What is it?
The new Rolls-Royce Wraith, essentially a coupe version of the Ghost saloon and a baby brother, relatively speaking, to the Phantom Coupe. Its maker describes the Wraith as ‘the evil Rolls-Royce’, probably thanks to how much more powerful it is not only than the regular Ghost, but every other production Rolls ever made. Prices start at a chunky £237,111.
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Based on the underpinnings of the Ghost, the Wraith basically uses the same running gear but has been usefully enhanced in almost all areas. The direct-injection 6.6-litre twin-turbo V12 gets a significant power increase for starters, thanks to extra boost and revised mapping. Power now peaks at 624bhp at 5600rpm (up 59bhp on the Ghost) and there’s a monstrous 590lb ft of torque available from a mere 1500rpm (up 15lb ft).
Other changes on the Wraith include a marginally quicker steering rack (now three turns lock-to-lock rather than the 3.2 of the Ghost), increased roll control thanks to tweaked anti-roll technology, revised spring and damper settings for the air suspension, a 24mm wider rear track for greater cornering stability, and extra strengthening for the under-body to compensate for the lack of a B-pillar. The result of all this fettling is that the Wraith is easily the quickest Rolls-Royce ever put into production, with a claimed 0-60 time of 4.4sec and a top speed electronically limited to 155mph.
What’s it like to drive?
The ride is pillowy-soft. Speed bumps and hollows in the road simply disappear beneath the standard-fit 20in wheels (21s are optional), and such is the effortlessness with which the Wraith negotiates urban streets and so silent is it inside the cabin, it would be easy to mistake the Wraith for being electrically, rather than conventionally powered.
Pin the throttle and the Wraith does its party trick of dropping several gears in one go and flinging 2360kg of wooden and leathery goodness at the horizon. As the Wraith relentlessly gathers speed, a hard-edged snarl fills the cabin - hardly a familiar sound to previous Rolls owners, but then no other Rolls has ever offered its owners well in excess of 600bhp.
Turning off the motorway and onto the sinuous side roads reveals another neat trick - how that pillowy-soft ride doesn’t translate into wallow if you decide you want to press on. Body roll is brilliantly suppressed by the active anti-roll technology, allowing the electronically controlled dampers to remain as soft as possible to keep the ride quality in check. The odd thud and shudder does come through into the cabin, but then those giant wheels equipped with run-flat tyres can’t be helping the ride quality one iota. Nonetheless, the Wraith has excellent chassis control overall.
But while the Wraith is a brilliant car in many ways, but what it isn’t is an engaging drivers’ car. It’s more of an effortless GT designed to teach the odd boy-racer a basic lesson in physics by demonstrating the effect 624bhp has on accelerating a large object along any given stretch of tarmac. How does it compare?
An obvious Wraith rival would appear to be Bentley’s 616bhp Continental GT Speed but with a starting price of a ‘mere’ £151,100, the Conti Speed operates at a far less rarefied level to the elitist Wraith. A direct competitor is hard to find, though on performance terms perhaps the S63 AMG version of the new Mercedes S-class coupe will come close, while for badge kudos, the £227,107, 651bhp and four-seat/four-wheel-drive Ferrari FF could be seen as an unconventional rival.
Anything else I need to know?
There’s a full first drive of the new Rolls-Royce Wraith in issue 189 of evo, on sale Wednesday 9 October.
|Engine||V12, 6592cc, twin-turbo|
|Max power||624bhp @ 5600rpm|
|Max torque||590lb ft @ 1500-5500rpm|
|Top speed||155mph (limited)|