Wednesday, November 13, 2013

2014 Rolls Royce Wraith: Powerful, fast, menacing ghost

The 2014 Rolls Royce Wraith, named after the Scottish word for Ghost, was unveiled in March at the Geneva Auto Show. It debuted at dealerships in the United States in October and further added to upscale wonderment of the prestigious brand.
The Wraith, which continues the carmaker’s signature of naming cars after spirits (Ghost, Shadow and Phantom are other examples) is the most powerful and fastest Rolls Royce ever built.
Its specs are impressive: 624 horsepower; 0-60 mph, 4.4 seconds; top speed, 155 mph. It’s a 6.6 liter, 48-valve, twin-turbocharged V12 with an eight-speed automatic transmission. It’s also a two-door, four-seat coupe and weighs 5,380 pounds.
The name Wraith also has the connotation as a threatening ghost, the idea of which doesn’t escape Rolls Royce officials.
“It’s the menacing side of Rolls Royce,” said Richard Carter, director of global communications, during a recent media presentation in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Despite its new performance-oriented approach, the Wraith also further advances the brand’s reputation for handmade craftsmanship.
Rolls Royce sold about 3,500 vehicles worldwide last year. And when the Wraith debuted, it immediately sold out through delivery next May.
Like many of its older siblings, The Wraith is automotive art, visually and via its technology.
Consider:
* The interior headliner, called the Starlight, features 1,340 small hand-placed fiber optic cable lights. Customers can request the constellation pattern of their choice.
* The wooden doors panels can also be custom ordered to appeased a buyer’s preference for bespoke wood, let’s say from a favorite orchard tree. The natural wood itself can’t be used because of safety precautions, but it’s made into a veneer. All wood in the Wraith is angled at 55 degrees.
* The Wraith features a satellite-aided transmission via the navigation system. It knows what’s approaching down the road and changes the car’s gearing seamlessly. “It’s a bit like having a butler under the hood,” said Carter.
Driving the Wraith is joyous combination of power, luxury, comfort and confidence. During two 70-mile, 90-minute treks into the winding, undulating Arizona desert, the Wraith drove with precision and its power is sneaky. The Wraith doesn’t have head-jolting speed. But advancing well past the Arizona highway speed limit was effortless. In the Wraith, 100 mph is the new 70 mph.
The list of standard equipment and optional features on the Wraith is substantial, and, as expected, it all comes with a price. The MSRP is $284,900. The Menacing Ghost as driven in the Arizona desert was priced at $376,875.