2023 Rolls-Royce Ghost Review: Quick Take

Kyle Patrick
by Kyle Patrick

Tuscan Sun. There are many, many impressive aspects of this 2023 Rolls-Royce Ghost, but its exterior paint is the most evocative.

I was lucky enough to attend a wedding in Tuscany last summer; the hues as the sun laid down behind the rolling hills were very much in sync with this sparkly spectacle before me.

As the (relatively) smaller sedan offering from the brand, the Ghost caters to a very specific sort of client, the type that enjoys the driver’s seat as much as the back row. The resplendent paint serves as another reminder: a Rolls-Royce is and always will be a deeply personal, emotional purchase.

Silky smooth progress

Under that acres-long prow sits the quintessential Rolls-Royce motor: a 6.75-liter V12. Breathing with the help of a pair of turbochargers, one of the last remaining twelve-cylinder production motors produces an ample 563 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque. Rolls says there’s an eight-speed automatic under there too, but unless the radio is off or the driver is keeping an eye glued to the power reserve dial, it’s Schroedinger’s gearbox: it could have any number of ratios, such is the smoothness with which the Ghost lays down its power. Credit to the GPS-augmented ‘box, which works in its imperceptible shifts based on map data. All-wheel drive is now standard as well, for even more all-weather sure-footedness.

Sure, one can bury the throttle in the thick shag of the carpet, luxuriate in the effortless way the whole car pulls occupants along with it towards the horizon, all to the muted creaminess of the engine up ahead. The Ghost will hustle, not only in a straight line but through corners too.

In the quest for ever more pampered progress, Rolls-Royce has developed the Planar Suspension system. Fiendishly complex, the system has two stand-out features: the Flagbearer portion, which uses cameras to scan the road ahead to pre-emptively adjust the suspension; and a secondary damper located on the upper wishbone.

The result is all the grace and composure you expect of the British marque, all but eliminating cabin intrusions no matter how poor the road surface. Yet the Ghost is also agile, the rear-wheel steering tightening its turn radius and helping it feel much smaller than its 18 feet (5.5 meters) suggest. The steering wheel is deliciously clean in its feedback: there’s a clear sense of what the front wheels are doing way… up… there… yet there’s none of the secondary noise you’d have to filter through in lesser cars. It’s uncanny: I expected to be slightly overwhelmed driving the most expensive vehicle I’ve ever piloted through the narrow streets of Greenville’s core. By the second block the Ghost’s size never again crossed my mind.

Timeless cabin

The Logan family library feel of modern Rolls interiors is alive and well in the Ghost. Practically everything one can touch in here is either former cow or tree, along with sprinkles of real metal. Not just metal surfaces, either: flick the air-con vents for the tell-tale twang of through-and-through metal, like ensuring a champagne glass is, well, actual glass. (Surely those are on the menu when speccing a Ghost too, just not present on this one.)

There’s such an overarching feel of cohesiveness to the Ghost cabin. The way the dashboard gracefully curves up to cover the digital instrument cluster—the latter so sharp and crisp it could fool folks into thinking it’s still analog. I appreciate the controls orbiting the steering wheel hub, keeping the design looking uncluttered. Yes, I have limited time with the Ghost, but I spend a few minutes just enjoying all the tactile precision in every button, toggle, and dial.

Second-row accommodations still matter in the Ghost. Space is best described as “palatial,” and those soft-close, power-operated coach doors make for an exceptionally large port of entry. The seating surfaces are of course ridiculously soft, with a full complement of heat, ventilation, and massage functions. I spend a minute just stretching out, admiring the Starlight Headliner. Have a particular favorite part of the night sky? Rolls will craft a custom layout to match it.

If you have to ask…

Talking money is so gauche. Why don’t we just call the cost of admission “ample,” in the same way Rolls does with engine power?

Fine, it’s $353,850 to start in America after destination and the gas guzzler tax. (Canadian pricing starts around $410,000 CAD.) Another fifty grand or so covers the upgrades and personalization options of this tester.

It’s almost academic to talk pricing. People buying a Rolls-Royce, on average, own around a dozen or so other cars. They will spend what they want to get what they want, be it through the standard options list or the truly individualistic Bespoke Collective.

Final Thoughts: 2023 Rolls-Royce Ghost Quick Take Review

I won’t lie: in a post-EV world where the Spectre exists, I had my doubts as I slid behind the wheel of the Ghost. Would it feel old-fashioned? Worse, out of date?

Nope. It’s true that all-electric cars have made whisper-quiet cabins a more common experience. That doesn’t make the Ghost less special: if anything, it democratizes an aspect of the ultra-luxury life, cementing that calm as a Very Good Thing. With its exquisite four-seat cabin, creamy and traditional V12, and an unfairly well-rounded dynamic balance, the 2023 Rolls-Royce Ghost is an exceptional—and elevated—motoring experience. I can only hope each lucky owner truly makes it their own.

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Kyle Patrick
Kyle Patrick

Kyle began his automotive obsession before he even started school, courtesy of a remote control Porsche and various LEGO sets. He later studied advertising and graphic design at Humber College, which led him to writing about cars (both real and digital). He is now a proud member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), where he was the Journalist of the Year runner-up for 2021.

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