Car Seat Check Recap

You might think the rakish looks of the new Mercedes-Benz CLS would mean it would be inhospitable to families with children of child-safety-seat age … but you’d be wrong. MotherProof discovers that the redesigned luxury sport sedan/coupe — whatever you call it — has some of the best Latch access on the market, making installing car seats a breeze. Getting the kids in and out might not be as easy, though.

My 3-year-old son had a tough time climbing into his seat during a recent test because there was so little room between the front and rear seats. Though I was pleasantly surprised he wasn’t kicking my seat that often. Check out the full report on the CLS63 and one well-heeled transport probably not used that often for kids.

2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class: Car Seat Check
2011 Hyundai Genesis Coupe: Car Seat Check
2011 Rolls-Royce Ghost: Car Seat Check

By David Thomas | July 20, 2011 | Comments (0)

What Do These Buttons Do?

Ultra-luxury cars like the 2011 Rolls-Royce Ghost have unique features not found in more pedestrian cars; does your Toyota Camry have an umbrella dispenser inside the door? Unique features are why mysterious buttons flourish inside the Ghost. The most notable is a cluster of four buttons below the headlight controls.

These buttons may not be so mysterious to some BMW owners, because BMW is Rolls’ parent company and the Ghost’s platform is based on the 7 Series. That means there are at least four things familiar to 7 Series owners ready to make a $150,000 jump to the Ghost – most everything else is uniquely Rolls-Royce.

By Joe Bruzek | July 13, 2011 | Comments (3)

Rolls-Royce President Talks Electrics, High-Tech

The Rolls-Royce Phantom sedan has enough room to cross your legs in the backseat without touching the front seats: one foot propped sideways and the other buried an inch deep in carpet. It’s not a shabby place to sit — and probably better than chatting outside, Rolls-Royce’s David Archibald tells me. He and I are at the jam-packed opening of a Rolls-Royce dealership in Chicago’s moneyed Gold Coast neighborhood. Archibald, 53, is a sum manifestation of today’s global auto industry: a Scotsman who’s president of the North American arm of a British carmaker owned by Germans. BMW has controlled Rolls-Royce since 1998, and Archibald has been with the brand since 2002.

Product changes come slow in the ultra-luxury business and the lengthy product cycles risk having cars with outdated technology. Take the Phantom. It dates back to late 2003 and still employs an early generation of BMW’s iDrive interface. The smaller Ghost, introduced for 2010, has BMW’s latest generation of iDrive, which is far more workable.

Then again, with 11 bull hides and 10 square meters of wood inside a Phantom’s cabin, it’s a long shot whether any Rolls-Royce customer gives a whit about outdated electronics. After all, most Patek Philippe timepieces don’t include a stopwatch.

By Kelsey Mays | July 7, 2011 | Comments (0)

Recall Alert: BMW 5, 6, 7 Series, Rolls-Royce Phantom

BMW is recalling 198,000 V-8- and V-12-powered models from the 2002 through 2010 model years for a defective power braking system.

A leak may develop in these cars’ braking systems potentially causing a loss of braking power. The company says there have been no accidents or injuries because of the problem. Models included in the recall are:

  • 2002-08 BMW 745i/Li, 750i/Li and 760i/Li
  • 2007-08 BMW Alpina B7
  • 2004-10 BMW 645i and 650i
  • 2004-10 BMW 545i and 550i
  • 2003-2010 Rolls-Royce Phantom (does not include Rolls-Royce Ghost)

In the coming weeks, owners will receive a notification in the mail to have their cars serviced at the dealer. For more information, owners can call BMW at 800-525-7417.

By David Thomas | September 30, 2010 | Comments (0)

2010 Rolls-Royce Ghost Video

Starting at a mere $245,000, the 2010 Rolls-Royce Ghost is, as senior editor Joe Wiesenfelder puts it, “the Rolls for the rest of us.” That is, until he points out our test car was optioned up to over $300,000. Wiesenfelder shows off the Ghost’s many luxurious amenities, from umbrellas stashed in the doors to massaging seats to dashboard wood that all comes from the same tree so it ages uniformly (wait, really?). Check out this video if you don’t believe us.
By Stephen Markley | June 18, 2010 | Comments (4) Podcast: 2010 Land Rover LR4, 2011 Volvo C30, 2010 Rolls-Royce Ghost

Senior editor Joe Wiesenfelder finally delivers on his promise to explain just how terrific the latest Rolls-Royce model is. The Ghost may be the “baby” Rolls, but it is a top dog in our editors’ minds. Mike Hanley and Bill Jackson add their thoughts on the Ghost and the latest from Land Rover and Volvo.
You can download the podcast via iTunes here or download the MP3 here.
By David Thomas | June 14, 2010 | Comments (1) Reviews the 2010 Rolls-Royce Ghost

Your butler, Aloysius, may be seriously unimpressed when you bring home the 2010 Rolls-Royce Ghost, with its MSRP of just $245,000. senior editor Joe Wiesenfelder is here to reassure him, though. Rolls-Royce’s “downmarket” sedan still has all the refinement, luxury and driving prowess of a Rolls and doesn’t even come close to dipping into the shantytown, Hoover flags territory of a BMW or Mercedes-Benz. Read Wiesenfelder’s full review to learn more about the slightly less outlandish Ghost.

2010 Rolls-Royce Ghost Review

By Stephen Markley | June 14, 2010 | Comments (0)

2010 Rolls-Royce Ghost Video reviewer Kelsey Mays is happy to tell you that the 2010 Rolls-Royce Ghost is the smallest, least expensive Rolls-Royce yet. Check out the video where Mays takes you on a tour of this lush, hyper-expensive car with a monstrous V-12 engine. Just so you won’t be let down, when he says “least expensive Rolls-Royce so far,” he means “better have $250,000 handy.”


By Stephen Markley | December 7, 2009 | Comments (0)

2010 Rolls-Royce Ghost: Up Close

Rolls-Royce says the leather in the Ghost comes from bulls raised in fields free of barbed wire. The sections of wood in each interior come from the same tree to maintain better color consistency as the veneers age. The Ghost is some 213 inches long — a foot longer than most minivans — and this is the company's smallest car. There could easily be more cowhide on the ceiling and window pillars than many cars have on their seats.

I consider myself fairly jaded. But if a mortgage lender ever offered me a 30-year term on a $245,000 Ghost — well, I’d better not have had a few drinks in me at the time. The Ghost is eminently desirable. It’s more seductive than the stately Phantom and less expensive than the rest of Rolls’ clan. (That’s all relative, of course. A glass of Macallan 25, a single malt Scotch whisky, is technically cheaper than a Macallan 30.)

There are a handful of influences from Rolls-Royce's owner, BMW. The knobbed controller, complete with shortcut buttons, operates much like iDrive; the center controls look a bit like those in the 7 Series. On the whole, BMW’s fingerprints are scant. This is something different. The seats are plush; the dashboard looks imposing. The backseat sits in a recessed cocoon.

From the well-portioned hood to the massive suicide doors, the car’s styling is striking. Rolls-Royce’s Phantom sedan and Phantom Drophead convertible command respect, but I find neither one alluring. The Ghost — bloody hell — it is.

It’s a shame I already have a mortgage.
By Kelsey Mays | December 4, 2009 | Comments (0)

Rolls-Royce Ghost at the Frankfurt Motor Show


  • Competes with: 2500sf 4BR/2.5BA … OK, a Maybach 57
  • Looks like: A smaller Phantom sedan, which isn’t a bad thing
  • Drivetrain: 563-hp, 6.6-liter twin-turbo V-12 with eight-speed automatic transmission
  • Hits dealerships: Likely sometime in early 2010

Those who follow the ultra-luxury segment — both fanboys and the people who can actually afford these things — will recall Rolls-Royce’s 200EX concept, which was unveiled at last spring’s Geneva Motor Show. The Ghost is the production version, and it looks much like the 200EX. A smaller, less expensive sibling to the RR’s flagship Phantom, the Ghost should appeal to “customers who have never had a Rolls-Royce before,” Rolls-Royce CEO Tom Purves told Bloomberg News at this week’s Frankfurt Motor Show.

Of course, less expensive is a relative term. With a reported starting price around $338,000, it’s a wee bit pricier — a mere $160,000 — than Bentley’s least expensive sedan, the Continental Flying Spur.  But the Rolls is no Continental lookalike. It looks more like cars of the steel-girded, half-a-million-greenbacks ilk, complete with an imposing upright grille, suicide rear doors and a power-retracting Spirit of Ecstasy statuette.

The Ghost is smaller, to be sure — some 16 inches shorter than a Phantom sedan — but it should prove to be a sizable presence in any driveway. At 5,445 pounds, it packs nearly 1,000 pounds of additional heft versus a Mercedes S600. That won’t weigh it down, though. Thanks to a 563-horsepower, twin-turbo V-12 and an eight-speed automatic, Rolls-Royce says the Ghost scoots to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds.

Inside, the five-seat cabin has a number of influences from Rolls-Royce owner BMW. There’s an iDrive-like controller for the center-dash display, though thankfully, it appears to have the functionality and shortcut keys from the Bavarian’s latest-generation iDrive, which beats iDrive 1.0 like “Top Chef” beats “Iron Chef.” (Oh boy, here come the emails.) As you might expect, wood and leather abound, with cowhides cut from bulls that roamed in barbed-wire-free fields. There are plenty of technological amenities, too:  Front, side and rear cameras provide fish-eye views around the entire car, active cruise control can bring the Ghost to a full stop in traffic and rear passengers can enjoy their own multimedia system displays.

There’s no word on when the Ghost will materialize at U.S. dealerships — a Rolls-Royce representative has yet to return our calls — but we’d expect it to arrive sometime early next year. Stay tuned for more details, and check out the photos below.

By Kelsey Mays | September 16, 2009 | Comments (6)

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