The well-heeled will be sure to visit the Rolls-Royce stand at the 2009 IAA. That is where the new Ghost will be perched. A lucky few might even be allowed to touch it.

Ghosts, if you are supernaturally-inclined, are not normally seen through the naked eye. The Rolls-Royce Ghost however is different. Made from a steel monocoque body which can be seen and touched the cheapest Rolls-Royce in the range is still a proud wearer of the badge.

Visitors to the IAA where it has made its public debut will be treated to some of the finest examples of recession-proof opulence. Here we mean a choice of 12 exterior colours that can be combined with the Satin Silver bonnet, integrated Teflon-coated umbrellas in the front doors, optional lambswool floor mats, individual lounge seating for the rear passengers, seat massage functions and veneered picnic tables. The list stretches almost as long as the 5.4m car itself.

That it's a Rolls-Royce does not mean it wafts though. Engineers went to great lengths to ensure that the driver derives as much pleasure as the DVD-watching rear passengers. The unique-to-Ghost 6.6-litre twin turbo V12 is smooth as silk and delivers 420kW (571hp) of power and fat torque of 780Nm. When pressed the almost 2.5 ton hunk of metal will charge off and reach 100km/h in 4.9 seconds, cleanly and in a gentlemanly fashion. The aim is not to scare the passengers but to fire a warning shot to the Japanese "hot hatch" on the side. So fast is this that he might think he's just seen a ghost. Which in a sense would be true.

Minimum pricing has already been specified as: £165,000 for the UK, €213,000 for Europe, US$245 000 for the North America market and US$250 000 for the rest of the world.


Gallery: Rolls Royce Ghost Displays Its Physique at Frankfurt