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While it may be a little grandiose of Rolls-Royce to say its new Wraith coupe, unveiled at the 83rd Geneva Motor Show, was inspired by a period of design the likes of which will never be seen again (the 1930s), there’s no question that the rakish, fastback body style is one of the most interesting cars to emerge from the company’s West Sussex doors in quite some time. The majority of the Wraith looks much as you’d expect from a two-door take on the Ghost sedan. The coupe shares many of the Ghost’s style points, with only minor revisions such as a recessed grille and new front air dam. But for those familiar with Rolls’ Phantom coupe, such an aggressive roofline may come as a surprise – a pleasant one. While it’s no Jonckheere Aerodynamic Coupe, aka “Round Door Rolls” (Google it, kids), the Wraith does its best to bring back some of the emotion, elegance, and imposing presence that many of the most famous models of Rolls’ past possessed.
Though technically based on the chassis of the “entry-level” Ghost, the Wraith’s specs have been worked over quite a bit. With a 7.2-inch shorter wheelbase, 0.9-inch wider rear track, and increased power over the Ghost, the Wraith is designed to be a grand tourer that hints at more driver involvement, but not at the sacrifice of luxury and isolation. The familiar BMW-designed 6.6-liter, twin-turbo V-12 has been massaged to 624 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque – significant increases over Ghost – while the 8-speed ZF automatic transmission remains. The 0-60 mph sprint is said to be over in 4.6 seconds and the electronically limited top speed is a frankly disappointing 155 mph. Rolls puts curb weight at just 5200 pounds, a figure that sounds extremely optimistic given a similar weight for the much smaller Bentley Continental GT and a Ghost curb weight of well above 6000 pounds.
Three new wheel designs are being rolled out for the Wraith (20-inch alloys come standard), and the side windows are B-pillarless to create a completely open space when both front and rear windows are down. Even the Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament sits at a different position and angle on the front grille. Inside the Wraith, RR promises “Phantom-grade” materials, including what will likely be several cows’ worth of leather and the option of something the brand calls Canadel Panelling on the doors and other surfaces. (Plainly put, it’s specially treated wood veneer.) Rolls will also offer its Starlight headliner in the Wraith, previously a Phantom exclusive option that places small fiber-optic lights in the roof upholstery to simulate a starlit sky. The Wraith’s steering wheel is thicker than the Ghost’s, a nod at its sportier specifications, and Art Deco-inspired interior illumination is in keeping with the 1930s exterior design theme.
More than just a style icon, the Wraith is a showcase for Rolls’ very latest technology, which ranges from OMG to ordinary. The Satellite Aided Transmission system is definitely in the former category, and uses GPS-based knowledge of the road profile ahead to preselect gears. We’ll reserve further judgment until we try the system for ourselves. The car also introduces a new rotary controller/touchpad infotainment interface that allows for traditional dial-based scrolling of options along with the ability to “write” characters on the touchpad using a finger. A full array of modern conveniences, including voice-activated navigation, real-time traffic information, a large 10.25-inch display, adaptive cruise control, 360-degree-view parking cameras, and a 1300-watt stereo system, are also available. The Wraith will be available 2014 and pricing has not yet been FULLY announced.
LIST PRICE IS REPORTED AT 265,000 EURO NET OF VAT, TOO ORDER 20% DEPOSIT OF THE TOTAL NET LIST PRICE , ORDER MARCH 2013 DELIVERY ETA FEBRUARY/ MARCH 2014