The idea of a "sporty" Rolls-Royce may seem borderline discrepant, but this new fast-backed grand tourer—the quickest and most potent Roller, ever—proves
that it is not only possible, but downright enjoyable. Rolls-Royces have always been known for their Devonshire-creamy ride. Squeezing 62 more horses out
of the locomotive twin-turbo V12 borrowed from the Ghost, with which the Wraith shares many of its basic underpinnings, churns us into clots, and never
stops agitating. Not that we'd want it to. Helping put that power to the road is the world's first satellite-aided transmission, an 8-speed that allegedly
uses GPS data and the car's nav system to predict when you might need to downshift. Which, in my opinion, is always. Also, a new Audi-esque touchpad atop
the iDrive-derived, Spirit of Ecstasy-imprinted rotary controller knob lets you scrawl, pinch, pull, and swipe through all of yourinfotainment needs.
Part of the delight of driving a Rolls is the way that speed comes on almost imperceptibly. Isolated from all those distracting road surface
elements—bumps, joints, grooves, peasants—and insulated from irritating natural details like wind noise and the laws of physics, it becomes profoundly and
magically difficult to tell exactly how fast you're going. Allow me to answer this for you: you are going very fast. Like, TGV fast. If you doubt it, count
the rapid rate at which the telephone poles, or the bewildered expression on the faces of Porsche 911S drivers as you swoosh past. This 5200 lb. two-door
hustles to 60 in 4.5 seconds and keeps providing churn up to a limited 155,never forgetting to put the Grand in Grand Tourer. Could it feel faster? Yes.
But then it wouldn't be a Rolls.
There's no way we can pick just one favorite detail in the Wraith, so let's call it a three-way tie between the matte-finished, open-grained wood panels on
the doors, which look like gargantuan bolts of the most expensive pinstriped fabric you've ever not had a custom suit made out of; the sporty forward-cant
of the Spirit ofEcstasy, which leans into the wind an extra five degrees when compared with her more staid iterations on the less aggressive Rollses; and
the celestial-mimicking, 1340 fiber-optic pin-spotted "Starlight Headliner," even if it wasn't properly configured to reflect the precise astral alignment
at my moment of birth (I'm sure Rolls can bespoke this arrangement).
The Wraith's fastback profile looks fantastic, and I sort of understand why Rolls didn't go with a hatchback—one could consider it a bit too Tercel, if one
had never seen the back end of a Rapide. But this choice renders the trunk opening, and its concomitant cut-line, a bit rhomboid. Also, some of the chrome
inside is actually chrome-look plastic, which seems sacrilegious. And I couldn't tell when the sat-nav tranny action was kicking in, but, then again, Rolls
transmissions are supposed to be unobtrusive.
All Rolls-Royces have presence; this is the raison d'être of the brand. But while cars like the Phantom Coupé are beloved for their fantastic audacity,
sometimes you may not want … quite so much presence. (We're not sure when.) To claim that the Wraith is understated would be a profoundoverstatement. But
it's more laid back—both figuratively and literally—than any of the other cars in Rolls' current stable. Add in exquisite details, that distinctive shape,
and more thrust than a Space X Falcon rocket, and you create a unique proposition for the brand, which we imagine those highly sought-after "younger"
buyers that can afford its $300,000+ price will find irresistible.
- Powertrains: : 6.6 liter, twin-turbocharged V-12: 624 hp./590 ft. lb.
- Fuel Economy:: 13 m.p.g. city/21 m.p.g. highway/15 m.p.g. combined