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Car of the Year 2011: No. 11 Rolls-Royce Ghost

Paul Dean and Robert Ross

Lift Your Spirits
The downsized Ghost has huge tire tracks to fill, those of the immortal Silver Ghost that in 1906 gave birth to Grecian radiators, minted a new metaphor for opulence, and began a progression of the most impressive marque in motoring. Yet this starter Rolls—lighter, shorter, lower, narrower, and about $130,000 less expensive than its big sister, the Phantom—fits the heritage remarkably well. Although some of our judges faulted the Ghost’s fit and finish and apparent corner-cutting—machine stitching (though by craftsmen, Rolls notes) and glaring chromium bits and brightwork—most agreed that this land-liner based partly on the 760Li from parent company BMW provides the legendary "waftability," eerie quiet, and total self-indulgence that were synonymous with your great-great-grandfather’s Rolls. —Paul Dean

 

Shadow of the Phantom
In status, stature, and symbolism, the Phantom—Rolls-Royce’s largest car—has no peers. Which is why the Ghost is rather a letdown. To be sure, there is nothing wrong with a smaller Rolls; the 20/25 made perfect sense in the marketplace eight decades ago. But the Phantom has set a standard that the Ghost fails to attain. The Ghost offers much to like; it can hold its own with any luxury sedan, given its silky-smooth engine, wonderful ride, and commodious interior. However, when you compare its materials and fit and finish with those of the Phantom, it almost seems as if the Ghost is a badge-engineered BMW. —Robert Ross

SPECIFICATIONS
Configuration
Front-engine, rear-wheel-drive sedan Engine 6.6-liter turbocharged V-12 Transmission 8-speed automatic Power 563 hp at 5,250 rpm Torque 575 ft lbs at 1,500 rpm Curb weight 5,445 pounds Zero to 60 4.8 seconds Top speed 155 mph (electron-ically limited) Base price $246,500 Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, www.rolls-roycemotorcars.com

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