Driven

MASERATI CORSE 2020 / A new era be­gins

- Cars · Movies · Minimalism · Independent Film · Rolls-Royce

When the first Rolls-Royce Ghost was un­veiled at the Frankfurt Mo­tor Show in Septem­ber 2009, it proved to be the most min­i­mal­ist, and – dare I say – prac­ti­cal model Rolls-Royce had ever made. And, sur­pris­ingly (at least for the tra­di­tional Roll’s owner) turned out to be one of the most suc­cess­ful mod­els in the mar­que’s long his­tory.

POST-OP­U­LENCE

So when it came time to con­cep­tu­alise the new Ghost, Rolls-Royce turned first to those loyal clients, and asked for their feed­back on what they would like to see in the up­dated model. The an­swer, ac­cord­ing to Rolls-Royce CEO, Torsten Müller-Ötvös, was: less os­ten­ta­tion, more min­i­mal­ism, and a sim­pler, dis­tilled de­sign. The mes­sage was clear: the pared back sim­plic­ity of the orig­i­nal Ghost needed to be pared back even fur­ther. If the orig­i­nal Ghost could be de­scribed as a dis­crete con­ver­sa­tion, the Rolls-Royce team love to say that the new Ghost doesn’t shout at you, it whis­pers. And so it ush­ers in an all new re­fined “post-op­u­lence” de­sign ethos for the man­u­fac­turer, where all the pre­vi­ous bells and whis­tles and em­bel­lish­ments – the sup­posed trap­pings of suc­cess – have been stripped away, to al­low you to fully ap­pre­ci­ate the en­gi­neer­ing and de­sign ge­nius that goes into cre­at­ing this beau­ti­fully ele­gant work of mo­tor­ing art.

While chuck­ing out the ex­tras may sound like less work for the de­sign team, Müller-Ötvös is quick to point out that sim­plic­ity is an ex­tremely com­plex process, quot­ing the mar­que’s found­ing fa­ther, Henry Royce who fa­mously said: “Small things make per­fec­tion, but per­fec­tion is no small thing.” But it is a chal­lenge that the new Ghost de­sign team have tack­led head on, spend­ing more than five years fine tun­ing ev­ery pos­si­ble as­pect of this model – right down to putting damp­en­ing units in the seat frames to en­sure that the au­dio fre­quency they cre­ate is the same com­fort­ing tone as all the other el­e­ments in the cabin! “Some peo­ple call us ob­ses­sive,” laughs Jonathan Simms, En­gi­neer­ing Lead, “But, I pre­fer to think of us as per­fec­tion­ists!”

So what, ex­actly does “per­fec­tion” equate to in this con­text – well here are just a few ex­am­ples.

OUT­SIDE EN­GI­NEER­ING

The metal su­per­struc­ture of the new Ghost is 100% alu­minum, with its outer body ren­dered as one ex­pan­sive piece, flow­ing seam­lessly from the A-pil­lar, over the roof to the rear of the car, em­brac­ing the un­clut­tered “clean” look the de­sign­ers were aim­ing for. In or­der to achieve this, four crafts­men hand weld the body to­gether si­mul­ta­ne­ously to en­sure a per­fectly con­tin­u­ous seam.

The min­i­mal­ist de­sign is prob­a­bly most no­tice­able in the front of the new Ghost which is de­void of un­nec­es­sary flour­ishes but still main­tains its char­ac­ter­is­tic Rolls-Royce charm. The de­sign­ers did al­low them­selves one flour­ish though – 20 LEDs un­der­neath the top of the ra­di­a­tor grille sub­tly il­lu­mi­nate the vanes, though the brushed backs of the metal grille bars en­sure a “re­strained glow” in keep­ing with the post-op­u­lent aes­thetic.

IN­TE­RIOR DE­SIGN

The in­te­rior of the Ghost has been de­signed to be a detox­i­fy­ing space that is as calm­ing, re­lax­ing and un­com­pli­cated as pos­si­ble. “Our cus­tomers lead very com­pli­cated lives, so they don’t need con­stant re­minders of their suc­cess,” ex­plains Rolls-Royce de­signer, Henry Cloke. To achieve this, busy de­tails and su­per­fi­cial em­bel­lish­ments were re­moved, and in so do­ing, also al­lowed the de­sign­ers to cel­e­brate the very finest ma­te­ri­als used in the cabin and max­imise the im­pact of be­spoke colour per­son­al­i­sa­tion. Com­plex stitch work has been

re­placed by sim­ple, but long and per­fectly straight lines. “There aren’t any com­pli­cated pat­terns in which to hide any mis­takes, so ev­ery stitch line has to be per­fect,” says Cloke. Like­wise, the wood in­sets used in the cabin are no longer hid­den un­der lac­quer, but rather left in an open-pore fin­ish, so pas­sen­gers can fully ap­pre­ci­ate the su­perb qual­ity of the wood.

THE GHOST IN THE MA­CHINE

Un­der the hood beats the heart of the Ghost in the form of a Rolls-Royce 6.75-litre twin-tur­bocharged V12 petrol en­gine which de­liv­ers 420 kW and 850 Nm of torque to the all-wheel steer, all-wheel driv­e­train. And if that isn’t tempt­ing enough to lure the chauf­feur-driven owner to the driver’s seat, the Ghost is the most tech­no­log­i­cally ad­vanced mo­tor car Rolls-Royce has ever pro­duced. Just a se­lec­tion of said tech in­cludes: vi­sion as­sist, in­clud­ing dayand night-time wildlife and pedes­trian warn­ing; a four-cam­era sys­tem with panoramic view, all­round vis­i­bil­ity and he­li­copter view; col­li­sion warn­ing; cross-traf­fic warn­ing; an in­dus­try-lead­ing 7x3 high-res­o­lu­tion head-up dis­play; Wi-Fi hotspot; self-park; and the very lat­est nav­i­ga­tion and en­ter­tain­ment sys­tems.

SUS­PENDED AN­I­MA­TION

The Rolls-Royce engi­neers have also en­hanced the mar­que’s hall­mark “Magic Car­pet Ride” with a new Pla­nar Sus­pen­sion Sys­tem, which is the re­sult of ten col­lec­tive years of test­ing and de­vel­op­ment. “For pas­sen­gers, it feels like the road has been planed smooth,” ex­plains Simms, “it’s the clos­est you can get to a sen­sa­tion of flight on land.”

This has been achieved through a series of com­plex en­gi­neer­ing feats, in­clud­ing a world-first Up­per Wish­bone Damper unit which ba­si­cally damp­ens the dampers. Add to this, Satel­lite Aided Trans­mis­sion, and the Flag­bearer sys­tem, which uses cam­eras to read the road ahead and pre­pare the sus­pen­sion sys­tem for any changes in road sur­face, and the New Ghost can now an­tic­i­pate and re­act to even the most de­mand­ing road sur­faces.

LAST WORD

And that’s not even half of it, but I have cho­sen to take a leaf out of the new Ghost’s book, and dis­till my de­scrip­tion of this un­be­liev­ably im­pres­sive car down to the min­i­mum. The new Ghost is pure per­fec­tion – while try­ing very hard to hide it. As Müller-Ötvös says: “In to­day’s world, where many peo­ple are seek­ing in­creased sim­plic­ity, re­fine­ment and re­straint, the post-op­u­lent world, this RollsRoyce fits per­fectly with the zeit­geist of our time.” Plus, it may make you for­get all about join­ing that pot­tery class!

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