Rolls-Royce Ghost Series II (© Perry Stern)Click to enlarge picture

Rolls-Royce Ghost Series II

The 2015 Rolls-Royce Ghost Series II isn't exactly subtle, but that's exactly how the British automaker describes the stately sedan, which makes its debut at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show. Specifically, Rolls-Royce is referring to the subtle changes it has made to the redesigned Ghost Series II, which will still coddle its passengers in opulence while providing sports-car like acceleration from a twin-turbo V-12 under the hood.

That engine, by the way, doesn't change, though it hardly needed any tweaking. The 6.6-liter twelve-cylinder augmented with two turbos still sends 565 hp and 575 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels via a ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic. The gearbox, however, now gains satellite-aided technology that first debuted on the Wraith. Using GPS data, the gearbox will prepare and select gears based on the road ahead. Rounding off the mechanical tweaks is the Ghost Series II's suspension that includes redesigned struts, a new steering gear, and new rear hydraulic axle bearings. A Dynamic Driving Package improves handling with adjusted dampers. Rolls-Royce estimates that the short-wheelbase Ghost Series II will run from 0-60 mph in 4.8 seconds, while the extended-wheelbase model will need an extra tenth of a second to do the deed. Keep in mind that we recently tested a 2014 Ghost with the short wheelbase, which ran to 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds.

You'll have to look closely to spot the styling changes, but most revisions are found up front. The bumper, for example has been redesigned with larger air intakes that are accented with chrome inserts. The headlights have a new shape and sharper LED daytime running lamps, while the revised active high beam system will deflect light for oncoming traffic. Rolls-Royce also resculpted the hood, including the area just below the Spirit of Ecstasy ornament to evoke "the sight of a jet's" vapor trail. Not-so-subtle 21-inch forged aluminum rims are now offered, though 19-inchers are standard for a more low-key look. Finally, a "monogrammed stainless-steel" fuel-filler cap can be had as an option.

Inside, the front passengers are treated to redesigned seats that now include electronically-adjustable thigh supports. Meanwhile, rear passengers are now subtly angled towards each other thanks to "lounge seat" configuration. Paldao and Walnut Burr Crossband are two new wood choices, while the A and C-pillars can now be wrapped in leather. In addition to improved soft-touch materials on the dashboard and a thicker steering wheel, the instrument dials and the analog clock feature revised metal accents.

The 2015 Ghost Series II also received improved technology. The automaker has added more connectivity options and improved the infotainment system, which is highlighted by a 10.3-inch high definition screen. A new rotary control knob also doubles as a touchpad, allowing users to input characters for audio, telephone, and messaging functions. The Ghost has done well for Rolls-Royce since it first entered showrooms almost five years ago, and the revised Series II should make it an even more appealing choice.

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