Sportier than the Ghost sedan on which it's based, the 2014 Rolls-Royce Wraith delivers astonishing power, presence and incomparable luxury in a hulking grand touring package.
Swift acceleration; more handling ability than any Rolls before it; lush and silent cabin; the exclusivity that only a Rolls-Royce can provide.
Exclusive price; small trunk space relative to its size.
The 2014 Rolls-Royce Wraith is an all-new model.
Rolls-Royce says the new 2014 Rolls-Royce Wraith coupe embodies the speedy, adventurous spirit of the brand's forefather, gentleman racer and rich guy Charles Stewart Rolls. It revives a nameplate last seen in 1938 and becomes the most powerful Rolls model to date. And with more than 600 horsepower and a striking fastback design, the Wraith shows the ultraluxury British automaker turning its gaze down a more sporting path.
It's an unconventional direction from the stately British automaker, but not without calculation. Rolls-Royce has largely watched from the side as former brandmate Bentley wins the hearts of New Money with the Continental. It also sees Audi and Mercedes-Benz encroaching on its rarefied ground. A Rolls-Royce still has no real competition, but the bosses at BMW still want some insurance on their bets.
The word "wraith" means apparition or specter, an appropriate choice for this shorter, two-door version of the Ghost sedan. The Wraith, like the Ghost, uses platform architecture based on the BMW 7 Series. But with a 7-inch shorter wheelbase than the Ghost, the Wraith actually changes direction with more acuity than a traditional Rolls-Royce. Even the steering and suspension have been given a quasi-performance tuning.
At 17 feet long, 6.5 feet wide and weighing 5,200 pounds, however, the Wraith isn't a sports car by any stretch. But it is composed and reasonably accurate when asked to make quick movements. Bringing that mass up to speed falls to a twin-turbocharged 6.6-liter V12 generating 624 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque, the latter unleashed as early as 1,500 rpm. Rolls-Royce claims zero to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds.
The 12-cylinder engine joins an eight-speed automatic transmission offering a "Satellite Aided Transmission" feature. Using GPS to scan the road ahead, the transmission can automatically select the best gear for the conditions ahead, whether an open highway or dense urban intersection.
Other Wraith features will include adaptive headlights, signature rear-hinged doors, keyless trunk opening, a head-up display, voice-command navigation and a rotary controller for on-screen commands. There's also a pinch-and-pull touchpad similar to a smartphone for inputting letters or phonetic characters, thus bypassing the need to scroll through multiple screens of character combinations.
Finally, there's the optional Starlight Headliner. In case you can't pull the stars close enough to you inside the cabin, this bespoke option -- previously available only on Phantom models -- hand-weaves 1,340 tiny fiber-optic lamps into the headliner to simulate a starry night sky.
In Europe, customers take delivery of the first 2014 Rolls-Royce Wraith models late this year for the equivalent of about $320,000. Neither pricing nor availability for North America has been announced, but expect the Wraith to debut in the U.S. late next summer as a 2014 model. Check back for more info on the Rolls-Royce Wraith, including specs, driving impressions and buying advice as it becomes available.
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