The Rolls-Royce Wraith coupe has finally been unveiled in Geneva after a tiring tirade of teaser shots (here, here, here and here). It’s an elegant fastback based on the Ghost, and it also happens to be the most powerful and dynamic Rolls-Royce ever with 624 hp. Among Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, that is, not counting Rolls-Royce Plc’s aerospace creations – lest we confuse the two.
Based on the Ghost limo and set to battle Bentley’s Continental GT (albeit from a significantly higher price point, as Rolls-Royces always do) the Wraith juggles hallmark Rolls-Royce attributes of luxury, refinement and hand-craftsmanship with new-found sense of power, style and drama.
Styled as a fastback rather than a traditional coupe, the Wraith holds its own in the looks department. The bold lines and sharply raked rear end evokes a sprinter poised in the starting blocks to visualise its athletic prowess.
The deeply recessed grille, wide rear track with aggressive haunches and the two-tone paint scheme – a standard feature – presents a new age of dynamism for the ultra luxury marque.
There’s enough performance to back up the looks too, the Wraith getting a modified version of the Ghost’s V12 engine with 624 hp and 800 Nm of torque. That’s a healthy increase from the limo’s 571 hp and 780 Nm, making it 0.3 seconds faster to 100 km/h at just 4.6 seconds.
With a shortened wheelbase and suspension tuned to minimise body roll and amplify feedback through corners, the Wraith promises a level of driver involvement beyond that of past Rolls-Royces. The steering wheel is said to weigh up at high speeds to promote spirited driving, which is a large departure from norm for the British brand.
It’s no GT bruiser, however. Rolls-Royce claims to have achieved agility improvements without compromising its famous trait of absolute waftability, the sensation of riding on a bed of air. It just adds a more responsive and dynamic dimension to the company’s much heralded polished and effortless driving experience.
New on the technology front is Satellite Aided Transmission (SAT), a system that uses GPS data to study and anticipate appropriate gearchanges to suit the upcoming road geometry and driving style. Corners, highway junctions and roundabouts are all actively anticipated in advance so the Wraith is constantly poised to react and perform at its best.
Opening the reverse-hinged suicide doors reveal a sumptuous four-seat cabin with enough Phantom-grade leather and timber to make even Marilyn Manson green with envy. The fibre optic Starlight Headliner, available here for the first time outside Rolls’ Phantom-class vehicles, adds a beautiful noir ambience for the privileged to enjoy.
Mechanical and electrical advancements deliver high-tech gadgetries such as head-up display, adaptive headlights, keyless opening boot and a new sophisticated voice-operated human-machine interface that Rolls-Royce likens to a contemporary on-board valet. The iDrive-like Spirit of Ecstasy Rotary Controller now allows pinch and pull functionality through a touch pad, as well as handwriting recognition to aid on-screen navigation.
The Rolls-Royce Wraith starts at a hefty €245,000 (as near as makes no difference one million Ringgit) in Europe, and first deliveries are scheduled to commence in the final quarter of this year.