2014 Rolls-Royce Wraith Preview

2017
The Car Connection
2017
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

The 2014 Rolls-Royce Wraith is the most powerful car the brand has ever built, yet it's just as luxurious and refined as any other Rolls, as well.

The 2014 Rolls-Royce Wraith, like any recent vehicle with the Spirit of Ecstasy atop the front, is both brilliant and cavalier. It pampers and delights its owners, while utterly disregarding the well-being of the many cows whose hides grace its interior, the fate of the atmosphere, and the little matter of a buyer's wallet. As always, if you have to ask, you can't afford it.

Everywhere in the cabin, materials are intended to be the finest possible, and they are. Rich, soft leathers, finely crafted woods, and machined metal trim elements are found  throughout the cabin, front and rear. The roof is available with a special fiber-optic light system that mimics a star-filled night sky. If the Wraith doesn't come with a feature you want straight from the factory, you can order it installed. As well you should, for the Wraith's $289,000-and-up pricing.

Outside, from a head-on perspective, the Wraith presents at first glance like any other modern Rolls-Royce. Its tall, upright nose carries a large rectangular grille, flanked by rectangular headlights, and a relatively simple facade otherwise. Step to the side-view, and it gets much more interesting, with a long, gently sloped fastback profile, smooth slab sides, and a bluff, neatly sculpted tail. It almost gives the impression of being compact and sporty until you appreciate its scale: the Wraith is 17 feet, 3 inches long, 4 feet 11 inches tall, and weighs 5,203 pounds.

Powering the Wraith's stately progress is a 6.6-liter twin-turbo V-12 engine rated at 624 horsepower. The potent engine is capable of accelerating the whole affair to 60 mph in a mere 4.4 seconds, according to Rolls' estimates, and on to an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph. Further enhancing the Wraith's on-road capabilities is an innovative Satellite Aided Transmission, which uses satellite data to scan the road ahead, overlaid with terrain data and other key information to pre-select the ideal gear as you drive.

It promises to make sudden climbs and descents, as well as sharp turns, that much smoother. The satellite-aided unit is a ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic. Gas mileage is undisclosed, but the conclusion to be drawn there is: don't ask. It's a heavy car powered by a massively potent engine. The figures won't be colored in anything approaching a shade of green.

A stately ride quality is as much a Rolls-Royce trait as the Spirit of Ecstasy on the car's nose, and it's achieved in the Wraith with an electronically-controlled air suspension. Seating is laid out in four individual positions, with comfort essentially at the maximum possible for a wheeled vehicle.

Crash safety, likewise, is untested, but here, the mass of the Wraith works in its favor, as does Rolls-Royce's very solid construction and inclusion of standard safety equipment like force-limiting seat belts, smart airbags that adjust to occupant size, and the Advanced Crash Management system, which uses sensors within the car to take 2,000 measurements per second, and, in the event of an accident, to deploy the appropriate pre-emptive safety measures.

For more, see Motor Authority's first drive of the 2014 Rolls-Royce Wraith.

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