The seductive new Ghost — a Rolls-Royce for the pandemic era

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A Rolls-Royce for the COVID-19 era might be an incongruous idea, but that is what the luxury car maker has made with its new Ghost, writes Frank Kane. (Supplied)
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A Rolls-Royce for the COVID-19 era might be an incongruous idea, but that is what the luxury car maker has made with its new Ghost, writes Frank Kane. (Supplied)
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Updated 24 September 2020

The seductive new Ghost — a Rolls-Royce for the pandemic era

  • The revamped model was officially launched in the Middle East at a glitzy ceremony in Caesars Palace hotel in Dubai this week

DUBAI: A Rolls-Royce for the COVID-19 era might be an incongruous idea, but that is what the luxury car maker has made with its new Ghost.

Not that the elite motor marque has gone anywhere near austerity in the new car, which was officially launched in the Middle East at a glitzy ceremony in Caesars Palace hotel in Dubai this week.

All the features that have made Rolls-Royce a by-word for iconic luxury are still there, and more: Deep pile carpet made from finest British wool; enough technology — much of it from the hi-tech heartland of Rolls’ German owner BMW — to launch a Mars mission; and a price tag of around 1.8 million Emirati dirhams ($490,000) that will buy you the bare minimum of customization.

But, in the words of Rolls-Royce global CEO Torsten Muller-Otvos, this version of the Ghost is in tune with the era of “post opulence.”

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READ MORE: Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII review: The car of kings and presidents

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Apparently, Rolls’ owners wanted something that “didn’t shout, but rather whisper.”

The car that was unveiled at Caesars Palace did not so much whisper, as entice. “Come and drive me,” it seemed to be saying, in a seductive voice.

As ever with Rolls, the car looks a knockout, and you could spend a long time admiring its minimalist lines, but any red-blooded driver simply wants to get behind that wheel on an open road.

What a thrill that will be when the Rolls cognoscenti get their pre-ordered deliveries in the next couple of months. The 6.7-liter twin-turbo V-12 engine has so much power that drivers will appreciate the close control of four-wheel-drive and steering that comes as standard, as well as improved suspension. The “magic carpet” ride promises to be even smoother.

The whole car has been re-engineered from the previous Ghost, which was one of the best-selling cars in Rolls’ illustrious 120-year history, and it has some eye-catching refinements. Doors open from the inside at the touch of a button, and the “spirit of ecstasy” now slips back into the bonnet when you want, rather than into the radiator grill.

The “pantheon” grill itself can be backlit for those occasions when you might want to let other rear-view motorists know you are driving the best car on the road.

Cesar Habib, the head of the Rolls business in the Middle East, quoted founder Henry Rolls: “Small things make perfection, but perfection is not a small thing.”

The launch of a new Rolls-Royce is no small thing either. The huge number of enthusiasts in Saudi Arabia will get their chance to sample the new Ghost next month.


Spotify unveils top 5 most streamed K-Pop acts in Saudi Arabia, UAE 

Updated 20 October 2020

Spotify unveils top 5 most streamed K-Pop acts in Saudi Arabia, UAE 

DUBAI: To celebrate the monumental impact of K-Pop on fans around the world, Spotify delved into its listening data for some of the genre’s best-known acts. From BTS to ATEEZ, here are the five most streamed K-Pop groups across Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt. 

BTS 

Formed in 2013, BTS has spearheaded the K-Pop drive into the Middle East with catchy, upbeat music. The seven-member South Korean boy band recently notched up the first No.1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 singles chart by a South Korean group with their first all-English language single “Dynamite.” 

Blackpink

It’s not just the boys that are driving the K-Pop obsession. Seoul-based girl group Blackpink, who recently released their first Netflix documentary “BLACKPINK: Light Up The Sky” on Oct. 14, are also experiencing a serious surge in streaming. Their latest release “The Album” became the #1 global album on Spotify during the week of launch. 

Twice

Beside Blackpink, Twice have also established themselves in the region. This is a big month for the nine-member girl group: Oct. 20 marks five years since they hit the scene in 2015, and on Oct. 26 they are releasing their second full-length Korean album “Eyes Wide Open.”

Stray Kids 

The fourth most streamed act in the Middle East is Stray Kids. The group consists of eight male members, who are currently preparing for their Nov. 22 virtual concert on Beyond Live, the online performance platform. Their most famous hits are “Grow Up,” “Voices” and “Side Effects.” 

ATEEZ

ATEEZ is one of the most recent K-Pop acts. Formed in October 2018, the eight-member group has already made it to the region’s top five most streamed K-Pop bands. Not just that, but as of September 2020, the group has released five Korean-language EPs, one full-length album and two Japanese albums.