One might say the new 2013 Rolls-Royce Wraith is the “sporty” member of this esteemed automotive family but to do that would ignore the many superlative features of this most enviable ride.
The Wraith is a two-door coupe with a fastback body that appears very un-Roller-ish once you get past the signature waterfall grille, Spirit of Ecstasy radiator ornament (canted 5 degrees forward) and optional two-tone paint. It's not overwhelmingly large – just over 17 feet from bumper to bumper – but the Wraith IS imposing and that's without even considering its $300,000 sticker.
Luxury has always been the byword when it comes to Rolls-Royce but “power” is a term more closely associated with the firm's historic airplane engines, such as the legendary V12 Rolls-Royce Merlin that was the heart of the RAF's Spitfire, Hurricane and Lancaster.
That tradition continues with the 6.6 liter, twin-turbocharged V-12 engine that fills the Wraith's expansive engine bay. The powerplant puts out a staggering 624 horsepower and 590 ft. lb. of torque, rocketing the 5,200 lb. luxo-cruiser from zero to 60mph in just 4.5 seconds. Fuel economy, if one worries about such trivialities, is a rated 13 mpg city and 21 mpg highway.
The Rolls-Royce Wraith showcases a wealth of advanced technology to complement the brute force lurking beneath the bonnet. A Satellite Aided Transmission downloads up-to-the-second GPS data and works through the onboard navigation system to automatically select the eight speed transmission's optimum gear, resulting in what Rolls-Royce calls “a car that can see into the future.”
Whiz-bang effects aside, the intent of the system is to deliver the motor's prodigious power smoothly and efficiently by dispensing with unnecessary gear changes.
Comfort is the keystone of the Rolls-Royce experience and in this respect the Wraith picks up the ball and runs with it. Now “comfort” in the classic sense is a given, we're talking about convenience here and the astounding ability of this vehicle to embrace all of today's mod cons.
Voice and internet connectivity on the move is facilitated via the Wraith's Wireless Car Hotspot but for pure show & go, check out the new Spirit of Ecstasy Rotary Controller. A small circular touchscreen allows all access to music or visual navigation with simple fingertip control. If you can operate a smartphone, the Rotary Controller is a piece of cake! If scribing text letters directly onto the touchpad is too distracting, the Wraith's voice control technology has been refined to a higher level of intuitive sense: you can call up your contacts with a simple spoken sentence.
Last but not least, drivers fortunate to take the new 2013 Rolls-Royce Wraith for a test drive are advised to do so after sunset. That's when the “Starlight Headliner,” replete with 1340 fiber-optic pins, does a fair imitation of a moonless star-filled night sky. Moonroof? We don't need no stinkin' moonroof, we've got a 2013 Rolls-Royce Wraith! (via Road & Track, images via Rolls-Royce)