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2014 Rolls-Royce Wraith: Wafting In The Fastest And Most Powerful Vehicle RR Has Ever Made

It is said that Rolls-Royce co-founder Sir Henry Royce once proclaimed: “Take the best that exists and make it better: When it does not exist, design it.” The second part of that quote is most curious, as the century-old automaker recently introduced an all-new Ghost-based coupe with no apparent peers – a two-door boasting a 624-horsepower, twin-turbocharged V12 with rear-wheel drive and sleek fastback styling.

Yet despite its specifications, it was never planned to be a sports coupe. Rather, the British automaker tells us that it was thoroughly engineered to be, “a car where the sense of arrival and joy of the journey are as important as the canvas upon which it is drawn.” Whatever that means.

A glance at its nose reveals a resculpted bumper with more aggressive air intakes and lower air dam. Chrome accents brighten its face, and the signature grille has been recessed deeper within the fascia. Lastly, the automaker’s famed Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament has been tilted forward by five degrees – giving the figurine a more aggressive and dynamic stance.


The coupe has a high waistline, a long hood and a low roof. By far the most interesting part of its styling is the deliberate separation line between the body and the greenhouse. While seamlessly welded into one continuous piece, it serves as the perfect visual break for the company’s optional two-tone paint schemes.

As expected, the Wraith shares platforms with the Ghost, meaning both vehicles are built on heavily modified BMW 7 Series (F01 platform) architecture. Compared to the four-door, the coupe is five inches shorter in overall length, seven inches shorter in wheelbase and two inches shorter in height. Lastly, the coupe’s rear axle is one inch wider than it is on the sedan. Like its four-door sibling, the Wraith’s unibody chassis is steel. The ferrous material is also used for nearly all of the body panels with the exception of the aluminum alloy hood and composite rear decklid (constructed from this material to allow GPS and mobile antennas to be hidden from view).

Coach doors, artfully hinged at the rear instead of the front, are a Rolls-Royce signature, and the new Wraith faithfully upholds this very functional and elegant tradition. To ease use of the massive doors, both are fitted with electro-mechanical self-closing assistance – buttons for power operation are conveniently located at the base of the A-pillar inside the cabin. Their unique design opens each dramatically wide, putting on an impressive show to passers-by while allowing occupants to gracefully slide into the four passenger seats without awkwardness or unexpected paparazzi opportunities. Britney Spears would likely have saved herself quite a bit of embarrassment had she and Paris Hilton that night in a Rolls-Royce instead of a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG. The trunk lid is also equipped with power operation.


With a gentle pull on the oversized handle, the doors of the Wraith glide open. It’s no surprise that the interior of the coupe nearly mirrors that of the sedan – the dashboard and instrument cluster appear to have been lifted out of the Ghost nearly intact. However, as the coupe lacks an anchoring B-pillar, its two front seats feature completely integrated seatbelts, which make using the safety restraints very convenient while improving access to the two surprisingly roomy rear executive seats.

Sliding coolly into the four-place cabin, I found the surroundings nothing short of spectacular in terms of materials and craftsmanship. The interior features “Phantom-quality” drum-dyed leather (a combination of natural grain and tipped) with contrasting piping, brightly polished chrome and hand-selected genuine wood trim. The Wraith introduces Canadel Panelling, an open-pore wood devoid of traditional thick, glossy finishing lacquer. It looks and feels wondrous. A reskinned version of BMW’s much-improved iDrive infotainment interface, with a round console-mounted dial renamed the Spirit of Ecstasy Rotary Controller, is tasked with the infotainment, navigation and vehicle settings. And, for the first time outside the flagship Phantom range, owners may opt for the unusual Starlight perforated leather headliner with 1,340 hand-sewn fiber-optic lights that not only provide a great conversation piece, but allow occupants to bask in their soft glow.


Sitting behind a large diameter, leather-wrapped steering wheel, which is thicker than the one on the Ghost, the Wraith driver faces a traditional analog gauge cluster with blood-orange tipped needles. All of the circular instruments are familiar to more prosaic automobiles, with the exception of Rolls’ trademark ‘Power Reserve’ dial on the left that displays available engine power (in a manner that is nearly the reverse of a tachometer). A firm foot on the brake pedal, followed by a quick press of the start/stop button awakens the engine.


While the idling engine is nearly imperceptible from within the cabin thanks to an insulating double firewall, buried within the nose of the Wraith is a twin-turbocharged, 6.6-liter V12 with BMW roots – a bored-out version of the 6.0-liter 12-cylinder that BMW fits to its flagship 760Li sedan. In this tune, it produces 624 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque and is mated to a ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic transmission with just four modes: Park, Reverse, Neutral and Drive. A fifth mode, labeled ‘Low,’ is engaged by pressing a button on the front side of the stalk. Consider it a ‘Sport’ mode, as it holds the gears longer between shifts.


The new coupe boasts an electronically controlled independent air-ride suspension (double-wishbone front and multi-link rear architecture) with variable damping and three driver-selectable settings. The ride height is fixed in its middle position during normal driving, but it may be manually lowered to ease passenger access when stopped or raised to clear steep driveways or obstacles while driving.

The Wraith is a big vehicle (three inches wider than a Mercedes-Benz CL-Class, an inch wider than a Bentley Continental GT and at least half-a-foot longer than both), and this made it a challenge to maneuver in the city center’s narrow European streets and unfamiliar commuter traffic patterns. This uncomfortable first impression prompted half-joking comments to my co-driver that the experience was like taxiing a Gulfstream G650 across an airport tarmac choked with thousands of buzzing Cessnas. The steering didn’t help, either. While it was easy to place a tire on a specific cobblestone, its high ratio meant the steering wheel needed to be turned more for the same results. With this design, the engineers had sacrificed sharpness but gained smoothness.


Rolls-Royce proudly tunes its suspensions for a ‘magic carpet ride’ (the sensation of riding on a bed of air), and the Wraith delivers on that promise. I wouldn’t call it floaty, but everything from tire impacts on rocks to the uneven undulations in the road was dutifully absorbed. Thick laminated glass and hundreds of pounds of insulation kept the traffic noise of Austria’s busy capital outside, while I enjoyed soft foreign tunes on the 1,300-watt audio system.




Source: Autoblog
2014 Rolls-Royce Wraith: Wafting In The Fastest And Most Powerful Vehicle RR Has Ever Made Reviewed by on . It is said that Rolls-Royce co-founder Sir Henry Royce once proclaimed: "Take the best that exists and make it better: When it does not exist, design it." The s It is said that Rolls-Royce co-founder Sir Henry Royce once proclaimed: "Take the best that exists and make it better: When it does not exist, design it." The s Rating:
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