When England’s Vintage Sports-Car Club was founded in Oxfordshire in 1934, it advertised for members in The Light Car magazine with the pointed proviso that “Rolls owners need not apply.” Too old and not sporty enough, you see.
But eight decades later it’s a very different story, with the appearance of Rolls-Royce’s new Wraith, an unabashedly audacious fastback that the 109-year-old company hopes will attract a younger, rather more daring buyer.
Ah ha! That’s me!
Not since the ’30s has the British marque (now owned by BMW) released a car named Wraith, but this latest manifestation was definitely worth waiting for. Unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March, the 17.25-foot-long, 2.3-ton behemoth—complete with coach doors—has the baddest attitude of any model to bear the iconic Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament.
The Wraith may be big, but it’s also quite elegant. And beneath the four-seat coupe’s hood lurks a silken power plant capable of smoothly rocketing the vehicle from standstill to 60 m.p.h. in just 4.4 seconds. But what is really astonishing about the 6.6-liter twin-turbo V-12 engine is not so much its 624 horsepower but the fact that it produces a tractorlike 590 pound-feet of torque from a lowly 1,500 r.p.m.
Decidedly easy on the eyes, the Wraith’s sleek body—vaguely reminiscent of Maserati’s gorgeous A6G/54 Berlinetta of the ’50s—encloses a sumptuous interior clad in hand-stitched leather and the largest wood panels ever used in an automobile. (Rolls-Royce has dubbed the wraparound woodwork Canadel, after the horseshoe-shaped cove in the South of France where firm cofounder Sir Henry Royce built his winter home.)
The roof lining, meanwhile, is studded with more than a thousand fiber-optic nodes, creating dreamy “starlight” that sets the mood while passengers soak up the concert-hall quality of the 1,300-watt, 18-speaker bespoke audio system.
And the Wraith is the first car to utilize Satellite Aided Transmission, a proprietary technology that processes GPS data to anticipate the road ahead and select the correct gear for the situation. In the past, of course, those older, less sporty Rolls owners had another type of accessory to do that sort of thing. It was called a chauffeur.
The Wraith is available now, priced around $325,000. Oh bugger…
Via: Architectual Digest