Ok, so I’ve driven two Rolls Royce vehicles during the course of a year. Not just for a tentative loop around some squillionaire’s roundabout driveway fountain but on actual roads in real world situations, far removed from the pretentious coastal or upper North Shore areas of Sydney. For my latest ‘is this really happening’ moment I had the opportunity to take the epic Rolls Royce Wraith to my hometown of Gosford and the broader Central Coast region of NSW. I attended the launch of this car in 2013, at the time our well know comedic genius editor Trevor Long quipped “Let’s be clear, he’s got more chance of getting a ride to the International Space Station than he is at driving this beast”. Well Trevy boy get this up ya.
The 10 Minute Test Drive
The point of this part of any EFTM car review is to give you a feel for how a car impresses after a typical dealer test drive, hundreds of such experiences take place every day and we try to encapsulate that for you after we first jump into something new. I very much doubt any prospective Roller buyer becomes acquainted with their massive purchase in this way, but anyway here we go.
When you hop, sorry ‘intrude’ in my case into a Rolls Royce you immediately realise this is something on an entirely different level. I’ve driven most of the European luxury saloons, the best on offer. But this handcrafted British offering takes extravagance to a new level. Aside from the fact the car itself looks like something that belongs in the Louvre, it’s the interior that best rams the excessive price tag home, the marketing line is it’s all about power, style and drama. Bugger that, this is just a great place to sit.
I will admit there are more elaborate and modern dash layouts around but nothing beats the sheer classiness of the Rolls Royce presentation. The instrument cluster is simple, yet classic and at the same time undercover modern. A power reserve metre replaces a tacho while beautiful analogue readouts represent speed and fuel levels. Below the classical instrument cluster is a digital readout, but it all gels together seamlessly.
The BMW parts bin has been used to provide many parts of this car, but it’s the drive controller and multimedia interface that impressed the most. The rotary dial itself has been crafted from Waterford Crystal, the graphical displays and fonts used are unique to Rolls Royce. Heck you can even conceal the monitor if you so desire, after all it’s almost an affront to have such technological niceties in such a legendary cabin.
What about the drive? There’s never any doubt you are driving something of unusual proportions, a typical dual cab may be a fraction longer but it’s more the width and dare I say price that intimidates. The steering is exceptionally light, you realise how light when approaching roundabouts. It takes a lot of turns or lock to point the massive wheels in the right direction, so light is the steering you could literally spin the wheel 360 degrees with one finger. The ride is akin to sitting in a tank that rides on marshmallows, the ride absorbance is second to none. It simply soaks up any road surface with a sense of almost arrogance, it is simply truly astounding.
Being a twin-turbo V12, obviously you can expect some serious performance. But having said that you never get a sense of the blistering sprint times this beast is capable off, it has a way of burning everyone at the lights but still feeling composed, unfussed and pure. This observation is based on pure stats rather than actual real world acts…. Ok I lie.
Ins and Outs
Under the mammoth bonnet sits a BMW derived 6.6-litre V12 engine matched to an 8-speed automatic, the most important numbers are 465kW and 800Nm from 1,500rpm. That’s beyond serious grunt and alongside, even better than many super cars and sees the near 2.4 tonne beast scoot to 100km/h in the mid 4 second range.
Of course this is a two door Roller with doors that open backwards – literally my only complaint. But it does have the ability to offer a level of excitement to the driver rather than the rich bloke in the back. The steering has more feel to it than the Ghost and the whole set up is skewed towards having fun rather than just pulling into the valet of a five-star hotel.
I took the Wraith for a ‘fairly’ spirited run and let me tell you it delivers in spades. Sure it’s no Toyota 86 but cornering with serious enthusiasm in such a heavy, dare I say expensive beast was a sheer joy.
The Tech Inside
There’s a stack as you’d expect with most of it borrowed from BMW. The usual raft of driver assist programs are there but a couple really hit home. The night vision functionally is very cool, an infrared view of the road ahead can be displayed on the centre screen. Far from being a novelty it can differentiate between animals and pedestrians and flash the appropriate warning on the head up display. I live in a semi-rural area and as I headed home one night it was picking up horses in a road side paddock and even pedestrians stumbling home from a local night club on the median strip.
Satellite aided navigation allows the gear box to read the road ahead and always allow for the perfect ratio, impossible to perceive but hey I guess that’s the point.
Fuel consumption is rated at 14.0L/100km. I just can’t see how anyone would achieve that, I hit 25L/100 km at one point. But this kind of analysis is irrelevant at this price point, which of course leads to the really scary numbers. The price of our test car on the road plus options hit $790,450. There’s a humble base price of $645,000 on offer but who would turn down things like 21’’ seven spoke fully polished wheels, starlight headliner, Rolls Royce bespoke audio, RR monogram on headrest and lambswool foot mats among many, many other options.
EFTM Rubber Stamp of Approval
The car is unbelievable, as they say you never buy one you instead have one commissioned. The sheer uniqueness is unquestionable, the build quality is impeccable and underneath lies an actual performance car that can steer and handle way beyond what physics should allow. The only option I have is to award the Rolls Royce Wraith the EFTM Distinction Rubber Stamp of Approval.