Review: Rolls-Royce Wraith
For decades the Rolls-Royce was a car to be driven around in; a gorgeous sled of a vehicle, sure, but lacking the rapid edge to get true enthusiasts salivating over its power or speed.
That perception has changed gradually in recent years. Prior to the first modern production of the Rolls-Royce Wraith in 2013, the Ghost had been seen as the “driver’s Rolls-Royce”, offering a smaller body than the Phantom, as well as shaving a second off the 0-100kph time. The acquiring of Rolls-Royce by BMW in 1998 allowed for the use of BMW systems, as seen with the N74 engine used from 2009 onwards in both the Ghost and the Wraith.
The modified version of this engine, which produces 61bhp more than the version used in the Ghost, has led to the title of “driver’s Rolls” being up for grabs, at the very least. The new Wraith is a joy to drive, having been pushed further towards the performance end of the spectrum than any vehicle Rolls-Royce has ever managed. This fact is openly channelled through the fastback design and, more importantly, an acceleration of 0-100kph in 4.4 seconds. That’s faster than an Aston Martin DB9 (James Bond’s car), should you need a little context.
Engine size: 6.6 litre, V12
0-100kph: 4.4 Seconds
Price: Dhs1.3 million
Despite requiring 624bhp (which makes it the most powerful Rolls-Royce in history) to inject this kind of velocity in a 2.3 ton car, the take-off is buttery smooth. This is no doubt due to the improved eight-speed automatic transmission first seen with the Phantom II. The same system predicts which gear you should be in according to the road surface, and also your driving history. This is, after all, a company that makes plane engines, so perhaps we shouldn’t be so surprised at the technology. We would advise keeping a routine eye on the speedometer though, such is the ease in which the Wraith climbs to traffic-fine-inducing speeds.
As you’d expect, the Wraith’s interior champions the dedication to refined luxury for which Rolls-Royce has become synonymous, cocooning driver and passenger in an ample space lined with lambswool carpets, ventilated massage seats in the front, and a starlight roof.
Last year, Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös told Esquire that the Middle East market reportedly accounts for 20 percent of the company’s billing worldwide. If the cars coming off the future production line boast as much style and substance as the Wraith, and if the number of people that came out for a glimpse of the car and a quick photo while on location for our shoot is any gauge, we wouldn’t expect that figure to drop any time soon.