I have JUST returned from the very German city, which is Berlin. And I have to say, it is an excellent place overall!
My soon to be leaving History teacher (lovely bloke) put heart over brain into literally everything we did during the 4 day visit.
I mean, I woke up at midnight on Tuesday morning and didn’t go to sleep until we had crammed about 2 days worth of stuff into just under 21 hours. After that, everything chilled out.
Berlin itself has a really great balance of old architecture, and crisp, modern innovation. The local library for example, looked like something from an Indiana Jones film!
And then to balance this out, the sharp, tall buildings in the city centre were about as impressive and as magnificent, as the cutlery they churn out. (Mind you, the old city was pretty much destroyed…)
Speaking of which- food: As well as the various ice creams being some of the most exquisite I’ve ever dug my tongue into, you could literally eat anywhere at any time!
Literally- What if I told you that most of my substantial refreshments could easily be sourced in train stations? The enormous main one is, as near as makes no difference, an effective shopping centre! And was only 2 feet away from my hotel, which was convenient.
Then there’s the business of appreciation, it seems like Berlin really loves British things. You could buy burgers and chips in every restaurant and teacakes and biscuits were a must for train station cafes. Only they were FAR better in every way! But ruined in terms of English-ness.
And this swiftly brings me onto the Rolls Royce Ghost: which isn’t actually a Rolls Royce at all. It’s actually an old BMW 7 Series underneath, something which Berliners use to commute to their nearest Starbucks.
It’s not just that either- the 6.6 litre V12 engine is straight from a Beemer too (be it, expanded and tuned for silence). And the infotainment system is an i-drive system that’s been dressed in silk clothing.
So if the Germans want to take over the core engineering of a Roller, but let the British design and give it a spit and polish, then theoretically, this should be the perfect luxury car!
And at first, things seemed very good.
As soon as I slipped into the back of the Rolls, an ice cool chap told me that I didn’t have to sweat any arm muscles by closing the 50 million tonne door. I pressed a button, and it closed right up. Lovely.
Then I had started to notice that the interior itself is SUCH a nice place to be! The leather, the thickness of the carpets, the feel of the buttons as you caress them with your fingers. It was just beautiful! Top class!
Even the look of it separates the Rolls’ interior from any tech-infested German suit box, it was as exquisite as it was expensive. I’m certain that there was at least £30,000 worth of extras fitted to this particular car.
The thing is though….. I don’t like it….. at all.
First of all- Styling: A Rolls Royce is supposed to be the most majestic and imposing car on the roads, a Roller should have the capability to bluntly state to peasants; “Step aside, will you.”
The Ghost however, is so wrongly subtle, that it has no choice but to say; “erm…. I am a Roller, this is where you have to move, right??”
I mean who’s going to buy an understated Rolls Royce? That’s like making a curry that tastes as mild as soup! You make a curry simply for the explicit heat and spice.
The actual styling of the car may be large, but it’s really only as imposing as a £70,000 Audi A8. Considering this is a quarter-million pound Roller, that’s just pathetic.
Before we move onto the horror of the drive- I have to point out that I arrived at the venue where the Rolls was waiting for me in a 30 year old Mercedes 230E (the W123), which I already thought was comfortable.
However after my ride in the Ghost, I realised that the Merc was very very comfortable!
That’s because the seats in the Rolls were German HARD!! The headrest felt like it was made from concrete, the ride itself was smooth on tarmac, make no mistake. But someone please explain why I could feel every damn bump in this thing, and why I couldn’t relax properly, because there was nowhere to put my feet.
Literally, you can’t stretch them out and you can’t put your head back due to the brick layered headrest. And you SHOULD be able to do that in a Rolls, especially in the back, where owners will read their Tatler newspapers.
You’d expect me to stop ranting here, but honestly… things get worse.
In the olden days, if Rolls Royce had caught anybody quietly breathing the words: ‘power, speed, torque, handling’ or anything un-Rolls Royce-ish, they would’ve been fired. Shamed. Sent to death row!
Rolls would NEVER, under any circumstances release how powerful, fast or torquey their cars were. They’d simply say; “Adequate.” Which was proper and polite, because it’d be absurd to speak of these vulgar terms.
Things have changed now. BMW will quite happily quote that this car has 563bhp and will go from 0-60 in just over 5 seconds. And they’ll also quote that the black badge version has even bigger performance numbers.
I find that sad, Rolls Royce is losing their aristocratic charm in favour of childish performance. I mean who is going to buy a car with the spirit of ecstasy for speed? Seriously!
It shows in practice too, there’s this awful surge in power when the driver put his foot down. There’s no smoothness in that as your head has to bang up against that brick headrest!
Seriously though, the Rolls Royce Ghost is one of the most pointless cars on sale.
It’s too fast and powerful to be a polite lordship, it’s too subtle to be an imposing, it’s not even as comfortable as a 30 year old Merc for damn sake! And it’s really not that ideal for rear seat passengers, which is where every 4-door Rolls should exceed.
Even as a driver’s Rolls, it’s pointless. Driver’s Rolls Royces tend to be suave Coupes or Convertibles, like the Corniche or the 2 door Phantom.
This brings me back to the original topic of this article. What Germany has tried to do with the Ghost, is bring their impressiveness to improve an already great British car maker.
While this may have worked with the Phantom. I’m sorry, but the Ghost is far too inappropriate.
And if I really wanted a fast, powerful luxury driver’s car that’s also as imposing as an English palace, I’d much rather have a car that was made properly for that sort of thing.
In short, I’d have a Bentley Mulsanne.
So then- the pros and cons of the Rolls Royce Ghost:
-You can say you drive a Roller
-Where’s the aristocratic charm?
-The seating position
-Did I mention the seats?
-Can I have the Mercedes back please?
R.I.D score= 3/10