A piece of art that flies like a magic carpet; The Rolls Royce Wraith is the most potent and technologically advanced Rolls Royce that exists today.
Calling it the “car Charles Rolls would choose to drive”, the British automaker unveiled the new Wraith last year during the 2013 Geneva Motor Show – and it is the ultimate gentleman’s Gran Turismo – a car that from my point of view has no competition; it’s something beyond words.
624 BHP/465 kW from a twin-turbo V12 engine, 8-speed satellite aided transmission, 800 Nm of torque and 4.4 seconds to 100 km/h that’s the same timing of a new Porsche 911 (see our 911 review) is capable of, only that you’re in a 5.3-meter long 2.5 tone ultra-luxurious Rolls Royce.
So what exactly is this new Wraith? Basically this is the coupe version of the Ghost – based on the same architectural hardware shared with the BMW 7 series and the Ghost—Rolls’ smaller sedan. But most importantly, this new vehicle is a game changer for Rolls Royce because normally when you think Rolls Royce – you think at a luxurious limousine that comes with a chauffeur in one package; true, but the new Wraith is here to change this – because this, ladies and gentlemen, this is a car to be driven not for being driven in.
In my view the most successful designs always come down to three or four lines. - Giles Taylor, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Design Director
On the front, there’s almost no difference compared to the Ghost – only that this time the famous Spirit of Ecstasy figurine was angled forward 5 degrees to give the car an additional presence of speed. But from the A-pillar everything changes – There is a dramatic combination of linear tension and expressive line that bestows Wraith with such an elegant yet uniquely powerful character. Frameless coach doors and the absence of a b-pillar further augment elegance and drama.
“There are 44,000 different shades offered by Rolls-Royce”
Engine, transmission, fuel consumption (for those who are interested)
Rolls Royce is among the few companies in the world that builds V12 only vehicles (there are even some experimental vehicles out there with V16 engines – (see the Rolls-Royce 100EX). In the Wraith, skilled hands have constructed the most powerful Roll-Royce ever. The engine, a 6.6 liter twin-turbo V12 develops 624 BHP (61 BHP more compared to the Ghost) and 800 Nm of torque available to the driver from 1,500 rpm. This extraordinary engine propels the Wraith to 100 km/h in just 4.6 seconds – almost as fast as a new Porsche 911.
But the point here is not about 0 to 100 timings or how fast it will do a quarter mile; it’s more about the way the engine sounds (when you push the gas very hard – because normally you won’t hear anything), how perfectly balanced is and so on… So it’s more about the quality of the performance, rather than the quantity of it.
Most of the time you have more than 80% power reserve
It’s a fantastic piece of art, very capable – at 220 km/h you have 75% of the engine free! You’ll say 220 km/h is very fast (we are in Germany where there’s no speed limit on the highway). It is, but the car is so quiet and the engine pushes with so much ease that gives you the feeling that you are doing 50 km/h, and I’m not joking.
For the Wraith, Rolls Royce decided to use a Satellite Aided Transmission (SAT) that uses the GPS data to see beyond what the driver sees; it anticipates your next move based on location and current driving style, then selects the most appropriate gear for the terrain ahead. For example the car will holds gears when you’re approaching a corner rather than shifting-up – Does it work? It works perfectly!
For those who are curious about the fuel economy (including myself) – in highway at speeds between 150 and 200 km/h the Wraith will do 11 – 13 liters / 100 km. That’s fantastic for a twin-turbo V12 engine.
Length: 5269mm; width: 1947mm; Weight: 2360 kg! Doesn’t sound very sporty, but …
A Rolls-Royce is not a sporty vehicle, it never was. But the Wraith is very capable and offers decent dynamism.
All Rolls-Royces are heavy and if you push them hard into corners they reveal a noticeable body roll – but the Wraith is capable to handle corners smoothly – much better that I was expecting.
The vehicle uses an advanced air suspension that is capable to “feel” any change – the central calculates any individual load to the dampers every 2.5 milliseconds. The benefits are outstanding comfort but also poise and assurance for the driver. Compared to the Continental GT from Bentley, the Wraith never tries too hard to be a sports car. It is a gentleman’s Gran Turismo in the truest sense of the term.
The tech is all borrowed from BMW of course, but the Rolls’ execution allows you to forget that.
One word: Fantastic
I even don’t know from where to start from. The quality, the attention to details … everything is pushed beyond “normality” … and when I’m saying normality, I’m referring to some of the most premium vehicles that are on the roads today. The floor mats for example have a thinness of more than 2 cm.
Sure, this is what a Rolls Royce customer expects, but the automaker has really taken it up a notch, like there’s a renewed confidence of what an R-R should be. Leather is everywhere and you can opt for the Starlight headliner (it costs more than 8,000 Euro) made from 1,340 fiber-optic lights sewn into the liner by hand. You may say that 8,000 for some interior lightning is a lot – it is, but the effect is fantastic. And the good news is that, as a bespoke feature you can order your Starlight cluster in the exact constellation map of your choice.
Interesting is that the roof is quite low, but high enough for four 1.8 meter tall people. Seats are huge and very comfy of course, but you don’t have too many controls over them (for example on a 7-Series you have many more controls to customize your seat).
Don’t expect very good visibility from the Wraith – but you do have rear view camera and some other tech gizmos to help you when you want to park the car.
Climate control is very intuitive and easy to use. You can select a temperature for your head and another temperature for the legs.
As for those frameless coach doors – one word: huge, and they can be operated via a button right inside the small triangle window at either front pillar. Push that button and – silence: In fact the car is so silent inside and you are so isolated from what’s happening outside that even if a police car is near you with the siren turned on, you might never hear it – and I’m serious.
The dashboard is big, with lots of wood, of course. The wood is as wooden as wood should be.
Besides the starting price (€245k in Europe), I don’t think that somebody can really say something wrong about a Rolls Royce. Even if this one is the smallest Rolls Royce that exists today, at over 5 meters long it is still a very big car – but impressively it handles pretty decent. I think “peace” is the right word when you’re into a RR. Everything is perfect, everything is quiet and somehow you feel immune to everything that is outside.
According to a company spokesperson, Rolls Royce doesn’t have any competition.
The competitive set for the Wraith is not another car
According to a recent study, in general, a Rolls Royce owner has already at least six other cars which he or she drives on a regular basis; and if a Rolls-Royce is competing with another vehicle in a sales sense, it is likely to be either a luxury boat or a small aircraft.
Tested vehicle: Rolls Royce Wraith
4.8 / 5
June 25th, 2014
Technical details Rolls Royce Wraith
||5269 mm / 17 ft.3”
||1947 mm / 6 ft 5”
|Vehicle height (unladen)
||1507 mm / 4 ft 11”
||3112 mm / 10 ft 2”
||12.7 m / 41.7 ft
|Boot Volume (DIN)
||470 ltr / 16.6 ft3
|Unladen Weight (DIN)
||2360 kg / 5203 lb
||V configuration, 12 cylinders, 48 valves
|Power output @ engine speed
||624 bhp / 632 PS (DIN) / 465 kW @ 5,600 rpm
|Max torque @ engine speed
||800 Nm / lb ft @ 1,500-5,500 rpm
||250 km/h / 155 mph (limited)
|Acceleration 0 – 60 mph (UK)
|Acceleration 0 – 100 km/h
||21.2 ltr/100 km / 13.3 mpg (Imp.)
||9.8 ltr/100 km / 28.8 mpg (Imp.)
|Combined consumption / range
||14.0 ltr/100 km / 20.2 mpg (Imp.)
Rolls Royce Wraith Test Drive Gallery