Rolls-Royce Ghost

The Ghost is the closest Rolls Royce comes to producing an "entry-level" car. At $245,000, it's a relative bargain compared to the Phantom, Rolls Royce's flagship.

The Ghost comes with a 6.6-liter direct-injected V12 under its long hood that makes 570 hp and 575 lb-ft of torque, making it the most powerful car Rolls has ever built. It has a governed top speed of 155 mph and a 0-60 mph time of 4.7 seconds, thanks to the 8-speed ZA automatic transmission. For all this, fuel economy is a surprisingly decent 20.8 mpg.

The vehicle's suspension is a 4-corner intelligent air system that helps provide the smoothest, cushiest ride possible. This is not a car for stiff, performance-oriented handling, even though the dampers calculate load every 2.5 milliseconds for precise driving and a comfortable ride. The system can also raise and lower the car by about an inch.

The Ghost uses side impact beams and crumple zones for safety, along with the high-tech Advanced Crash and Safety Management system, which takes measurements from sensors located throughout the vehicle. This system engages the necessary safety measures, from airbags to anti-lock brakes, in the event of an accident.

High-tech bits include the night vision camera in the grille, which detects body heat nearly 1000 feet away. The system calculates the car's speed and trajectory and if there might be a problem looming ahead, then alerts the driver if he needs to change course or slow down. The heads-up display places speed and navigation directions on the windshield where only the driver can see it. The Ghost also features a lane departure warning system, active cruise control, active brake intervention for downhills, high beam assistance and a curve speed limiter if the driver has taken a curve too quickly.

The Ghost undergoes a 7-day paint-and-polish process, and the leather used for the upholstery comes from cows raised in a pasture without barbed wire for flawless hides. The rear-hinged doors include fitted umbrellas, and 4-zone climate control is standard.

Options include a panorama sunroof, a cool box with illuminated champagne glasses, veneer picnic tables for the rear seats and 9-inch LCD screens for the rear occupants as part of the Theater Configuration. Adding a family crest or similar personalization is always an option.

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