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CLUBHOUSE | DRIVING RANGE

OUT IN FRONT – FOR NOW

THE NEW GHOST FROM ROLLS-ROYCE IS A BRILLIANT DRIVER’S CAR BUT IT WILL LIKELY FACE STRONG COMPETITION FROM THE MERCEDES-MAYBACH, WHICH IS TO BE LAUNCHED NEXT YEAR, WRITES BEN OLIVER.

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owners will spot the differences. One important change is the way the famous Spirit of Ecstasy and the equally-famous grille have been raised to be more clearly in the driver’s line of sight as he motors along. But although the Ghost The car has been a comes close. is great to drive, much of its colossal success for Rolls- sales growth has been in The smaller (yet still very substantial) Ghost saloon first appeared in 2010 and has just received its first very subtle mainland China, which has Royce, powering a makeover with this new Series II edition. Like the Phantom, very brand which once built become Rolls-Royce’s biggest little needed to change. The car has been a colossal success single market and where only a few hundred for Rolls-Royce, powering a brand which once built only a few owners almost invariably sit cars each year towards hundred cars each year towards 4,000 sales in 2015. in the back. It’s telling that the The Ghost is an exceptionally good driver’s car, as I revised Series II comes with an 4,000 sales in 2015. discovered when I took an early example to the ghost towns optional extended wheelbase that line the final stretch of America’s Route 66 through the desert west of Los from the start for more rear legroom, and even Angeles. Out there, the only speed controls are the very occasional and easily- rear seats that have been subtly angled towards spotted helicopter, and the Ghost was able to display the full, sportscar-like fury of each other to make private conversation easier. its 530-horsepower twin-turbo V12. But another reason for the update could The new Series II drives just as well: the power output is the same and the be seen simultaneously in Los Angeles and handling has been tautened just a little, without compromising that famous Rolls- Guangzhou in November. Mercedes-Benz Royce ride. The looks have been subtly chiselled too, though perhaps only existing launched the standalone Maybach brand in 2003 34

ruly great design doesn’t need much tweaking. The RollsRoyce Phantom, the first model launched by the brand after it was bought by BMW, has been on sale for eleven years now – an eternity in modern motoring terms – with only the most minor of facelifts. Yet it still remains the benchmark super-luxury saloon: nothing else

HK GOLFER・DEC 2014

HKGOLFER.COM

SCORECARD ROLLS-ROYCE GHOST SERIES II Engine: 6.6-litre twin turbo V12 Transmission: 8-speed automatic Power: 563hp at 5250rpm 575lb ft at 1500rpm Performance: 0-100km/h 4.8sec Max speed 250km/h How Heavy? 2470kgs

to battle the reborn Rolls-Royce, but the cars were a flop and the brand closed down. Now it’s back, as Mercedes-Maybach, with the cars more closely related to the magnificent S-Class luxury saloon, but at least 20cm longer in the rear cabin and with interior fittings from a league above, and good enough to challenge even the hand-built work of the most elite name in motoring. These two cars will be direct rivals: Rolls-Royce might have the name, but Mercedes has the budget and the technology. It’s apparent in its claim to be the world’s quietest production car in the back, and in the extraordinary versatility of its ‘first-class’ rear cabin, and in nice features like voice-amplification, so you can instruct your driver without raising your voice. Notice that the car was launched in the USA and China at the same time: China will be the Mercedes-Maybach’s biggest market too. It’s too new for us to have tested it yet. It will need to be good to beat the revised Ghost, but we suspect that this time, it will be. HKGOLFER.COM

HK GOLFER・DEC 2014

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