THE CARS OF ENTOURAGE
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Published on Tue, Nov 15, 2011
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
In honor of the last season of HBO’s Entourage, LA Car is presenting its series of reviews showcasing the cars and the magic of this award-winning program. Next up: It’s the Rolls-Royce of Entourage cars. It’s (what else?) Rolls-Royce. More specifically, the newest Rolls in the line: The Ghost. One of the best-looking Rolls-Royce sedans in decades. John Grafman reports. Words and pictures by John Grafman Early in the very first season of HBO’s Entourage, we realize that Vinnie Chase (played by Adrian Grenier), the good-looking transplant from New York with the promising acting career, loves cars. The rub: Vinnie doesn’t even have a license—or the ability to drive a car, let alone own one. That’s not an endearing quality in the city of angels.
As a result, his closest friends, brother, and the auto dealer prod him into leasing a Rolls-Royce Phantom chanting, “Just do it”. On the other hand, Marvin—Vincent’s stressed accountant—becomes unglued upon hearing the news. Seems that unemployed actors shouldn’t be purchasing six figure cars. In turn, Eric Murphy, Vincent’s boyhood friend turned personal manager, is forced to return the car. Once you had a Rolls it’s hard to step down into anything else. Withdrawals from this can be serious. This is a case for Dr. Drew. Over the next seven years, we see Vincent go through many changes—including learning to drive in preparation for his role in a film on the life of Enzo Ferrari. Let’s face it, half the fun of playing Enzo is driving the cars? What a life! This also is fortunate for Mr. Chase in another roundabout way. While the Rolls Royce Phantom might be the best car to be chauffeured in, sometimes you want to take the control. A Ferrari is indeed nice, but a little tough for him to squeeze in himself and his three closest friends, and an occasional girl.
As the series nears completion, his final acquisition is the Ghost. This is when we know for certain that Vincent isn’t taking the backseat to anyone. I can’t fault him for wanting to spend his time behind the wheel. After driving both the Phantom and Ghost, I appreciate both of the legendary luxury cars. But, when it comes to having my choice for a daily driver, I give the prize to the Ghost hands down. Don’t get me wrong, the Phantom is a jewel. It’s a pleasure to drive, and far easier than many expect, given its mass. However, the Ghost really is a modern car in nearly every way. Compared with the Phantom it’s a bit less stately in size, and the interior is more in step with other premium vehicles in design and material. In a nutshell, it’s just more approachable. Don’t get the wrong impression. This is by almost every account a thoroughly modern Rolls-Royce. Smaller is a very relative term. The Phantom might be impossible to fit into a standard garage. The Ghost, on the other hand, manages to squeeze in, albeit with only a few inches on either end of the car. And it’s a tight fit on the sides as well, but it will. Fortunately, the Ghost comes with all sorts of assistance, ranging from park distance control sensors, to a composite overhead camera view, to back-up screens to make the job manageable. Additionally, the doors are hinged to open wide and allow for egress and exit with even a very limited amount of space. Really, the Ghost is chock full of great features and advance technology that makes this an effortless ride.
The transmission controls are actuated into gear very similar to the BMW and Mercedes S Class, via a stalk on the steering column. This might be a little tricky until after a day or so of playing with it. There are three primary choices, it’s either reverse, neutral or drive, with the parking selection available once in neutral. So simple, even a Hollywood bimbo can do it! The 6.6-liter, 12-cylinder engine is refined beyond expectation. In the motor department, the saloon proves to be world-class with 563 horsepower and 575 pound-feet of power. It’s almost dream-like that a car of this size can move out as quickly as this does. The Ghost can perform with the best saloons on the market. On the road this is one of the very best products to cruise in as far as comfort is concerned. The electronically controlled 8-speed transmission is buttery smooth. Even pegging the throttle produces rapid response, but very linear, like a CVT, all but drama-free (no pun intended, Johnny “Drama” Chase). The long wheel-base provides perfection on the freeways, absorbing road imperfections effortlessly. Of course, jocking for a parking spot at the local quickie mart can be a challenge when the spots are at a 90-degree angle. Assisting in providing a bounce free drive is the double wishbone front suspension and a multi-link rear with self leveling air springs.
The power assisted ventilated disc brakes with four channel anti-lock braking system, plus a handful of other electronic nannies provide a feeling of invincibility. The only blip is in hard breaking where the nose of the car dips down and then bobs a bit on rebound. But, it is minimal, and considering the mass involved, the occupants will hardly notice, and certainly won’t complain. The sound deadening, laminated glass, and creamy soft full and natural hides absorb any hint of unwanted noise. This is clearly setting the bar up high with interior sound decibel levels that that seem only slightly louder than a recording studio. Take that EMI. This cocoon-like silence allows for intimate conversations, phone calls, or god forbid some quiet time, in a civilized manner. But, Vincent Chase isn’t one for isolation, hence the entourage. So, for those that prefer a little distraction to the world around them the Ghost provides an exceptional audio system with various options, such as satellite and HD radio, and an auxiliary plug for smart phones. Like so many cars on the market, the ability to tune the sounds and shape it with various sound fields is limited. On the flip side, this in turn reduces driver distractions. The system offers 600-watts flowing through a 10-channel amp, into 16b speakers with subwoofers.
The quality of the sound system parallels the refined materials found inside, be it the use of bookend wood veneers (where the grain is split to mirror itself), or the use of real polished metal. On lesser cars, one will find chromed plastic instead. Often the look is imitated, but the tactile feel separates the real deal from want-to-be contenders. This car is still old-school when it comes to the exterior. The hood might be aluminum, but the monocoque body, doors and panels are steel. This is indeed heavy metal. The car is complete with extensive safety features ranging from the front seat active head restraints, airbags all around, and three-point seat belts with pretensioners and force limiters, to rain sensing variable speed windshield wipers, and auto-leveling xenon headlights. The parent company, BMW, does have the technical know-how to make this good enough for the most discerning Hollywood mogul. The goods include such niceties like rear coach doors with power closing assistance at the touch of a button, soft close latches on door and luggage hatch, self-righting wheel centers, electrically-retracting Spirit of Ecstasy grille ornament. Also, standard is the fantastic dynamic cruise control, and voice recognition system for navigation, telephone, and entertainment functions.
Okay, all of that can be had for just about $245K. But, that’s the starting point. This particular car is loaded with about another 50K in brilliant add-ons. Now some might think you could get a sweet car for that kind of money, and they might be right. But this Rolls has optional equipment including the drivers assistance package with night-vision, rear theatre configuration that’s sure to put the multiplex out of business, and front and rear cameras (Vince will no doubt appreciate these), comfort entry system that lowers the car for ease of entry. Oh, but there’s more. Sure, throw in the panorama roof, and the front and rear ventilated seats, and power individual rear seats. And yes, one can’t leave out the picnic tables, and the comfy lambs wool floormats. At $301,500 this isn’t cheap, and fortunately for Vince and those that can afford the Ghost, they will indeed have a no compromise luxury sedan. The question most will face isn’t how can they can afford it, but rather how can they live without it! For more information about Rolls Royce products, go to www.rolls-roycemotorcars.com
SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2012 Rolls-Royce Ghost Price $246,500 (base) $301,500 (as tested) EPA fuel economy rating: 13 city/20 highway (miles per gallon) Engine: 6.6 liter DOHC 48-valve V12 with variable valve timing and direct injection Horsepower: 563 hp @ 5250 rpm Torque: 575 pound-feet @ 1500 rpm Transmission: 8-speed automatic with manu-matic mode Drive configuration: Rear-wheel drive Steering: Speed-proportional power steering Suspension Double wishbone front suspension Multi-link rear suspension Four-wheel independent suspension with front and rear stabilizer bar Wheels and tires: 19 x 8.5 in. alloy wheels and 255/50R19 103Y performance tires Dimensions Width: 76.7 inches Height: 61.0 inches Length: 212.6 inches Curb weight: 5490 pounds