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2002 Rolls-Royce Park Ward REVIEW

Edmunds.com logo Edmunds.com 4/5/2017

Con: The price of British pedigree, dreadful fuel economy.

Pro: Instant conferment of old-world-aristocrat status, luxurious cabin with generous legroom for all passengers.

Edmunds Say: Personalized luxury, the comforts of a British touring saloon, the prestige of driving it in the colonies -- these can be yours for 260 large.

What’s New: The Silver Seraph-based Park Ward is unchanged for 2002. Note that 2002 is the last year of production at the distinguished Crewe, England, plant. BMW will take possession of the Rolls-Royce name in 2003, and production will shift to a new facility in Goodwood.

Review: Rolls-Royce hailed its Silver Seraph as "the most technically advanced and refined machine ever made by Rolls-Royce Motor Cars." But some of us need a bit more room to stretch out while touring the countryside, and so the company introduced an extended-wheelbase version called the Park Ward. Engineers strove to preserve the Silver Seraph's flowing lines while increasing legroom for rear passengers and providing "more elegant access to and egress from the motor car both front and rear."

A 5.4-liter V12 powerplant conveying 322 horsepower and 361 pound-feet of torque at 3,900 rpm is charged with hauling around this 5,400-pound rear-drive sedan, and it does a fine job at it - zero-to-60 mph acceleration runs are procured in 7.3 seconds, and it only requires 2.4 seconds to go from 30-50 mph. You'll be a favorite of the local gas station, as the Titan-sized automobile (whose exterior dimensions exceed those of the Chevrolet Suburban) quaffs a gallon of premium fuel for every 14 miles traveled. A five-speed automatic is standard.

Besides its front and rear double-wishbone suspension, the Park Ward has a computer-controlled adaptive hydraulic damping system to keep its portly body from wallowing too much around corners. To better manage the weight of passengers and luggage, the saloon includes automatic ride height control with load compensation and headlamp leveling.

The Park Ward comes in one lavishly appointed trim level. Standard with your Rolls are four-channel electronic ABS and a traction and stability control system, which reduces engine torque and applies the brakes to the misbehaving rear wheel. You'll also kindly note power adjustable front and rear chairs (the Park Ward seats four), an automatic climate control system with front and rear temperature control and various protective filters, navigation system, park distance control system, six-disc CD changer with remote control for operation by rear passengers and picnic tables in the front seatbacks.

To ensure the authenticity and originality of each and every Park Ward, you can choose from any one of numerous configurations for your coach. Rolls-Royce offers 27 exterior colors and an extensive selection of the finest wood, leather and lamb's wool carpeting for the interior. Of course, the company is also happy to oblige any requests for special colors. Every Park Ward is hand-built to exacting specifications; the exterior paint job alone may require up to 10 hours of polishing -- by hand, of course -- to bring out the requisite mirror finish.

Few ultra-luxury sedans -- or rather, saloons -- can accommodate four people so comfortably as the Park Ward. What's the price of comfort? Only you can decide.

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