The second-generation Ghost is a slightly smaller Phantom with the same opulent features

The 2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost is the second-generation of the company’s luxury full-size sedan. Developed to replace an 11-year-old model, the 2021 Ghost features an in-house aluminum spaceframe and a new, slightly larger V-12 engine. The luxury sedan remains familiar on the outside, as the design is an evolution of the old model, but it boasts an all-new interior with state-of-the-art technology. Let’s find out more about it in the review below.

video932896|center>

Exterior

  • Similar to old model
  • Borrows cues from the Phantom
  • Still boxy overall
  • Revised front grille
  • New front bumper
  • Bigger headlamps
  • Simple but elegant profile
  • Minor changes in the rear

Rolls-Royce says that the exterior was redesigned from the ground up, but the changes are actually very subtle. From a distance the new Ghost looks very similar to the old model and you have to look up closely to notice the details that make it stand out. Up front, we can see the same layout with a big grille flanked by horizontal headlamps. The grille is slightly wider and taller now and hides 20 LEDs underneath the upper frame. These lights illuminate the vertical slats when the headlamps are open. Speaking of headlamps, they’re a bit larger and completely rectangular now. They’re also slightly tilted downward toward the grille, but the overall design is a carry over from the previous Ghost.

The bumper also retains the old three-piece grille, but now they have identical heights so it looks like one single unit from certain angles. Onto the sides, the opening extends upwards to include the thin vents with chrome trim that replace the old daytime running lights. Rolls-Royce also made some changes to the Spirit of Ecstasy statue, which now stands within a "lake" on the hood rather than surrounded by panel lines. The headlamps feature LED and laser technology and have more than 1,900 feet of range.

left right

The profile looks even more like the old Ghost. It features the same clean and featurless body panels, rectangular doors, and a symmetrical glasshouse. The rear quarter windows are a bit longer on the new model, but that’s the only notable change visible to the eye. Look close enough and you’ll notice there are no shut lines behind those of the doors, as the body is now made from one clean piece of aluminum. The doors are also made from laser-welded aluminum.

2021 Rolls Royce Ghost Exterior
- image 931812

In the rear, the new Ghost features the already traditional raised trunk lid section that creates somewhat muscular rear haunches. The almost triangular taillights are still there, but now they boast more angular edges and are seamlessly integrated into the fenders. The chrome trim above the license plate recess is thinner now. The bumper looks about the same and continues to integrate rectangular exhaust pipes. The only notable difference here is that fascia is tilted forward for a slightly more elegant look.

2021 Rolls Royce Ghost Exterior
- image 931819

When it comes to size, the new Ghost is a tad bigger than its predecessor at 218.3 inches long and 77.8 inches wide. Compared to the outgoing Ghost, the new sedan is 3.5 inches longer and 1.2 inches wider.

2021 Rolls Royce Ghost 2020 Rolls Royce Ghost
Length (inches) 218.3 214.5
Width (inches) 77.8 76.6
Height (inches) 62 62
Wheelbase (inches) 130 130

Interior

  • Similar to the Phantom
  • Boxy dashboard
  • Big infotainment display
  • Digital instrument cluster
  • Analogue clock on the center stack
  • Fine leather
  • Authentic wood veneer
  • Plenty of rear-seat legroom
  • Rear-seat entertainment
  • Luxury options
2021 Rolls Royce Ghost Interior
- image 931823

Getting in and out of the Ghost is easier than ever thanks to an upgraded self-opening and self-closing door system. While closing the door was done automatically on the old model too, you can now also open the doors from inside with power assistance. To do that you need to pull the interior handle and hold it for full power assistance. Once you stop pulling the handle, the door brake engages so you can step out. You can then close the door with a push of a button on the exterior door handle.

2021 Rolls Royce Ghost Interior
- image 931827

Step inside the new Ghost and you’ll find a completely new layout. The dashboard design is obviously based on the Phantom’s, but it looks different enough thanks to a few unique features. For starters, while the Phantom’s dash is flat from one corner to the other, the Ghost features a slightly raised hood atop the instrument cluster. Just like in the Phantom, the latter is fully digital and shows three dials. The rest of the dashboard is a plain black surface interrupted only by the familiar clock toward the passenger side. However, once you start the car the center section lights up to reveal the infotainment display. The same happens with the passenger-side dash area, now housing a screen that displays the car’s name and more than 850 stars, mirroring the Starlight headliner.

2021 Rolls Royce Ghost Interior
- image 931806

The lower dash is a big slab of wood and it’s available in a big selection of fine open-pore veneers. Rolls-Royce crafted two unique wood trims for the Ghost, starting with Obsidian Ayous, inspired by the "rich versatility of colors found in lava rock." The other one is Dark Amber, which comes with "fine aluminum particles" into the dark wood.

Almost every other surface is wrapped in fine leather, also available in a variety of colors and even two-tone finishes. There’s complex stitching on the seats and the door panels. If you’re a fan of ambient lighting, the new Ghost comes with no fewer than 152 LEDs and more than 90,000 laser-etched dots to provide a cool ambiance at night.

2021 Rolls Royce Ghost Interior
- image 931830

Comfort is further improved by a new environment purification system with impurity detection sensors and a recirculation mode. A new nanofleece filter can remove nearly all ultra-fine particles in less than two minutes. The Ghost’s new interior is also quieter than before thanks to more than 220 pounds of acoustic damping materials used in the doors, roof, between the double glazed windows, inside the tires, and within the architecture itself. Rolls-Royce also polished the A/C ducting and re-engineered many drivetrain components in order to reduce noise, claiming that the new Ghost offers a near-silent experience.

But if you’re not a fan of riding in silence, the Ghost is equipped with a premium audio system with 18 channels and 1300 watts. It features exciter speakers alongside standard cone-type speaker. These excited speakers transform the Starlight headliner into a large speaker.

2021 Rolls Royce Ghost Interior
- image 931825

The Ghost is also fitted with loads of driving assist technology, including:

  • vision assist
  • day- and night-time wildlife and pedestrian warning
  • alertness assistant
  • a four-camera system with panoramic view
  • all-round visibility and helicopter view
  • active cruise control
  • collision warning
  • cross-traffic warning
  • lane departure and lane change warning
  • industry-leading 7x3 high-resolution head-up display
  • self-park

Rolls-Royce didn’t share information on passenger space and luggage room, but the new Ghost should be just as roomy as the outgoing model. Rear-seat passenger comfort is obviously the Ghost’s main feat, but front-seat passenger room and trunk space are in line with what other luxury full-size sedans offer.

Drivetrain

  • 6.75-liter V-12 engine
  • 563 horsepower
  • 627 pound-feet of torque
  • Eight-speed automatic
  • AWD system
  • Four-wheel steering
  • 0 to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds
  • Top speed at 155 mph
2021 Rolls Royce Ghost Exterior
- image 931897

The second-generation Rolls-Royce Ghost features a 6.75-liter V-12 under the hood. While this engine isn’t new to the brand, having been introduced in 2017 on the Rolls-Royce Phantom, it’s new to the Ghost. The first-gen sedan also featured a V-12, but it was the slightly smaller 6.6-liter mill, also shared with the Wraith and the Dawn. The new 6.75-liter V-12 cranks out 563 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque.

Is the 2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost more powerful than the old model?

2021 Rolls Royce Ghost Interior
- image 931808

The new Ghost is only marginally more powerful than its predecessor. The first-gen Ghost came with 562 horsepower on tap, so the new sedan gains just one horsepower. On the other hand, the old Ghost had 575 pound-feet of torque, so the new Ghost benefits from an additional 52 pound-feet. Rolls-Royce also offered a Black Badge version of the old Ghost with 604 horses, so if we compare the new Ghost with that model, it falls behind by 31 horsepower. The Black Badge also delivered 620 pound-feet, only seven behind the new Ghost.

How does the 2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost compare to other Rolls-Royce models?

2021 Rolls Royce Ghost Exterior
- image 931817

The new Ghost shares its 6.75-liter V-12 engine with both the Phantom and the Cullinan. The sedan’s horsepower is actually identical to the Cullinan SUV, but the Cullinan benefits from an extra 37 pound-feet at 664 pound-feet of twist.

Just like the old model, the new Ghost comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission from ZF. But the second-gen sedan features an all-wheel-drive system for the very first time. It also features rear-wheel steering, so it’s more stable and more dynamic than its predecessor. The AWD system also improves traction. Rolls-Royce also moved the engine behind the front axle to achieve perfect 50/50 weight distribution.

How quick is the 2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost?

2021 Rolls Royce Ghost Exterior
- image 931814

The British company has yet to release performance numbers, but it’s safe to say that the extra torque and the all-wheel-drive system will share a tenth-second off the 0-60 mph sprint compared to the old model. The old Ghost needed 4.7 seconds to hit the benchmark, so the second-gen sedan should do it in 4.6 clicks. Top speed is likely limited to 155 mph as before.

Chassis and Suspension

2021 Rolls Royce Ghost Exterior
- image 931819

While the V-12 engine is still sourced from BMW, the Ghost rides on an in-house aluminum spaceframe now and no longer uses a 7 Series-derived architecture. This spaceframe isn’t new, as it debuted in the Phantom and then found its way into the Cullinan, but it makes the Ghost a more rigid and dynamic sedan compared to the outgoing model.

This new architecture also comes with a new suspension setup, which refined and improves Rolls-Royce’s already iconic Magic Carpet Ride. This new suspension layout is called the Planar Suspension System and it includes a world-first technology in the form of an upper wishbone damper mounted above the front suspension. It works alongside the familiar Flagbearer system, which uses cameras to "read" the road ahead, to increase stability at any speed.

2021 Rolls Royce Ghost Exterior
- image 931821

In the rera, the five-link axle benefits from the same self-leveling high-volume air suspension technology, also managed via the bespoke Planar software. This feature also governs the new Ghost’s all-wheel-drive system, all-wheel steering, stability control, and self-drying braking system.

How much does the 2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost cost?

2021 Rolls Royce Ghost Exterior
- image 931811

The new sedan is some $20,000 more expensive than its predecessor, coming in at $332,500 before options. Its by far the most expensive four-door sedan, surpassing competitors from both Bentley and Mercedes-Benz.

Is the 2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost better than the Bentley Flying Spur?

2020 Bentley Flying Spur
- image 844447

Unlike the Ghost, the previous generation Flying Spur spent only six years on the market. Bentley unveiled the third-gen model in 2019 and it looks hotter than ever. Thanks to a front fascia taken from the Continental GT and a sleek, coupe-style roof, the new Flying Spur looks sporty but remains elegant. The cabin is draped in fine materials, including leather and Alcantara, while the tech package is one of the best you can buy. It features a 12.3-inch infotainment display and a new Touch Screen remote that allows rear-seat passengers to operate the system. The longer wheelbase also improves legroom for passengers sitting in the rear section. Powered by a 6.0-liter W-12 engine, the Flying Spur comes with 626 horsepower and 664 pound-feet on tap, a bit more than the Rolls-Royce Ghost.

It also features an eight-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel drive, and four-wheel steering, but it’s also notable quicker to 60 mph, needing only 3.7 seconds to get there. Its top speed is also far superior to the Ghost at a whopping 207 mph. Pricing for the Flying Spur starts from $216,400, so it’s also more affordable than the Ghost.

Read our full review of the 2020 Bentley Flying Spur

Conclusion

2021 Rolls Royce Ghost Exterior
- image 931819

The second-gen Ghost might not look very different on the outside, but it’s superior to its predecessor in every department. The solid technology package, the new platform, the new V-12 engine, and the redesigned interior turn the Ghost from a slightly outdated model into a proper competitor for the Bentley Flying Spur. The all-wheel-drive system and the four-wheel steering system also help bring the Ghost into the 21st century. The fact that it’s significantly more expensive than the competition would be a major downside in a different market, but the Ghost is not for everyone. Wealthy customers in need of a luxurious ride wouldn’t pick the Bentley simply because it’s more affordable. This is a status car, so pricing makes no difference here.

  • Leave it
    • Very expensive
    • The Bentley Flying Spur is a cool alternative
Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read More
About the author

Related Articles

The Rolls-Royce Ghost Returns With Evolutionary Styling and A New V-12 Engine

The New Rolls-Royce Ghost Takes Sound-Proofing To the Next Level

2018 Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII

2015 Rolls-Royce Ghost Series II

What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: