By RON SESSIONS | Contributing Editor Road trips are special.…
The Rolls-Royce Wraith is more than a powerful, luxurious, near $400,000 two-door coupe; it’s an experience. This is a vehicle for the one percent of the one percent. You are literally driving a very nice house in most of America. We looked everywhere and couldn’t find three bedrooms and two baths; yet, we would be perfectly content making a home inside the Wraith. Rolls-Royce makes that easy for anyone who steps inside its “coach” (aka suicide) doors.
Opulence is a word that comes to mind. Stately but not overstated.
Rolls Royce gives several nods to its past vehicles with buttons and knobs that evoke nostalgia from simpler times. The design remains classic. Its proportions attract the eye of passersby, often encouraging a smile of acknowledgement that the Wraith is a beautiful, majestic creature.
Driving a unique vehicle like this is quite the icebreaker.
Like an international ambassador, the Wraith encourages dialogue across all stereotypical divides. Strangers want to know all about it. What is it? Who makes it? How much does it cost? And, is it yours? We obliged these requests and shared as much about the Wraith as we could.
For many, the chance to see, experience, to ride in a Rolls-Royce is a box checked off a lifelong bucket list. We’d be lying if we said we weren’t part of that aspirational bunch.
There’s a reason we say the best version of something is called “the Rolls-Royce of….”
The Wraith is both the sportiest and fastest horse in the Rolls-Royce Motor Cars stable. With 624 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque, you hardly notice this car weighs more than two-and-a-half tons. It has no trouble launching you off the line. The Wraith may have been British by birth, but this Roller begs for the speed-limitless straight stretches of the Autobahn. The massive 6.6L V12 aluminum alloy engine gives you a taste of its power, leaving you to crave more. But you can’t have more because then you’d be going 120 mph in a 55, and the next thing you know, sitting in the county jail. So. Unfair.
Smooth as silk on the road, piloting the Wraith is like driving a boat across calm waters – it floats but not in an aimless way. The driving experience is both engaging and direct – effortless. Its power is at the ready, and when you need it, the Rolls delivers it to you gently and confidently. No jerkiness or jumping through the gears.
Our tester came in a beautiful Powder Blue (a $10,425 upgrade) with matching blue leather and contrasting black on the inside. The shade can best be described as a pearl white, silver and soft blue combination that gives off a different mood depending on the outdoor lighting. The paint, one of 44,000 hues offered by the Rolls-Royce Surface Finishing Centre, appears stunning at all angles and under every kind of lighting imaginable.
Inside, your customized cockpit envelopes you and any passengers. Get ready to be mesmerized by the optional Starlight Headliner (completely worth the extra $6,075) complete with more than 1,300 fiber optic lights twinkling above your head. Your feet will be happy, too, so long as you can kick off your shoes and dig your little piggies into the lambswool carpet inserts. Talk about luxury. The Wraith has the kind of interior that makes you want to have a separate pair of slippers just for when you’re inside of it.
Even being propelled from zero to 60mph by the Wraith’s massive twin-turbo V12 is a pleasant experience.
The Rolls is as refined as you’d expect in almost every way, except technology. BMW, who owns the brand, has not paid much attention to the rapidly changing landscape of in-car tech, and therefore, lags behind more affordable carmakers like Hyundai and Volkswagen on this front. As the owner of a 2013 BMW X3, I can vouch that the navigation and infotainment system inside the Wraith are essentially a jazzed-up version of what I got my hands on in 2012. Four years is a lifetime in the tech development lifecycle. And for a car that costs as much as a house, I’d expect more.
So, who buys this car? Yes, rich people. That’s the obvious answer. What may not be obvious is why do they buy this car?
As with all Rolls-Royce vehicles, the Wraith is hand-built in Goodwood, England. Every stitch, every seam, and every component was placed there by a human hand. That gets expensive. Experts spent 450 hours to craft your bespoke Rolls-Royce, and expertise comes with a commiserate price tag. If you have enough cash floating around to pay for that kind of expertise – and you have a penchant for the finer things in life – then of course you’re looking at the Rolls and the Bentley and the Maybach.
The Rolls-Royce Wraith welcomes you, greeting you with open doors, first-class seats, and an experience like none other.
What’s amazing is how easy it is to adjust to this car as a daily driver. It seems scary – or maybe even laborious – to drive at first. But just as with the service of an experienced waiter at the Inn at Little Washington (where we dined with the Wraith one evening), the Wraith welcomes you, greeting you with open doors, first-class seats, and an experience like none other.