One of the nice things about Rolls-Royce is the exceptional length that the company will take for maximum comfort. It’s like supercar makers are looking for every little advantage to make their cars a tenth of a second faster. For the Rolls-Royce Ghost 2021, the company uses the so-called Planar Suspension System, a nebulous term for the collection of the systems and parts used. Some are straightforward, like the independent 4WD air suspension and the way the GPS and forward cameras tell you what strength should be applied on the road. But one part confused us: the upper wishbone damper. We spoke to Jon Simms, the chief engineer for the mind, for more information, and now we have a better view of what it is and what it does.
What it is is the roughly horseshoe shaped object highlighted purple in the photo above. The yellow parts are stop buffers and are mounted on the same joint as the upper wishbone. And it turns out to be a pretty simple device. It works very much like the harmonic balancer at the end of a motor. It is a weight with a flexible rubber hinge that absorbs additional vibrations and movements of the suspension over minor bumps. These yellow bumpers give the damper an additional purchase on the wishbone and absorb shocks from larger bumps that can suddenly move the wishbone so that arm and damper do not hit each other.
This may seem like a pretty small thing, but remember, Rolls-Royce and its buyers strive for maximum comfort. So there is reason to invest in ironing out all sorts of ride quality issues, regardless of size. And even if it’s a small improvement, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Simms told us that existing Ghost customers they spoke to during development had an important question regarding the driving experience: “Don’t break it.” So it seems like exactly what customers want in making sure the new car is basically the last, but a little better.
The Ghost is the first Rolls-Royce to adopt this complete suite of parts from the Planar Suspension System, although other Rolls-Royce models had parts of the system. And given that the Ghost now shares its platform with Phantom and Cullinan, we wouldn’t be surprised if later versions of these models would include parts like this damper.