Geneva 2013: Rolls-Royce Wraith
It isn’t every day (or even every year) that a new Rolls-Royce model makes its debut. But yesterday at Geneva, Rolls-Royce showed its new Wraith, which is basically a coupe variant of its “entry-level” Ghost sedan, but with a completely new body and interior. Billed as the most sporting Rolls-Royce production car ever, it packs quite a bit of luxury and performance into its footprint. You can be the judge regarding the car’s looks.
You may be wondering about the name. I certainly did until I looked it up. A wraith is “the exact likeness of a living person seen usually just before death as an apparition,” according to to Merriam Webster. So, don’t confuse it with ‘wrath’ – the Wraith has no wrath. And of course, knowing what a wraith is, the name makes more sense in Rolls’ supernatural lineup, joining a Phantom and Ghost. Wraith is not a new apparition in the Rolls-Royce lineup; the name was last used in 1938, though.
Presumably designed to compete against Bentley’s recently-revised Continental GT, the Wraith is actually in a completely different universe price-wise, with a starting price about $100,000 USD more than the Continental, the Roller is most certainly its own car. And, it’s probably catering to a different kind of buyer. Yet it’s hard not to notice that the rear half of the car looks more like a Bentley than a Rolls-Royce.
More than just a two door Ghost, the Wraith brings some very interesting features to the table. Chief among these is a GPS-enabled transmission. The ZF 8-speed transmission is “Satellite aided,” which means that based on the car’s direction and GPS coordinates, the transmission can pre-select the right gear for the portion of road being traveled on, as well as the next portion you’ll be driving on.
Connected to that ZF 8-speed transmission is a buttery-smooth 6.6 liter V12 that produces an impressive 624 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque. The combination will propel the large car to sixty miles per hour in 4.4 seconds from a stop. Suspension tuning has been described as “lumbering,” but it will minimize body roll to a greater degree than other models in the R-R lineup will.
Aside from the exterior, which has a softly-shaped greenhouse affixed to a design that could best be called “imposing,” what really makes this car a true Rolls-Royce is its luxurious interior, where no expense has been spared. (And arguably, it’s a big reason why Rolls-Royce can get away with charging $100,000 more for this car than Bentley charges for its “entry level” coupe). The Wraith features “Phanto-grade” leather seats, and the soft-touch headliner has 1,340 fiber-optic light points to replicate a star field (while replicating the headliner of the big-daddy Phantom). The latest infotainment technology has been added, as has a sophisticated voice-command system.
Expect the Wraith to start at around $300,000 USD when it hits dealers later this year. The Wraith will certainly expand Rolls-Royce sales volumes further, but it’s also taking away a bit more of the exclusivity that the brand enjoys, perhaps bringing it closer to the prestige of its rival from Crewe sporting the flying B logos.