DRIVEN: Rolls-Royce Wraith Review
Following a 5 day test drive of the Rolls-Royce Wraith, here is a full review of the car.
What’s the Rolls-Royce Wraith all about?
Aimed at a younger market than the 4 door Phantom or Ghost, the Wraith is Rolls-Royce’s 2 door coupé. As well as appealing to the younger generation, the Wraith is also the most technologically advanced and the most powerful Rolls-Royce ever built. So if you’ve always fancied a Rolls-Royce, this could be the one to send you over the edge!
The Wraith is fully kitted out with extreme luxuries including gentle massaging seats, a Starlight fibre optic headliner, and 5 on-board cameras. Many manufactures claim to challenge Rolls-Royce in luxury and refinement, but after experiencing it first-hand I haven’t seen anything that even comes close.
The exterior design of the Wraith is very Rolls-Royce-esque at the front, with its classic grill and similar headlights to the Ghost, but at the back it is something that we have never seen before. That long sloping coupe back with a large rear window doesn’t really look like anything else on the road, and I was unsure the car would look balanced at first, but that rear really grows on you. I think it is quite an interesting design. My personal favourite design aspect at the rear is the large twin exhaust pipes, which are nicely integrated into the lower bumper.
That gorgeous body houses a 6.6 litre turbocharged V12 which puts out 624bhp via an 8 speed ZF automatic gearbox. All that power combined with the fast ZF gearbox means that the Wraith is capable of doing 0-60mph in a mind blowing 4.4 seconds, and will whiz up to its electrically limited speed of 155mph in no time.
How does it drive?
No matter how good a car looks and feels, it’s not much good unless the driving experience is impressive. I’m very happy to say that the Wraith more than exceeded my hopes when it came to the putting the wheels in motion. It provides the perfect driving experience.
The get in and go procedure is dead simple, seat belt on, hit the start button, use the steering column mounted gear selector to put it in drive, and off you go. It’s the part that happens next that gets me; the car goes from being static to moving in one extremely smooth motion. This sensation is so smooth that you can only really tell you are moving by looking out of the windows. This Rolls-Royce experience is legendary and really has to be experienced to be fully understood. And the impact of perfectly engineering the starting process of any journey should not be underestimated; it creates exceptional value to the driver perception within seconds of driving the car.
Once you’re off and moving there are two options for what happens from here. The car’s natural persona and dynamics leave you feeling very peaceful and relaxed, translating this into driving terms means that you naturally roll around at 30-40mph enjoying the beautifully smooth ride. The sense of tranquillity inside the car is beyond measure, you find that you are actually listening for noises and imperfections trying to fault the market leading refinement standards set by Roll-Royce, but the cabin is so quiet, it is very difficult to fault it.
The second option for driving the Wraith is taking advantage of the performance engineering. With two hands on the wheel, and an ambitious right foot, the Wraith has some serious power to unleash and when you feel like it, you can really enjoy the Rolls-Royce Wraith as a proper GT car. The 624bhp V12 with 800Nm of torque will push the 2,360kg car off into the horizon with no forgiveness. The straight line power in the car is immense and the experience of extreme refinement and luxury, mixed with instant, brutal speed really takes a bit of getting used to, I don’t believe the two have ever been so close together.
What’s it like inside?
You could discuss the inside of a Rolls-Royce for hours without covering every feature or option, so to summarise; the inside of the Rolls-Royce Wraith is heavily populated with technology and is a masterpiece of fine materials and precision manufacturing.
Opening up those coach doors gives you your first glance of the high spec interior. As your eyes are dazed with luxury, your nose is also equally stimulated by the smell of the finest cuts of hide that dress those road going thrones and dashboard. It’s clear before setting one foot inside that the Wraith takes control of the body’s senses, but the moment you do get inside you come into contact with the softest carpets, the famous Rolls-Royce lamb’s wool car mats. These mats are literally an inch thick and from my time with the car they didn’t fail to impress anybody.
The car on test was kitted out with the finest grade Canadel panelling on the centre console and door panels. The wood was smooth to the touch and helped give a warm and comforting feeling to the interior design. Up top, on the dash, was a black piano gloss finish that swept the width of the cabin and brought a finer touch of class to the interior.
One of my favourite features of this £231,480 masterpiece was the Starlight headliner, which when someone describes it to you does sound like a bit of a gimmick, but to experience it in first person, at night, really changed my mind. The Starlight roof is made up of 1,340 fibre optics woven into the fabric of the roof. There are two things that impressed me about this setup, one was the quality of light and how it gently lit the cabin at night, and the other was the ambience that it created inside the car, it is certainly a unique feature that Rolls-Royce have perfected.
The technology in the car is highly impressive; the faultlessly loud sound system, adaptive cruise control, and satellite navigation system to name but a few of the features. There were also a few features that I had never considered I needed, and now I don’t want to live without, including the button you can press to electrically close both the driver and passenger doors, the bird’s eye view camera that really made the car manageable around town, and one of the biggest winners for me was the night vision system. This system will detect people and animals in front of the car way before you can see them in your headlights. The Rolls-Royce will actually track the position of the people it detects and will alert the driver, via the head up display, if the people are either in the road or are likely to be crossing your path. This is very innovative technology, but only after using it for a while did I really discover the value in it.
The Wraith certainly delivers the full Rolls-Royce experience, and now, certainly in my opinion, it is in the best packaging it has ever had.
The modern looks of the muscle coupe and its ground breaking refinement and performance create a car that stands out head and shoulders above the competition.
For those people that look at owning a Rolls-Royce, there are two important factors to consider; one is how the car makes you feel, and driving the Wraith makes you feel truly fulfilled and as if you can’t be challenged by anyone. The second factor is what statement the car makes about you, and quite simply owning a Rolls-Royce shows that you don’t settle for second best.
This modern coupe design brings Rolls-Royce into a new arena where they can do nothing else but succeed. The Rolls-Royce Wraith is yet another chapter of brilliance from the British manufacturer; I believe the Wraith will go on to be a legacy of engineering in motoring history.
- Price: £231,480
- Engine: 6.6-Litre V12 Turbocharged
- Power: 624bhp
- Torque: 800Nm
- Transmission: 8 Speed ZF automatic satellite aided
- 0-62mph: 4.4 Seconds
- Top speed: 155mph limited
- Weight: 2,360kg
- Economy combined: 14mpg
- CO2: 327 g/km
Author: Paul Hadley