Friday, April 18, 2014
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How Rolls-Royce Ghost stacks up against Boeing 737

Gallery: How Rolls-Royce Ghost stacks up against Boeing 737

Rolls-Royce automobiles mean one thing: unrivaled luxury, and I discovered on a recent test drive that the new Rolls-Royce Ghost is no different.

With a price tag that could double the value of your home just by sitting in the driveway, we thought it would be unfair (and just mean, really) to compare it to almost any other car. So we chose the closest thing to that let-me-grab-that-Grey-Poupon-for-you vibe: your own jetliner.

Rear tray tables? Reclining rear seats? Each seat with its own controllable environment? Check, check, check – and at just a fraction of the $74 million cost of a jet. So if you're in the market for either one, or just like out-of-this-world window-shopping, check out the comparisons between the two experiences.

BRAND IDENTITY: A nose cone is great for a Boeing 737's aerodynamics, but it hardly announces your highest-quality brand like a shimmery flying lady. The Rolls-Royce hood ornament, known as the Spirit of Ecstasy, has been a crucial element since 1911. But if you're flying by too quickly to show her off, your wheel hubs are anchored by ball bearings to ensure that the Rolls-Royce logo is always upright and ready to read. On a 737, the wheels retract after takeoff, so why even bother with a decent set of rims?

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  • A FAST WAY TO GET IN TROUBLE: A Boeing 737-700 cruises at a little more than 600 mph. That's a land speed most law-enforcement officials frown upon. Better to opt for the slower, but still immensely powerful, Ghost. Its 6.6-liter twin-turbocharged V-12 produces 563 horsepower and effortlessly whisks you to 60 mph in less than 5 seconds. You can still end up in a comfortable cell; top speed is 155 mph.

    SEEING IS BELIEVING: In order to take off in a 737, you must wait for clearance from air traffic control. No such problem in the Ghost. And when you pull out of your walled estate, the side-vision cameras will reveal any oncoming traffic or loitering paparazzi. Looking sideways in a 737 will only show you the tarmac.

    EXIT STRATEGIES: Jetways are hidden from public view, so making a memorable entrance is impossible. Thankfully, Rolls-Royce allows you to make an entrance that's every bit as grand as the car. The Ghost's doors are hinged at the rear and open a full 89 degrees, making it easy to gracefully and glamorously step onto the red carpet.

    SEAT OF POWER: A Boeing 737's first-class cabin can hold as many as 23 people. That's way too many – luxury is exclusive, not inclusive. That's why the Ghost comfortably holds only two in its rear cabin, with seats that recline and tray tables that accommodate everything from a laptop to the aforementioned Grey Poupon. The supportive seats are covered in buttery soft leather. And they're comfortable; they don't have to double as flotation devices.

    RUNNING HOT AND COLD: Sure, you can turn on those little air vents in a jet, but what good are those, really? And what if you want to warm your seat on a 737? Your best bet is to pass gas. This will raise a stink, both literally and figuratively. Better opt for the Ghost, which allows each seat to be heated or cooled to the perfect temperature.

    MORE THAN THE VENEER OF CIVILITY: Is there is nothing more depressing than the miserable, boring tray table of a 737? The elegant book-matched wood veneer of the Ghost enriches the cabin and provides countless hours of Rorschach testing.



    –Engine: 6.6-liter twin-turbocharged V-12

    –Horsepower: 563

    –EPA rating (city/highway): 13/19

    –Base price: $296,000

    –Price as tested: $356,290



    Larry Printz is automotive editor at The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Va. He can be reached at


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    Larry Printz The Virginian-Pilot (MCT)