Review: Rolls-Royce Wraith

By Brandon Turkus

March 05, 2013

This is the Master Landing Page for the Rolls-Royce Wraith. From now on, as we further review this car, we will be updating this page with whatever fresh content we create. Future drive reviews, updated specifications, videos, and other relevant information will all be found right here, in one convenient spot.
Geneva is turning out to be a weird show this year. First, we a Ferrari named after itself, and now we’re getting a sporty Rolls-Royce. What is happening with the world?
This is the Rolls-Royce Wraith, and unlike past Rollers, you’re meant to be behind the wheel, rather than sitting in the back. Sound odd? Well, it is. What isn’t odd, though, are its stats.
624 horsepower from the Wraith’s V-12 allows for more than just adequate acceleration. That power allows the Wraith to waft its way to 60 miles per hour in just 4.4 seconds. That’s three-tenths faster than its platform mate, the Ghost. While the 624 horsepower is dandy, the V-12’s 590 pound-feet of torque, all of which is available from just 1500 rpm needs to be given its due. Off-the-line performance should be like a freight train.
The Wraith marks the first product from the BMW Group to offer a satellite-aided transmission. What that all means is that the eight-speed, ZF automatic integrates with GPS mapping, allowing the car to select the correct gear for the road ahead. This is a feature that we’re quite excited to try out, as it promises a powertrain that can’t really be taken by surprise when being pushed.
The Wraith’s fastback styling is a departure for Rolls-Royce, but we’re rather enjoying it. The clean lines and imposing size combine nicely with the fastback profile, giving the Wraith a look like nothing else on the road. Be sure to let us know what you think down in the comments.
The Rolls-Royce Wraith begin deliveries to well-heeled ladies and gentlemen at the end of 2013. European pricing starts at €245,000 ($319,284 at today’s rates).
Please scroll down for the official press release from Rolls-Royce.
Elegant fastback design hints at dynamic prowess of the most powerful Rolls-Royce ever: 624 bhp/465 kW, 800 Nm from 1,500 rpm : 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds (0-62 in 4.6)
Debut of Satellite Aided Transmission. A technology that uses GPS mapping data to ensure the correct gear is always pre-selected for the road terrain ahead
Voice activated connectivity augments effortlessness – the ‘on-board valet’
Canadel Panelling sweeps through a sumptuous, contemporary and yacht-like interior cabin
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars proudly presents the world debut of Wraith, the most powerful and dynamic Rolls-Royce in history. At its heart lie hallmark Rolls-Royce attributes of luxury, refinement and hand-craftsmanship, but the new model from the world’s pinnacle super-luxury marque also presents a unique character defined by power, style and drama. With just a hint of the noir.
“Today we launch the ultimate gentlemen’s gran turismo, a car that embodies the spirit of Charles Stewart Rolls,” commented Torsten Müller-Ötvös, CEO Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. “The most powerful Rolls-Royce in history, Wraith promises the sense of adventure and speed that drove our founding forefather. But of course, Wraith’s starting point is luxury, refinement and quality, traits that remain as important to Rolls-Royce customers today as they were more than a century ago.”
Rolls-Royce Chairman and BMW Group board member Harald Krüger added the following: “The BMW Group today reconfirms its full commitment to the future of Rolls-Royce. Growth and a prosperous future lie ahead thanks to continued investment, careful brand stewardship and the launch of groundbreaking new models like Rolls-Royce Wraith, a magnificent addition to the product range.”
In profile, Wraith’s sweeping fastback design gives the car its unique character. Bold lines, tension in the panels and a raked rear screen evoke the image of a world class athlete poised in the starting blocks. Further expression of dynamic intent can be seen in Wraith’s deeply recessed grille, wide rear track and dramatic two-tone presentation.
Coach doors open to reveal a sumptuous interior complete with softest Phantom-grade leathers and expanses of wood called Canadel Panelling. Named after the famous cove in the South of France where Sir Henry Royce and his design and engineering teams spent their winters, this contemporary and tactile finish sweeps through the interior, cosseting four occupants in a space bathed in light and warmth.
The interior ambiance is complemented by Starlight Headliner, a Bespoke feature available beyond Phantom family cars for the first time. 1,340 fibre optic lamps are hand-woven into the roof lining to give the impression of a glittering, starry night sky.
Performance delivers on the promise of Wraith’s styling. Power delivery is effortless, but dramatic, thanks to a V12 engine married to 8-speed automatic ZF transmission. 624 bhp / 465kW is available to the driver while the 0-60 mph sprint is achieved in 4.4 seconds, compared with 563 bhp / 420kW and 0-60 in 4.7 seconds for Ghost.
From 1,500 rpm 800 Nm of torque is available (780 Nm for Ghost), while a wide rear track, shorter wheelbase and lower roof height further contribute to the most powerful, involving driving experience of any Rolls-Royce in history. The car’s suspension has also been tuned to minimise body roll and discreetly amplify feedback when cornering; while steering weight is heavier at high speeds and lighter at low speeds adding to the spirited drive.
However, Wraith is no GT bruiser. Agility improvements have been achieved with absolutely no compromise to the sensation of riding on a bed of air. Furthermore, the debut of Satellite Aided Transmission (SAT) technology takes the powertrain to a new level of effortless delivery, one that perfectly suits the Rolls-Royce brand.
Satellite Aided Transmission uses GPS data to see beyond what the driver sees; it anticipates his next move based on location and current driving style, then selects the most appropriate gear for the terrain ahead. Corners, motorway junctions and roundabouts are all anticipated in advance meaning Wraith is constantly poised to deliver on its promise of performance.
A more polished, effortless driving experience and even better response brings a new, more dynamic dimension to the famous Rolls-Royce trait, waftability.
For over a century a Rolls-Royce motor car has featured technologies designed to support occupants discreetly, delivering a peerless driving experience epitomised by the term ‘effortlessness’. In every Rolls-Royce these assist the driver when called upon, but are prepared to return without fuss to the background when no longer required.
Advances in mechanical and electrical technology deliver systems like head-up display, adaptive headlights and Wraith’s keyless opening boot. But improvements in connectivity have taken the human-machine interface to a new level of sophistication, a suite of aids that could be likened to a contemporary on-board valet.
Voice activation commands, for example, come with a one-touch call button located on the steering wheel. A destination no longer requires manual input from a navigation menu and route assistance begins immediately, on-screen and via audio guidance following a voice command such as “navigate to Piccadilly in London.”
Additional improvements in communications come in the design and functionality of the elegant Spirit of Ecstasy Rotary Controller. This allows navigation through on-screen functions using a touch pad that features pinch and pull functionality to echo smart phone usage. Letters can also be ‘drawn’ onto the pad by hand rather than by scrolling through a series of available characters on-screen.
In Europe, Wraith will be priced at c. €245k. Confirmation and further pricing details in all markets will be revealed later in the year.
First deliveries of Wraith will be made to customers in the final quarter of 2013. 
Rolls-Royce Releases Final Wraith Teaser
The new Rolls-Royce Wraith will be a fastback.. While it doesn’t seem like the sort of thing Rolls-Royce would do, the teaser image, an illustrated outline of the car’s profile, is quite interesting to behold. Featuring three key lines, the Wraith’s profile looks far more sporting than anything we’ve seen from the British brand before.
We leave you with the words of Giles Taylor, design director for Rolls-Royce, as he describes the fastback Wraith.
“The purposeful fastback profile is Wraith’s defining element.
Inherent in the graceful line that sweeps from the top of the screen to the very rear edge is the promise of fast, yet effortless touring. Yet, perhaps my favourite aspect is the expressive gesture that comes from the side window graphic, gliding through Wraith’s glamorous coach door.
It works with a strong sense of linear purpose from the shoulder line, which has the promise of potential like the athlete in the starting blocks. In contrast, the line that cuts through the shoulder line is a little more artful and adds that certain air of effortlessness to Wraith’s dynamic statement.
In my view the most successful designs always come down to three or four lines.”
The Wraith will make its official debut at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show.
Rolls-Royce, purveyor of the world’s ultimate luxury land yachts has been teasing its newest car. It’s called the Wraith, a name that harkens back to the pre-war Wraith and post-war Silver Wraith.
For those not familiar with the term Wraith, Rolls-Royce says “it describes an almost imperceptible force, an otherworldly entity that imposes its presence before swiftly returning to the dark.” In terms of the car, Rolls-Royce describes it as, “a nimbler, caliginous foil to Ghost and Phantom’s stately presence.”
So, based on those definitions, we can expect a sportier car than the luxurious Ghost and Phantom. Sounds good to us.