The New Rolls-Royce Ghost Was So Quiet It Made Drivers Sick

Most people don’t really consider the impact that sound has on comfort, but the team behind the new Rolls-Royce Ghost learned firsthand its importance when they discovered it was “too quiet” during the design process. Test drivers reported that they found the silence to be so disorienting that they bordered on nausea. The reason behind this entirely unnatural phenomenon had to do with a variety of changes, including shifting from a steel to aluminum frame, insulating the bulkhead with “sound-deafening skin,” smoothing the air-conditioning ducts, modifying the windshield wipers, double-glazing the windows, lining the tires with lightweight foam, and throwing in 220 pounds of sound-insulating material. While the folks at Rolls-Royce thought they were improving matters, they only made them worse. So, adjustments had to be made to bring in noise, instead of worrying about keeping them out. For example, the engine was recalibrated to let just enough noise make its way into the cabin. That, combined with a myriad of other adjustments made the new Rolls sound like most other cars, and retesting showed everybody was happy.