Seeing ghosts: Rolls-Royce unveils Six Senses Concept at Beijing Motor Show

Rolls-Royce Six Senses Concept side viewAt Rolls-Royce, less is never more. For a car bearing the company’s legendary “Spirit of Ecstasy” hood ornament, “good enough” doesn’t exist. That’s why the Rolls Phantom has umbrellas in its doors. That attitude is apparent in the latest Rolls-Royce concept car. Based on the Ghost sedan, the Six Senses Concept is supposed to appeal to all six human senses. Apparently, sticking with the normal five senses was too pedestrian.

To satisfy sight, Rolls tried to create a car that was “instantly pleasing to the eye.” To do that, the normal Ghost’s handsome bodywork was covered in special Carrara White pearlescent paint. The car also rides on unique forged alloy wheels. The interior, which comes in a complimentary white hue with Walnut Burr trim, is supposed to “hint at the extraordinary power at the driver’s disposal.”

Sound was a tough one because, as Rolls-Royce admits, cars with the “Spirit of Ecstasy” are known for being incredibly quiet. Instead of focusing on engine noise like Porsche would, Rolls used the Ghost’s quiet cabin to emphasize its audio system. The system includes an upgraded amplifier and “exciter” speakers in the headliner. According to Rolls, these speakers put the center of sound closer to passengers’ ears.

Putting “new car smell” on the list of standard features is a bit ostentatious, but it’s not like Rolls-Royce was going to ruin a pristine interior with an air freshener. Rolls says the Six Senses treats passengers’ noses to the smell of leather and the “woody spice” of the Walnut Burr trim. Does it smell different than any other new car with leather seats and wood trim? Would anyone buy a car based on how its smelled?

The leather and wood are not edible, but Rolls-Royce did include a champagne cooler to satisfy passengers’ sense of taste. Owners can store their drinks in the rear seat arm rest, and the car even comes with sound-etched champagne flutes.Rolls-Royce Six Senses Concept champagne flutes

Rolls-Royce says its cars are already the most tactilely pleasing luxury vehicles around, because of their plethora of chrome, wood, and leather surfaces. In the Six Senses Concept, Rolls added natural grain leather and thick lambswool carpets (even in the trunk). Hopefully, Rolls-royce buyers have a butler that can keep those carpets clean, and wipe the fingerprints off everything else.

That all sounds lovely, but what about the sixth sense? Apparently, it has nothing to do with seeing dead people. “It can be likened to an aura, a sense that the stunning hand-made interior embodies something of the heart and soul of each proud craftsperson involved in its creation,” said Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Muller-Otvos. “That’s a uniquely Rolls-Royce sixth sense that this car presents so elegantly.” Do you really need to a sixth sense to know that you’re in a Rolls-Royce? If you do, then maybe the company isn’t doing a very good job at selling distinctive cars.