- the rolls-royce ghost zenith signals the end for this generation's 10-year life span, and it comes with exclusive interior treatments and special colors.
- the starlight headliner that rolls-royce will craft into any constellation can now simulate shooting stars.
- just 50 zenith models will be made.
while a sendoff party is supposed to celebrate a life well lived, such reunions can trigger deep-seated emotional issues among the attendees. we bet a few rolls-royce owners at the company's pebble beach festivities this week have mixed feelings about the end of the ghost, no matter how special these last 50 sedans are.
rolls-royce says the ghost zenith is a luxury car at its "apex," a curtain call for the automaker's hugely successful shift to smaller, lower-cost models that have attracted younger clients wanting to drive instead of ride. wealth and size being relative, the ghost—based on the bmw 7-series that debuted for the 2009 model year and quit after 2015—has sometimes seemed it hadn't quite earned its place on the designer rack. even though all sorts of special editions and private custom builds have emerged, none of them have seemed quite as fully realized as the ghost zenith. to our eyes, the zenith's "highest level of bespoke" is where the ghost always belonged, and it's good that it got there in the end.
start with the interior, which features contrasting leather for the center rear seat in a stitch pattern that recalls the 1907 ghost. that color matches the center console, the gorgeous wraparound trim behind the rear doors, the dash, and the leather roof that animates shooting stars from within its 1340 fiber-optic lights. extended-wheelbase models trade the night sky for a panoramic moonroof with thick line patterns embroidered into the panel cover. perforated leather map pockets in each door are backlit with more ambient lighting.
a triangular motif for the front door inlays, in what appear to be gorgeous strips of matte-finished walnut, darken as the trim extends toward the dash. the same pattern is available on white lacquered piano wood or carbon fiber. mechanical drawings of the ghost's internals, such as the transmission output shaft, lay etched on two metal cupholder covers. rolls says that each of the 50 zenith cars will have different drawings to link "the collection as a group homage." that's rich—and we'll take the v-12's starter motor on ours, thanks.
three exterior colors in a deep burgundy, silver, or royal blue are available with contrasting hood and windshield surround paint (or in stainless steel, the ghost's biggest selling point). new wheels, appropriately chromed and enormous, are on hand. finally, metal grafted from the 2009 200ex concept shown in geneva was melted into the dash plaques for all 50 cars, along with zenith badging on the dash clock and the spirit of ecstasy hood ornament. plain and average are nowhere in sight.
the next ghost will toss the zenith's aging bmw chassis for the same architecture of luxury platform unique to the current phantom sedan and cullinan suv. that's a tacit admission that the ghost is stepping up its game to justify its presence in the $300,000 range. we once called the ghost a car to buy "when nothing less than second-best will do." after the zenith fades, this may no longer ring true.