Rolls Royce Ghost Series II
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For those who desire sybaritic luxury and a spirited driving experience in the same ultra-pricey motorcar, the Ghost Series II is your answer. Under the hood topped by the Spirit of Ecstasy is a twin-turbo 6.6-liter V-12 good for 563 hp paired to a satellite-aided gearbox, which uses GPS data to read the roadscape ahead of you, anticipate your driving needs, and shift the transmission accordingly. The interior boasts sumptuous leather seating and handsomely crafted wood veneers.
The Ghost, while still outrageously expensive at $291,350, is for the merely rich. To better delineate the difference, let’s paraphrase comedian Chris Rock: LeBron James is rich; Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, who signs James’ paychecks, is wealthy.
Recognizing that money can be a sensitive subject in the wake of increasing income disparity in the United States, Rolls-Royce executives incessantly throw around the word “entrepreneur” to describe their Ghost clients. Everyone still loves the myth of the bootstraps.
Other myths punctuate the Rolls-Royce narrative: 60 craftsmen in Goodwood spend some 450 hours laboring over each custom, hand-finished automobile. Rolls-Royce says that in excess of 85 percent of the 4000 cars it will sell this year are bespoke, which means that if a buyer has a grove of trees on his estate, for example, he may choose to have some of that wood included in the interior trim. Or, in the case of Hong Kong billionaire Stephen Hung, he can just elect to have his wife’s car painted entirely pink.
With this clash between the traditional staid Rolls-Royce idioms (“Fetch the car, Alfred!”) and the shamelessness of our global culture, the inconsistency of a proud British firm being owned and run by the Germans at BMW seems much less important than it did a decade ago.