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Amazing features in a $700,000-plus car

Rolls-Royce doesn’t cut corners. The new Ghost sedan has suspension layered on its suspension, special mounts to add more cushioning to its seats and an on-board fridge with dedicated settings for vintage and non-vintage champagne.Pre-production models were so eerily quiet engineers plumbed noise back into the cabin to ward off travel sickness.An eight-speed gearbox uses…

Rolls-Royce doesn’t cut corners.

The new Ghost sedan has suspension layered on its suspension, special mounts to add more cushioning to its seats and an on-board fridge with dedicated settings for vintage and non-vintage champagne.

Pre-production models were so eerily quiet engineers plumbed noise back into the cabin to ward off travel sickness.

An eight-speed gearbox uses satellite data to preselect the right ratio, the shock absorbers are linked to sensors scanning the road for bumps, and the doors now open and close at the touch of a button.

“Post opulence” thinking steered development of the new Ghost, a car replacing the most successful model in the brand’s long and storied history. That ethos, defined as “rejecting superficial expressions of wealth”, focuses on quality materials and everyday convenience as opposed to in-your-face branding or design.

Yet the Ghost is opulent from every perspective.

Whether it’s the exterior with its enormous illuminated grille, polished 21-inch wheels, perfectly buff paint and hand-finished pinstripes, or the cabin crafted with impossibly soft feather-filled headrests, perfectly matched wood veneers and some 338 pieces of leather, opulence is a word that readily comes to mind.

Even if Rolls-Royce doesn’t say so, this is an ostentatiously lavish motor car. You can even have the “spirit of ecstasy” emblem on the bonnet finished in 24-carat gold.

From floor carpet thick enough to hide small animals to a ceiling star-studded with fibre-optic illumination in a constellation of your choice, the Ghost is luxury motoring at its richest. The dazzling roof even has occasional shooting stars to surprise and delight passengers.

The catch is that proper luxury is properly expensive. Priced from $628,000 plus on-road costs, the Roller is an eye-watering proposition before you factor in the $100,000-plus in optional extras chosen by most customers (and at least double that for the press demonstrator shown here). One with the lot wouldn’t bring much change from $1 million. But it’s much cheaper — and easier to manoeuvre — than the range-topping Rolls-Royce Phantom.

BMW’s ownership of the British brand has its ups and downs. State-of-the-art driver aids are pinched from the 7 Series, but infotainment menus are similar to that of a 1-Series hatch or Mini Cooper.

Shift the column-mounted metal lever into Drive and the Ghost eases away in second gear with barely a murmur from its twin-turbocharged V12 engine. Considerable time went into silencing this 6.75-litre motor, which is only really heard if you punch the throttle to get close to its 420kW and 850Nm maximums.

Unsurprisingly, that wallop has no trouble whisking the 2.5-tonne machine along the road.

Four-wheel-drive traction now ensures wheel spin does not happen, and four-wheel-steering makes it easier, if a little less intuitive, to drive in town.

Lightweight, leisurely-geared steering combines with minimal road feedback in what often feels like a valium-fuelled cocktail of breezy isolation.

That might be because world-first upper wishbone dampers serve as additional shock absorbers on the pillowy-soft suspension, and the seats sit on special mounts designed to fine-tune tremors. Few details from the outside world filter into the cabin, which is a boon for passengers at the price of driver engagement.

Rolls-Royce says its goal is to recreate the sensation of flight on land, but the result is a more like riding inflatable furniture in a pool. Either way, it’s easy to relax when the real world feels so far away.

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