Rolls-Royce Motor Cars announced in 2006 that work had begun on a new model series. The new car would be in production and on sale by the turn of the decade. The only other facts confirmed at that stage were that it would be smaller than the Phantom saloon and priced somewhere between €200,000 and €300,000 before tax. Speculation about its style and specification began almost immediately.
Little was seen of the new car, codenamed RR4, until the spring of 2008, when Rolls-Royce released the first official sketches. The styling was instantly recognisable as a Rolls-Royce, although less traditional than previous models. At the time Chief Designer, Ian Cameron, said,“The RR4 has a more informal presence than the Phantom models with a greater emphasis on driving. In design terms this is expressed through its slightly smaller dimensions, yet with powerful, purposeful proportions. It is a true and uncompromising Rolls-Royce in every sense.”
As sightings of secret development models on the road increased, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars unveiled 200EX, the experimental forerunner to Ghost, at the Geneva motor show in March 2009. An instant hit, 200EX bore the trademark Rolls-Royce design cues but in altogether more compelling fashion. It was a clear statement of intent.
What the design team was seeking to create was a modern Rolls-Royce that achieved a new dynamism but remained true to its luxurious heritage. They had found inspiration in contemporary furniture, architecture and yachts but also in the spirit of the 1930s – that sense of adventure and endeavour – which they wanted to capture in the character of this new car.
“200EX is a modern execution of timeless Rolls-Royce elegance, breaking with some areas of tradition but retaining the core values that make our marque unique,” said Chief Executive Officer Tom Purves. “We expect the more informal design to broaden the appeal of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, attracting people who appreciate its fusion of refinement, new technology and contemporary style.”
After the show, 200EX embarked on a world tour, during which further information about the forthcoming production model became available. It would be powered by a new 6.6 litre V12 unique to the marque, delivering 563 bhp with extraordinary performance figures. It would ride on an intelligent air suspension system offering peerless ride and dynamics. And it would be called Ghost.
“Ghost is one of the most revered names in automotive industry,” said Tom Purves. “It evokes images of adventure and technical innovation. The first cars to bear the Ghost name were known not only for impressive dependability and refinement but also great flair and style.”
Following the overwhelmingly positive reaction to 200EX during its travels, very few changes were made in the transition to the production Ghost – a tribute to the remarkable achievements of Ian Cameron’s and Helmut Riedl’s design and engineering teams.Published 6 September 2009