Experiencing the 2016 Rolls-Royce Wraith

Experiencing the 2016 Rolls-Royce Wraith

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.

Rolls-Royce maintains an elegant, timeless center stack with throw-back knobs and buttons.

Rolls-Royce maintains an elegant, timeless center stack with throw-back knobs and buttons.

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.

The 'Spirit of Ecstasy' rests atop the Wraith's aluminum hood.

The ‘Spirit of Ecstasy’ rests atop the Wraith’s aluminum hood.

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.

Melanie Batenchuk steps out of the coach doors of the Rolls-Royce Wraith.

Melanie Batenchuk steps out of the coach doors of the Rolls-Royce Wraith.

Even being propelled from zero to 60mph by the Wraith’s massive twin-turbo V12 is a pleasant experience.

2016 Rolls-Royce Wraith Powder BlueThe 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.

Learn more about the 2016 Rolls-Royce Wraith through these photos from our time in the Virginia countryside:

2016 Rolls-Royce Wraith in Powder Blue nestled in the Virginia hills.

2016 Rolls-Royce Wraith in Powder Blue nestled in the Virginia hills.

The Wraith is ready for an excursion along the twisty roads in the countryside.

The Wraith is ready for an excursion along the twisty roads in the countryside.

Even the coach, or suicide, doors  are luxurious thanks to a comfort entry system that allows the driver and passenger to close their doors with the press of a button.

Even the coach, or suicide, doors are luxurious thanks to a comfort entry system that allows the driver and passenger to close their doors with the press of a button.

A smart use of extra space, the Wraith comes with Teflon-coated, custom Rolls-Royce umbrellas in the front wings.

A smart use of extra space, the Wraith comes with Teflon-coated, custom Rolls-Royce umbrellas in the front wings.

The interior remains classic, and the RR monogram on all four headrests is a nice touch.

The interior remains classic, and the RR monogram on all four headrests is a nice touch.

The Starlight Headliner is the most majestic feature we found on the Wraith. It dims, so you can set the mood to your liking any time of day.

The Starlight Headliner is the most majestic feature we found on the Wraith. It dims, so you can set the mood to your liking any time of day.

The Spirit of Ecstasy makes an appearance inside, too.  Thanks to all of the Wraith's special details, at no point will you forget you're inside a Rolls-Royce.

The Spirit of Ecstasy makes an appearance inside, too. Thanks to all of the Wraith’s special details, at no point will you forget you’re inside a Rolls-Royce.

These strange knobs are called "organ pulls" and they actually control the airflow for each vent. A nice nod to Rollers of the past.

These strange knobs are called “organ pulls” and they actually control the airflow for each vent.

We appreciated the ability to control temperatures for head and feet areas separately with this round slider. (Lambswool gets warm on the feet...not that we're complaining.)

We appreciated the ability to control temperatures for head and foot areas separately with this round slider.

The 10.25 inch navigation screen displays maps elegantly and can be concealed behind a veneer cover.  Our only disappointment was the lack of current tech available in the Wraith. But, if you're buying a Roller, then you've probably got five other vehicles with the tech options you crave.

The 10.25 inch navigation screen displays maps elegantly and can be concealed behind a veneer cover (which we preferred).
Our only disappointment was the lack of current tech available in the Wraith. But, if you’re buying a Roller, then you’ve probably got five other vehicles with the tech options you crave.

The dash is simple...timeless. It serves its purpose while allowing you to focus on what's ahead, or simply rest at ease during your journey.

The dash is simple…timeless. It serves its purpose while allowing you to focus on what’s ahead, or if a passenger, resting at ease during your journey.

The Wraith is hand-crafted in Goodwood, England. These custom treadplates remind you of the Rolls-Royce's roots, and they'll only set you back $2,600.

The Wraith is hand-crafted in Goodwood, England. These custom treadplates remind you of the Rolls-Royce’s roots, and they’ll only set you back $2,600.

Branding is important for a luxury automobile like the Rolls-Royce; that's why the RR emblem on these wheels always remains upright.

Branding is important for a luxury automobile like the Rolls-Royce; that’s why the RR emblem on these wheels always remains upright.

Melanie Batenchuk and the 2016 Rolls-Royce Wraith in Powder Blue

We could’ve taken pictures of this gorgeous car all day long. The Wraith elevates you with it, no matter where you’re going or what you’re doing. The Rolls-Royce name has a way of making you feel special, and the people who are impressed by its beauty will, too.

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This article was written by

Melanie Batenchuk founded Be Car Chic in 2009 as a way to help consumers make smart decisions when buying and selling their cars. Her prior work at the dealership, trade association and manufacturer levels has provided her a deep understanding of the complex facets within the auto industry, making her a leading woman in her field.