Spirit of progress
Rolls summons the Ghost in its supernatural Wraith
a satellite-linked system that preselects the right gear for safe cornering.
It is priced from ($318,000) in Europe with deliveries in the second half of the year, but that price is likely to blow out to more than $700,000 in Australia in 2014 judging by the $645,000 sticker for the Ghost model used as the base for the Wraith.
The Wraith has genuine movie-star looks— most likely in the next Batman flick— and plenty of new-age technology, but Rolls-Royce is clear on its clients. And it’s not being remotely politically correct.
‘‘ Today we launch the ultimate gentlemen’s gran turismo,’’ says Torsten Muller- Otvos, chief executive of RollsRoyce Motor Cars. ‘‘ Wraith promises the sense of adventure and speed that drove our founding forefather.’’
So, not even the slightest nod to the potential for female sales.
But the Wraith— a name plucked from the history books for a 21st century comeback— is clearly aimed at the world’s ultra-wealthy car buyers, who might be shopping it against a new Bentley, or a new helicopter or the sort of holiday that would be a ridiculous dream in suburban Australia. And Rolls-Royce believes almost all of them will be men.
Plenty of women drive Phantoms, and there will be females who crave a Wraith, but it’s a very masculine car. That includes the chunky body and a cabin that’s predictably slapped with upscale wood and leather.
But the real focus is on performance, with 800Nm of torque on tap, sporty-ish suspension settings and an eight-speed automatic.
Rolls-Royce clearly believes it can compete against Bentley’s latest super-quick coupes, but says it has not sacrificed luxury. ‘‘ Wraith is no GT bruiser. Agility improvements have been achieved with absolutely no compromise to the sensation of riding on a bed of air,’’ Muller-Otvos says.
Away from the engine room, equipment in the Wraith is predictably sumptuous and— thanks to tapping German technology from itsBMW owners— Rolls-Royce has added everything from a headsup instrument display to adaptive headlights and far more user-friendly connectivity.
There is a final signature item common to the Phantom Coupe and convertible, the suicide front doors that RollsRoyce describes— in another old-school nod— as coach doors, a term that comes from the days when horses and not horsepower ruled the road.