Al­ways Per­fect The First Time

Ben Oliver gets into the driv­ing seat of Wraith for a world exclusive drive.

Pinnacle (Singapore) - - AURA -

A decade ago, I ar­rived at Rolls-Royce’s new home at Good­wood to col­lect the very first Phan­tom re­leased for test­ing.

And all it took was a hun­dred me­tres be­fore I reached a ver­dict for the UK’s century-old Au­to­car mag­a­zine – that Phan­tom was “a real Rolls-Royce, and right the first time.”

The re­lease of a new Rolls-Royce mo­tor car is not a fre­quent oc­cur­rence, but my re­ac­tion has been the same for ev­ery new model that has rolled out from the mar­que’s head­quar­ters in the Sus­sex Downs. Each has shown deep en­gi­neer­ing in­tegrity as well as beauty and orig­i­nal­ity in styling.The qual­ity of ma­te­ri­als and con­struc­tion goes be­yond the au­to­mo­tive and is bet­ter com­pared with the finest fur­ni­ture the world has to of­fer. I’m sorry if I’m giv­ing the game away too soon, but the new Wraith is no ex­cep­tion. It, too, is ex­cep­tional. It is, how­ever, also a Rolls-Royce un­like its pre­de­ces­sors.The 624bhp twin-tur­bocharged V12 en­gine is the mar­que’s most pow­er­ful ever. Wraith also fea­tures in­trigu­ing new tech­nol­ogy, chiefly the satel­lite-aided eight-speed trans­mis­sion that knows when the car is ap­proach­ing a

cor­ner and will hold a lower gear, ready­ing it for ac­cel­er­a­tion as you exit the bend.

This driv­e­train, in­stalled in Wraith’s gor­geous two-door fast­back body, plainly in­di­cates that this is a more dy­namic car than its sta­ble­mates. But Rolls-Royce’s en­gi­neers have an aver­sion to the term “sporty”, and be­fore I took Wraith out on the road I won­dered how they would re­solve the seem­ing in­com­pat­i­bil­ity of their goals: pro­duc­ing a more dy­namic chas­sis and also pre­serv­ing the brand’s hall­mark re­fine­ment to give its cus­tomers the per­fect “magic car­pet ride”.

I needn’t have wor­ried. Wraith is ti­tan­i­cally fast when you need it to be. With the steer­ing just a frac­tion crisper to suit, and the ride just a hint more taut, it com­mu­ni­cates just a shade more of the sur­face be­neath, with­out break­ing that fab­u­lous, al­most-eerie “spell” of grace that only a Rolls-Royce can cast.

It is per­fectly judged. And the great­est achieve­ment of the satel­lite-aided trans­mis­sion is that you barely no­tice it at work – you will sim­ply get a sense of the car be­ing smarter, more co­op­er­a­tive, and bet­ter-pre­pared for your next in­struc­tion. In a Rolls-Royce, tech­nol­ogy should be ef­fec­tive but not ap­par­ent, and that is cer tainly the case here.

And so there is noth­ing to dis­tract you from en­joy­ing an­other ex­tra­or­di­nary Rolls-Royce cabin, the high­light here be­ing the vast, stun­ning one-piece Canadel door ve­neers.The ex­tra power may have you ar­riv­ing at your des­ti­na­tion ear­lier, but it also means you get to open the coach doors sooner to ad­mire the strik­ing ex­te­rior once more.The car cer­tainly makes good on the prom­ise of that deeply re­cessed Pan­theon grille and flow­ing, pil­lar­less side-glass.

I was lucky enough to see Wraith prior to its launch at the Geneva Mo­tor Show. Speak­ing to Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös, he ex­plained that the car has no nat­u­ral ri­vals – it is unique in the mar­ket­place, dif­fer­ent enough that loyal cus­tomers will not hes­i­tate to add Wraith to their cur­rent sta­bles of Rolls-Royce cars.

And that is ex­actly what he and his team at Good­wood have pro­duced – a car that has achieved the per­fect bal­ance be­tween dy­namism and all the de­fin­i­tive traits of the mar­que. Just as I de­scribed Phan­tom ten years ago, Wraith is a real Rolls-Royce. And once again, right the first time.

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01-02 Guests learn about Wraith from Global Di­rec­tor of Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Richard Carter. 03 High tech car keys for a tech­no­log­i­cally ad­vanced ve­hi­cle. Wraith has a satel­lite-aided eight-speed trans­mis­sion sys­tem that en­sures max­i­mum per­for­mance on the road. 04 Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös speaks to guests at the event. 05-09 Guests spend an event­ful day learn­ing about the in­te­rior de­tail­ing of Rolls-Royce’s most pow­er­ful car to date.

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10 Wraith speeds down a bend. It takes just 4.6 sec­onds to ac­cel­er­ate from 0-100km/h.

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