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Rolls-Royce Wraith

The Car Connection Rolls-Royce Wraith Overview

The Rolls-Royce Wraith is a two-door coupe that shares its heritage with Rolls' smaller Ghost sedan.

The Wraith is the most powerful car Rolls-Royce has ever built and the newest model from the esteemed British luxury marque. With its sleek fastback design, the Wraith is much sleeker than the larger Phantom coupe, but draws on many of the same design flourishes.

Launched for 2014, the Wraith has a shape and size suggesting it's a competitor for the Bentley Continental GT, the car that really defined the ultra-luxury coupe market a decade ago. But suiting the Rolls-Royce marque, the Wraith is far more expensive, more powerful, and comes with a host of features unavailable on the Bentley. The Wraith also carries a much more extroverted design than the Bentley, which may or may not be a plus for prospective buyers.

Changes are few for the 2016 model year, but the Wraith has been joined by a new Dawn convertible.

MORE: Read our 2016 Rolls-Royce Wraith review

Rolls-Royce has moved away from its time-honored practice of specifying the power of its engines simply as "adequate," so we know that the Wraith's twin-turbocharged 6.6-liter V-12 engine produces a substantial 624 horsepower. The car—despite its 5,200-pound avoirdupois—is said to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in no more than 4.4 seconds, a decent figure for such a large sports coupe, let alone a car with the degree of luxury and features provided by Britain's preeminent luxury brand.

The mechanical bits include electronically controlled air suspension and an eight-speed automatic transmission that uses satellite data to choose the correct gear for the road ahead. Not that buyers are likely to mind, but fuel efficiency is rated at just 15 miles per gallon combined, and the Wraith prefers premium gasoline, thank you very much.

But it's the design—a traditional upright front combined with an elegant fastback coupe body—and the interior luxury that really set the Wraith apart from any other road car not bearing a Spirit of Ecstasy up front. Cabin materials include the finest of soft, supple, rich leathers, carefully selected woods of various exotic species, and precisely machined metal details that add a modern edge to the traditional fixtures and fittings—including chrome knobs and switches of a heft and feel simply not found in any other car. The Wraith's piece de resistance may be the available Starlight Headliner, which uses fiber optics to mimic the night sky with more than 1,000 individual stars in a recognizable pattern. This feature appeared first on the larger Phantom line and has now become a Rolls-Royce signature offering.

Pricing for the Rolls-Royce Wraith starts at $289,000, although the lavish list of optional equipment ensures that most examples will exit the factory with considerably higher price tags. More importantly, if there's a feature or fitting you want that's not offered on the standard list, Rolls-Royce is happy to craft, design, and install it for you—at a price. And if you have to ask what that price may be, the Wraith is not the car for you.

For 2015, the Wraith gets a long list of small tweaks to its standard and optional equipment list, as well as a few new customization options. Our favorite has to be the newly available leather boot lining, which would provide the perfect place to rest your equally supple (and assuredly expensive) leather luggage.

The next big thing in the Wraith world will be a convertible model—something the Rolls people like to refer to as a drophead. The model was shown at the 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show—it will resurrect the Dawn badge from the company's past. More power is also a possibility for future Wraith and Dawn models, although the Wraith already gets the strongest engine the company has.

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