From outside, it has an enigmatic feel, graceful, but hinting at something more. The vertical radiator grille is surmounted by the Spirit of Ecstasy, leaning forwards a few degrees, as if anticipating the power and speed. The bodywork is audacious. It would be an over-simplification to call it the coupé version of the Ghost, because it incorporates a huge amount of innovative design. Everything has been distilled to a few taut lines, tapering down along the fastback.
Open the rear-hinged coach doors, and the universe of Rolls-Royce’s interior comfort unfolds, with understated design, superb materials, and acres of soft leather. The many personalization options include Starlight Headliner, 1,340 fibre optic terminals incorporated into the roof lining to create your own star-filled sky. The superbly-crafted wood contributes to the cocoon effect that gives passengers in both front and rear seats the assurance of safety as well as comfort.
There is no doubt that it’s a car to drive with enjoyment. "Wraith is powerful, but never brutal. It's a cultivated power which perfectly complements the dynamism of its exterior styling. This is a true Rolls-Royce," said Dr Helmut Riedl, Director of Engineering. It is the fastest Rolls-Royce to date, with a 12-cylinder, 6.6-litre biturbo engine that delivers 624 HP and takes this 2.4-tonne vehicle from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.6 seconds. The electronically-controlled air suspension creates the famous Rolls-Royce glide, so that you hardly notice the speed that you have reached. The driving style is classical rather than sports: you don’t throw it into corners, but rather brake early, take the corner gently, and use its massive power to glide out. You have help from one of the most advanced drive trains ever designed, the Satellite-aided automatic 8-gear ZF transmission system. It uses GPS input to see what is coming on the road ahead, so that the optimum gear is selected for wherever you are. In practical terms, this means that if the corner is the first of a series, the gearbox doesn’t change up as you pull out of the first bend, so you reach the next corner already in the correct gear. The Rolls-Royce drive style is something unique, and in the Wraith, the magic carpet ride always has that feeling of power underneath, like an iron fist in a velvet glove.
The technology is advanced and unobtrusive, with a head-up display, a powerful stereo system with 18 speakers, wireless hotspot capability, and a large multimedia display controlled by a crystal-encased trackpad on a rotary dial. The navigation system can be controlled by voice. In short, there is all that you need to let you sit back and enjoy your journey. It’s a car that Sir Henry Royce would have approved: his instructions, “Take the best that exists and make it better: when it does not exist, design it” is perfectly encapsulated by the Wraith. A car for long, long trips.