners, which gives the Ghost greater poise and serenity in most types of driving. This includes an advanced Flagbearer system that reads the road surface through a stereo camera, and automatically firms or softens the suspension to minimize unwanted body motions and harsh impacts.
Pricing for the 2021 Rolls Royce Ghost will still reflect the specific clientele that the company is targeting with this car with a base model starting at $332,500. That’s a full $100,000 more than the Bentley Flying Spur and is only $250 dollars less than the Cullinan SUV which offers greater amounts of space and cargo room. However, while that model is attempting to bring Rolls Royce’s standard of luxury into a new segment for the company, the 2021 Ghost will still cater to those that prefer to be shuttled around in a formal sedan, and when combined with some of the technology that’s on hand, it should still translate into a very unique and opulent new vehicle purchase.
Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.
Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.