Yesterday I caught a cold. I’m the kind of person who very rarely gets sick or makes a fuss about this kind of thing, but I blame public transport. For the past three weeks I’ve been bumbling about in dreary disease ridden trains just about every day. It really is a terrible form of transport that’s littered with bad things such as disease – obviously -, comfortlessness, bad smells and generally bad people, quite the opposite of a Rolls Royce.
I can’t imagine ever catching a disease from sitting in the luxurious comfort of a Rolls Royce because the vast quantities of expensive leather and tree would distract me from the unpleasantness of sickness and make me feel better again.
Rolls Royce’s new model, the Wraith, is no different. Its insides are bathed in more luxury than a Middle Eastern palace. Only the finest cows were used to create the warm, inviting interior, and the same goes for the handcrafted Canadel Paneling wood interior trim, it all gives a real sense that the Wraith is something truly bespoke and special. There’s even an elegant ‘Wraith’ clock recessed into the dashboard. Similarly, look up towards the roof and you’re greeted by 1340 fiber optic lamps which give the impression of a starry night sky, this feature is normally only available in the Phantom.
The attention to detail is truly staggering, even the chrome air conditioning vents look as though they’ve had as much thought put into them as some compact city cars. What’s more, the suicide doors alone probably weigh about the same as a Smart Car, check out the huge slabs of beautiful handcrafted wood inlayed in the door panels.
But the Wraith is something new from Rolls Royce, it promises to be… sporty. Which means that every once in a while it should shrug off the whole quiet and comfortable yacht club cruiser persona and instead add in some noir and put its hand down the front of your trousers and have a bit of a rummage. It should feel eager to get going, the exhausts should sing beautiful V12 noise and the driver should -as a result – feel a rather smug grin forming.
The Wraith is the most powerful and dynamic production car Rolls have ever built. Beneath that long menacing bonnet lives a frankly enormous 6.6 liter twin turbo V12 engine developing 624hp and 590lb ft of torque. That’s enough power to send the Wraiths 2360kg curb weight to 60mph in just 4.4 seconds and onto an electronically limited top speed of 155mph. That power plant is connected to a smooth satellite aided ZF eight speed automatic gearbox that uses the satnav system to scan the terrain ahead and determine the most suitable gear, so if for example you’re coming up to a hair pin, the gearbox will kick down into first or second gear to ensure you’re punched out the other side suitably with all the brute force you’d expect from something packing over 600 horsepower.
The Wraith is based on the same chassis as the Ghost sedan, however this new car has a wider track, shorter overall wheelbase and lower ride height for improved vehicle dynamics. This also gives it a more purposeful stance, which apparently hints at the Wraiths ‘athletic prowess and powerful intent’ – blimey.
The suspension has also been tuned to give more feedback and feel through the slightly thicker steering wheel rim and provide a more sporting feel. Yet by using adaptive dampers we’re ensured that the signature Rolls Royce ‘magic carpet’ ride quality hasn’t been sacrificed, so it should still maintain effortless waftability with everything set to ‘comfort’ – it is a Rolls Royce after all.
While this is all impressive stuff, for me it’s the exterior styling that really does it.
The Wraith has huge presence. The pillarless window frames, that sloping ‘fastback’ style rear end, and the sheer vastness of the thing just make it look superb and like a proper ‘gentleman’s gran turismo’. Its got a good name, too, which – when said in a deep devilish voice – sounds evil, sinister and cool. Quite evidently they’ve got an effective naming department at Rolls Royce – unlike some companies… *Cough Ferrari *Cough.
Unfortunately, however there is a problem. You see, Rolls Royce is targeting a younger audience with the Wraith, but at £212k we’re not really sure what kind of ‘younger audience’ exactly. Perhaps they’re targeting 60 year olds instead of 70 year olds? Or maybe sprightlier elderly gentleman? Because at that price it seems as though actual younger people – like myself – will be saving their pennies and taking the train for a little while longer.
By Aiden Taylor ( @AidenT_RD )