Rolls-Royce has unveiled its all-new two-door coupe to the Australian motoring media at a presentation overlooking the Sydney Opera House.
In line with the supernatural theme (Phantom, Ghost, Spirit, etc) used by Rolls the newcomer is called Wraith, a word of Scottish origin used to describe a ghost or apparition. The nameplate has been used previously, originally in the 1938-1939 Wraith and later, between 1946 and 1959, as the Silver Wraith.
The new Rolls-Royce Wraith was first shown at the 2013 Geneva Motor show and is effectively a coupe version of the Rolls-Royce Ghost sharing much of its underpinning as well as the engine. The latter having some tweaks that make it the most powerful car ever built by Rolls-Royce.
An alternative definition of wraith is “something shadowy and insubstantial”. Now that couldn’t be further from the truth when applied to the Rolls-Royce Wraith because its styling could hardly be more distinctive and imposing with its sweeping fastback styling reminding some of a 1970s Valiant Charger. The 21-inch five-spoke wheels add to the Wraith’s aura.
In the R-R tradition the doors are rear hinged and so make access to the two rear seats easier than would otherwise be the case. Just make sure there’s no traffic on the right-hand side or pedestrians on the left because the doors are huge.
Rear headroom is acceptable but legroom is very much dependent upon the co-operation of the front seat occupants so any prospective chauffeur who thinks they’re going to get behind the wheel of the Wraith is doomed to disappointment. This is clearly a car for the (well-heeled) driving enthusiast and one of the reasons why Rolls’ South and East Asia general manager, Dan Balmer, describes it as a “Made for Australia” car and expects us to be one of the company’s largest worldwide.
The 470-litre boot isn’t especially long but is deep and easy to access.
The 6.6-litre twin-turbo V12 generates 465 kW of power and 800 Nm of torque. While the 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith could accelerate from 0 to 50 mph in 16.4 seconds its 2013 descendant can do the 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds (0-100 km/h in 4.6 seconds), an amazing time given that it weighs in at 2360 kg unladen.
One fascinating new feature in the Wraith is Satellite Aided Transmission which uses the GPS satellite and the map data to ‘see’ the road ahead and make the appropriate gear selection, through the eight-speed ZF transmission, in anticipation of upcoming corners, hills, intersections, and on. Just another step towards driverless driving as this feature will eventually make it down to cars for we plebs.
Rolls-Royce has opted to give some features an upper-class name. So voice activation, which allows navigation, telephone and multimedia to be controlled via voice commands is called Onboard Valet.
While other brands have options packages Rolls-Royce has long had a Bespoke Programme which allows buyers to personalise their car including a spectacular black and silver two-tone body paint,
At $645,000 Wraith is priced the same as the Ghost four-door including on-road costs. Delivery is expected in the October/December quarter of this year. As with all models in the Rolls-Royce range the Wraith will be covered by a four-year unlimited kilometre warranty.
At this time the only Australian dealerships are in Sydney and Melbourne. Showrooms in Perth and Brisbane are expected to be opening soon.
We’re unlikely to be able to borrow one for our normal week-long road test, but hopefully we’ll be able to get a limited test drive when the Queensland dealership opens.