Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, a brand that is known for unparalleled luxury has recently unveiled the 2013 Wraith. The Wraith is the newest coupe to their fleet of cars. I had the great pleasure of experiencing this impressive beast of a car first hand while in Scottsdale, Arizona. So let’s start with the basics of the brand and the car.
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of BMW AG established in 1998 after BMW licensed the rights to the Rolls-Royce brand name and logo from Vickers PLC and the acquired the rights to the Spirit of Ecstasy and Rolls-Royce grill shape trademarks from Volkswagen AG. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Limited operates from purpose built administrative and production facilities opened in 2003 across from the historic Goodwood Circuit in Goodwood, West Sussex, England, United Kingdom. (Wiki)
1998 – BMW acquired Rolls-Royce
2003 – The Phantom
2006 – The Phantom Extended Wheel Base
2007 – Rolls-Royce Drophead Coupe (First convertible)
2009 – The Ghost
2011 -The Ghost Extended Wheel Base
2012 – The Phantom Series II (Sells about 1,000 per year)
2013 – The Wraith
Priced at $367,875, the hand made Wraith comes with several punches. In its design, Rolls-Royce Wraith presents a masterpiece of elegant simplicity, exuding poise and the promise of dynamism. There is a sense that this car is ready to move with purpose on its driver’s command. The Wraith has a shorter wheelbase, wider rear track, 624 bhp / 465kW derived from the twin turbo V12 and a 0-60mph time of 4.4 seconds (0-100kph, 4.6 seconds) give expression to the car’s dynamic looks. But don’t get the car confused, it is not considered a sports car. It is all luxury, but with speed.
Remember shows like the Jetson when cars could fly and drive themselves? Well, the Wraith comes close to the automatic driving part. Wraith debuts the most intelligent drive train ever to feature in a Rolls-Royce, including the application of ground-breaking technologies like Satellite Aided Transmission (SAT). This processes GPS data to predict the driver’s next move and automatically select the right gear for the road ahead. Unnecessary gear changes are thus avoided, augmenting the famous Rolls-Royce trait of waftability and ensuring Wraith is constantly poised to deliver on its dynamic promise.
Wraith is designed in a two box fastback fashion, which separates it from the other cars in the fleet. The linear formality of the waist line gently dips to the rear providing a sense of stability and effortless poise. This combines with the expressive gesture of the window graphic that sweeps downwards to the coachdoor swage line and gives expression to that essential Rolls-Royce trait of waftability.
The origins of fastback design lie in the streamlined design era of the 1930s. Initially popular in America, the word fastback soon came to define the spirit of adventure and dynamism that epitomized early and mid 20th century European sporting and GT cars.
Keeping the tradition, the Spirit of Ecstasy adorns the grille (which echoes aircrafts because of the beveled design for air flow) of the car. Celebrating her 102nd birthday, the flying lady stands as a genuine icon, not only on the grille, but is now also reproduced within Wraith’s cabin, gently rotating on-screen when the engine is started. It is also depicted within the crystal glass surface of the new rotary controller.
Three new wheels have also been designed to fit like a tailored shoe. Confident yet understated, these include a standard 20” seven spoke design along with optional 21” seven spoke part polished and 21” five-spoke part-polished, bi-color choices. As the Wraith glides down the street and the tires rotating, the ‘double R’s’ remains at a constant position.
The details of Wraith is one of the biggest design elements, such as the stainless steel door handles that conceal barrel locks.
The interior of the car is like a piece of art, as it should be. Stepping in to the car you can’t help but to notice all of the great work that went into the design of the car. For example, I’ve never seen a car that had floor carpet as plush as the Wraith. On the inside of the door is Canadel Panelling, a beautiful open grain wood. So you may say, big whoop, most luxury cars have wood paneling. But trust me, they are not the same. The Wraith has the largest piece of wood paneling than any car.
The dynamic theme of the interior is reinforced when viewed from the driver’s seat. Black chrome dials are framed by a black horseshoe sweep. Blood orange tips to gauge indicators pay homage to the marque’s aviation heritage whilst the steering-wheel is thicker rimmed to build dynamic intent. Touches like the chrome bullet tips to recessed piping on the seat panels further enhances the sense of a vehicle tailored for performance.
One key feature in the interior that is pretty badass is the Starlight Headliner. The Starlight Headliner presents a starry night sky within the cabin, an effect that is achieved with 1,340 individual fiber optic lights hand-woven into the leather roof-lining by craftspeople in the Rolls-Royce leather shop. In fact, the starry night is the exact sky on the night of January 1, 2003, when the Phantom was launched.
Something that I’ve always loved about Rolls-Royce is the hidden umbrella, which can be found in the door frame.
Picture this, a scenic drive around the mountains in Arizona on a nice sunny day in a 300k luxury car. You can imagine all of the looks I received while riding through the small towns. Getting used to the car was fairly quick. The Satellite Aided Transmission coupled with the window display really made the trip quite pleasurable, not to mention the speed. The window display featured the current speed limit, the mph and the navigation directions. In addition to the window display navigation, the car features a voice activated navigation system. Basically, I never had to take my eye off the road. Now back to speed, the car has some get up and go! A simple tap on the accelerator can have the car over 60mph almost instantly. This is a good thing and bad thing. Good thing because you can get top speeds quite quickly, bad because you can get to that top speed and not even be aware because it feels like you are only driving 50 mpg…true story. Also to note, if you are ever in the little town of Miami…SLOW DOWN!
Approaching bends in the road were not a challenge. The car hugged the road, which means you can hit those turns without slowing down and still feel completely safe.
The experience was beyond anything I could have imagined for my 24-hour stay in Arizona with the Rolls-Royce team. During my stay in Scottsdale, I occupied a suite at the Canyon Suites at the Phoenician (click the link for my review). The Wraith is for a new type of Rolls-Royce customer. The customer who doesn’t want to be chauffeured, but to experience the drive first hand. Sitting in the driver seat of the Rolls-Royce Wraith was exhilarating. Pulling up to a stop light garnered instant recognition. There were several times when I would notice that I was being filmed by someone in a car next to me. At one moment, a biker flipped me off. Not quite sure, but I’m sure it had to do with me being in a $367,000 luxury car, while he was on an old beat up Yamaha (no offense to Yamaha). The owner and driver of the Wraith must have confidence because the car will draw a lot of attention. So be ready to talk about your beauty, because many people will ask about it. Some people may be able to afford the Rolls-Royce Wraith, but won’t because of what people may think — Why did he buy a $300k car? It’s called permission to own. The Wraith is not your average, but most owners of these cars are not average people.
Here at LuxuriousPROTOTYPE, we are believers of non-conformity. We believe that as a LUXE gentleman one must create the lifestyle he wants. Work for it and enjoy life. After spending some time with the Executives at Rolls-Royce, I believe this is what Rolls-Royce stands for as well, especially with the launch of the Wraith. Simply put, they are setting the standard for other luxury cars — with attitude. Owning a Rolls-Royce is not just buying a car, it is an investment. It’s a lifestyle.