The new Rolls-Royce Ghost won’t have quite the same impact as the bigger Phantom did when it first appeared in 2003. That car was a staggering statement of intent from BMW, which had just taken over the fabled British marque and built it a new home – factory is too base a word – in the grounds of The Earl of March’s Goodwood House in Sussex. The Phantom is an extraordinary piece of automotive architecture; its prow is as proud, bluff and upright as the white cliffs of Dover, and the engineering beneath is just as impressive. It is eye-wateringly expensive, but worth every cent; it redefined the luxury car, and made it abundantly clear that the new generation of Rolls-Royces would be far more than simply rebadged, reskinned BMWs. As anyone who has seen one of the Peninsula Hotel’s fleet of Phantoms can attest, witnessing one on the street is an event.
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