the ghost and the darkness
Last Updated : GMT 12:45:25
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Emiratesvoice, emirates voice
Last Updated : GMT 12:45:25
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The Ghost and the Darkness

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Emiratesvoice, emirates voice The Ghost and the Darkness

Rolls-Royce
Abu Dhabi - Emirates Voice

In the automotive industry, there is, arguably, only one true blue-blooded brand - and that's the Rolls-Royce. The world knows of its long-established heritage, unparalleled luxury and, of course, its lofty pricing. To ensure its brand value does not plateau amongst the upper echelons, Rolls-Royce revitalises its range every now and then; this time, it's with a new variant called Black Badge, applied to both the Wraith coupe and the Ghost sedan. Today, we bring light to the night-themed Ghost.
So what is 'Black Badge'? It's an attitude to life, that appeals to the elusive and defiant, the risk takers, the restless spirits. those who are willing to break the rules and laugh in the face of convention. It is essentially the darker, more assertive and more powerful alter ego of Rolls-Royce.

DESIGN & AESTHETICS
Ever see a Rolls-Royce, be it the all-conquering 'King of luxury' Phantom or the formidable Ghost, roll down the streets? The public takes notice! Eyes light up and follow the form of the car till it vanishes down the stretch. What is more impressive is that the Ghost continues to evoke the same reaction almost a decade after it was first launched. For good reason! It complies with Rolls-Royce's famed and monumental signature styling, characterised mainly by its bold face and imposing upright Parthenon grille. While rivals build  aerodynamic silhouettes to help cut and slither through layers of air, Rolls-Royce vehicles - with the Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament leading the way - bashes through wind like it's an irrelevant force of nature. And the rest of the body - a tapering fuselage - follows graciously like a train to a gown. Then, there is that frontal illumination, headlamps as square they may seem, adjacent to the grille that makes the car recognisable from any distance. Equally emphatic are those large set of wheels that keep the metallic sculpture hovering over the ground.
But these are signature RR traits. The question is: is the Black Badge different? For starters, the flying lady has been rendered a high-gloss black vamp and the Double R badges on the prow, flanks and aft of the Ghost now have a silver-on-black finish. Chrome surfaces such as the front grille surround, boot lid finisher, lower air inlet finisher and exhaust pipes, have turned dark. Those large wheels are made of carbon-fibre compound. The multiple layers of exterior paint and lacquer are repeatedly hand polished resulting in the deepest, darkest and most intense black; but RR tells us, customers can desire and obtain any colour they wish.
So, from an aesthetic point of view, the Ghost remains the gold standard for luxury sedans, but in a shade of black!
Take a peek inside. Rolls-Royce have taken great bits of classic vehicle styling from the early 20th century styling to give the cabin a timeless ambience. The height of the vehicle and degree at which the doors open - rear-hinged doors for the rear - makes exit graceful. unlike in an SUV, where there is a summit to conquer, or in a sports car, which requires you to be the penitent man and kneel. And although it's not a common habit to walk without shoes, I urge you to let your feet feel the soft-as-sponge carpets. The seats, broad and lavish, are insipidly styled. but for good reason: supreme comfort.
Once you are in, you can wrap your palms around what could be the thinnest steering wheel in the world. You'd think that a chunky wheel is the way to go, but here it works perfectly well because of its nature. It's not meant to be gripped; it's meant to be steered like a yacht, gently. Cabin fixtures are classically-inspired: elegant set of white dial instrument gauges instead of puzzling digitalised TVs and organ pulls for air vents control. You also have a concealed infotainment screen that keeps a little magic in the cabin. Every material, like stainless steel and glass, is genuine and finished without a flaw.
Space is lavish, both upfront and at the rear, and you wouldn't mind taking a nap in the cabin, especially when you are isolated from the world thanks to the double-pane glass that keeps the working man's chatter at bay. You also have a rear TV to keep yourself entertained once you are done signing those cheques on the foldable table.
With Black Badge, the Ghost brings large expanses of stealth fighter-inspired aerospace-grade, aluminium-threaded carbon fibre composite surfacing instead of the traditional polished wood and mahogany. Through a process called Physical Vapour Deposition, the air vents on the dash and in the rear have been expectedly darkened. Additionally, the clock hands are tipped in orange and its face adorns the 'Unlimited' infinity logo, also embroidered on the upholstery.
 
POWERTRAIN & PERFORMANCE
From the beginning, the Ghost has had a twin-turbo 6.6-litre V12 engine; Black Badge keeps the format but tweaks output for larger output. Power has been raised by 40hp to 603hp and torque by 60Nm - which brings it to a massive 840Nm. This makes it more powerful than the emphatic Phantom and it certainly makes more sense, bang per buck. And from experience - the 0 to 100 km/h dash under 5 seconds - it will cover ground so rapidly you'd wish you had longer stretches of tarmac. But thanks to its size, you'd like keep it calm and composed at 80 km/h. The application of the accelerator is effortless: you don't stomp the accelerator pedal; you simply lean into it for an instant but smooth rush of torque. Same goes for the brake pedal.
Besides recalibrating the 8-speed transmission and adding a new drive shaft for better forward thrust, Rolls-Royce has also thought of passenger safety; with the increased power and speed, they have upgraded the brakes, increasing the diameter of the front brake discs by one inch for more efficient retardation of speed.

FEATURES & FUNCTIONALITY
The service provided by the Ghost is beyond measure. It comes with heated and cooled seats that go with the 4-zone climate control that warm your back and butt. Series 2 Ghost comes with brilliant infotainment: operating screen menus are crisp and ergonomic; all buttons have legible letters; navigation maps have both 2D and 3D views and search for destinations are nearly as easy as Google Maps. Then, there is the portable symphony which we call an audio system in the Ghost. It's the best sounding unit we have seen in ages. And, there is plenty of space for your hand baggage in the trunk. so the Ghost is practical too!

VERDICT    
This Rolls-Royce is the flawless classically-styled carriage that serves all forms of comforts and luxuries in the most superlative manner. Although the difference in the Black Badge variant may not show a night and day separation, it is very much a Rolls-Royce. and more.

Pros: Visual grandeur second only to Phantom; comfortable drive dynamics; materials and customisations
Cons: Not as emphatic as the Phantom; not too different from the regular Ghost
Author's rating: 8.5/10

SPECIFICATIONS  
Body type: 5-seater; 4-door, ultra-exclusive high-performance sedan
Engine: Front-engine; twin-turbo 6.6-litre V12; rear-wheel drive
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Peak output: 603bhp @ 5,250rpm; 840Nm @ 1,500rpm
0 to 100km/h: sub-5.0 seconds (estimated)
Top speed: 250 km/h (claimed, electronically limited)
Price: In excess of Dh1.5 million

------------------------

Car Qs
Q: I am a KT subscriber for 12 years, and a regular follower of your column in WKND. Currently, I am using a Prado 2008, 2.7L; I'm planning to buy a new vehicle - either a small SUV (5-seater) or a crossover (4-wheel) - within Dh150,000. I drive about 200km daily, and, at times, have to cross small patches of desert too. Please recommend a fuel efficient, low maintenance car with a good resale value. I have in mind the Rav4 VXR or Audi Q3 - but I would like your opinion too.
- William
A: Thank you for subscribing to our newspaper and your continued support and appreciation. For the described use and budget, I suggest you get the Toyota Fortuner. It comes from a reliable brand, looks good, can seat up to 7 and is even a capable off-roader when equipped with the 4.0L V6 engine. Currently, the top spec model, under a promotion, is priced at a very reasonable Dh135,000 (approx). You can also look at the new, spiffy-looking city clicker, the Honda CR-V; prices range from Dh89,000 to Dh120,000.

Source: Khaleej Times

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