The Rolls-Royce Wraith is a car of considerable allure and significance. This, in our view, is certainly the most important new model that this blue-blooded British car maker has created since the modern Phantom in 2002.

The Phantom was a watershed, ushering the Goodwood-based firm into a new, successful era. Sure, in 2010 the Ghost brought in fresh buyers – but largely by miniaturising, de-formalising and slightly discounting the Phantom’s concept.

Road test editor
Search the price lists for £235k, 5.3-metre long coupés and you’ll find that the Wraith is a unique proposition

There have been plenty of Phantom-based and Ghost-based derivatives, of course.

But the Wraith is a true ground-breaker – not only the most powerful car in Rolls’ history but also the closest thing to a sports car that it has ever attempted to produce.

‘Wraith’ was first used on a Rolls-Royce in 1938, but the company’s cars were making a name for themselves as world-beating racing machines decades earlier.

Founder Charles Rolls won the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy in 1906 in a Light Twenty, for instance, and in 1913 Don Carlos de Salamanca won the first ever Spanish Grand Prix in a Silver Ghost. The current Ghost saloon — the car from which the Wraith is effectively adapted — was launched in 2010

Rolls-Royce describes this 624bhp, £230k two-door Wraith as a debonair gentleman’s GT – highly refined, luxurious and exclusive like its stablemates, but more dramatic and exciting than any of them.

In 110 years, there has never been such a thing as ‘just another Rolls-Royce’, but even in that rarefied context, the Wraith promises to be something very special indeed.