Stretched RR Ghost pampers tall individuals, yet remains driveable
Blithe spirit Despite its length, the Rolls-Royce Ghost EWB is relatively easy to manoeuvre in the city -- PHOTO: ROLLS-ROYCE MOTOR CARS

For the first time in my entire career, I fell asleep on the job. And I did not feel bad about it at all. Heck, I would not even have minded if someone had taken a picture of me, slack jaw and all, and posted it on Facebook.

Anyone in my place would have done exactly the same. I mean, who can resist drifting to lullaby land while in the backseat of the new Rolls-Royce Ghost Extended Wheelbase?

The lulling effects of its cotton-candy ride will put lead on your eyelids, even if you have downed a triple espresso. Resistance is futile as scalloped leather-bound rear seats cradle your supine body in a cocooned, climate-controlled cabin. The subtle scent of lacquered wood and tanned hide, distinctive of all Rolls-Royce interiors, adds to the peaceful easy feeling that comes over your entire being the moment you strap in.

The best part of the Ghost Extended Wheelbase is, of course, its incredible legroom. There is just so much space between you and the back of the front seat. Any wider and you might need opera glasses to watch the movie on the seat-mounted monitors.

You can adjust your seat - via controls along the broad centre armrest - whichever way to suit your preferred lounging position. For me, I like to lower it and extend the seat cushion as far forward as possible. Like that, I go off like a light.

The Ghost Extended Wheelbase has a middle section that is 17cm longer than the standard Ghost, already quite a roomy carriage. Most of the extra length goes to the rear passenger compartment, doubling knee room and allowing you to stretch your legs more than you can on some Business Class flights.

Besides being able to stretch out in style, rear passengers will enjoy more airiness with a panoramic sunroof. The glass section is well-conceived because it is not directly above the rear occupants. So the chauffeured gets the light without getting the glare.

Double-glazed windows keep external noises to a minimum. You do hear and feel a teeny-weeny bit of the road when the car goes over uneven patches. And you can detect the V12 purring up front when it is extended. On this front, the car pales in comparison to the Phantom, the grand-daddy of Rollers. But compared with almost any other car, the stretched Ghost is quite untouchable. Snooze time came to an end when Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Singapore sales manager Andrew Ang, who was playing the part of Jeeves for the first half of the test-drive, said it was time for me to take the wheel. To see if the longer car is unwieldy at the wheel.

Surprisingly, it is not. The car remains as easy and as responsive as the standard Ghost. And far less detached than the Phantom. A car measuring about 5.6m tip to tip, with a turning circle of 14m (a mid-sized family car's is about 11m), and weighing just over 2.4 tonnes should not handle the way it does. You can easily negotiate a U-turn within two lanes. Looking at the car from the outside, you would think it needed a runway to turn around.

Despite its expanded proportions, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars says the limo extraordinaire is merely 35kg heavier than the normal Ghost. Which makes me wonder if the BMW-owned company has discovered ectoplasmic material in the manufacturing process.

At the wheel, though, you do feel the car is as responsive to throttle inputs as its shorter sibling. The specs sheet says it clocks a five-second century sprint, just a mite slower than the latter's 4.9. Now, the timing of five seconds seems unbelievable for a barge such as this. But remember, the car has a 6.6-litre V12 twin-turbo beneath its expansive bonnet. Best part is, it runs on 95-octane fuel. I know the bejewelled folks will absolutely love this trait.



Price: Approximately $1.2 million with COE

Engine: 6,592cc 48-valve V12 twin-turbo

Transmission: Eight-speed automatic

Power: 563bhp at 5,250rpm

Torque: 780Nm at 1,500rpm

0-100kmh: 5 seconds

Top speed: 250kmh (electronically limited)

Fuel consumption: 15 litres/100km (est)

Agent: Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Singapore