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November 12th, 2014 at 4:00 pm

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Author: Nate Chapnick
Photo: Rolls-Royce
Information Provided By: Riviera San Diego

There’s nothing quite like piloting a Rolls-Royce, and nothing quite like stepping out of one either. The British maker’s newest model, the Wraith, makes no excuses for its luxurious largesse. This vehicle is as much about making a grand entrance at a Buckhead valet as it is about taking a glorious drive.

So, full steam ahead, and once you set a course, the Wraith plows forward with a take-no-prisoners authority. This two-door fastback boasts a German-built twin-turbocharged V12 engine that produces an astonishing 624 horsepower and 590 lb.-ft. of torque. Mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission, the Wraith surges from 0 to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds, a run that imparts a sense of effortless power to whomever assumes the wheel. The giddyup isn’t blazing—this is Rolls-Royce after all—but the Wraith is one of the most performance-forward autos the Goodwood factory has yet produced. An innovative Satellite Aided Transmission uses GPS data to anticipate gear selections based on upcoming terrain, creating an unmatched level of smoothness that makes shifts barely perceptible.

Driving the Wraith is more akin to commanding a masterful yacht than steering a car. The vehicle seemingly floats over bumps, and its signature oversize steering wheel harkens to a more civilized era of luxury motoring. Still, for a 5,380-pound vehicle, the Wraith, with its four-corner air-suspension system and adaptive damping, manages to get through tight corners quite nicely.

Painstaking attention to detail is on full display inside. Bookmatched wood veneers are hand-finished by Rolls-Royce’s expert craftspeople with a light satin finish for a natural open-pore look. A voice-activated on-board valet handles basic chores such as destination inputs or the dialing of phone numbers, leaving drivers to focus on the journey. A dreamy Starlight Headliner sets the mood at night with 1,340 fiber optic lights that are individually handwoven into the leather roof liner. A crystal glass rotary knob, capped by the famous Spirit of Ecstasy figurine, also functions as a touch pad. However, the most extravagant feature on the Wraith is the giant rear-hinged front doors that feel as solid and heavy as those used on a bank vault. As a back-saver, these doors close electronically at the push of a button and always catch the eye of onlookers at the valet. From $284,900

SPEC CHECK
2014 Rolls-Royce Wraith

Base Price: $284,900
Engine: 6.6 liter twin-turbocharged V12
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Horsepower: 624 hp @ 5,600 rpm
Torque: 590 lb.-ft. @ 1,500-5,500 rpm
Maximum cargo capacity: 16.6 cu. ft.
City fuel economy: 13 mpg
Highway fuel economy: 21 mpg
Fuel tank: 21.9 gal.
Weight: 5,380 lbs.
0 to 60 mph: 4.4 seconds
Top Speed: 155 mph

Fab Features
Rear-hinged, power-closing doors
Pop-out umbrella storage in doors
Power retractable Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament

 

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