The Rolls-Royce Spectre will be positioned as the spiritual successor to the Phantom coupé in the luxury marque’s range when the new electric model goes on sale at the end of 2023.
The engineering parameters for the Spectre are now being set as the Goodwood firm begins the almost two-year testing programme, which Autocar has been granted unprecedented early access to as the car undergoes winter testing near the Arctic Circle at the start of its development.
This included an early ride in a development mule, just the sixth Spectre development car to have been created.
The positioning of the Spectre within the firm’s range has now become clear, too, beyond simply being ‘the electric Rolls-Royce’. The company has decided against replacements for the Wraith coupé and Dawn convertible. No more orders are being taken for the pair, and the last cars will be built in early 2023.
As a result, Rolls-Royce has made space for the Spectre to fulfil the role of a two-door model in the range, albeit at a larger size than either the Rolls-Royce Wraith or Rolls-Royce Dawn and more in line with the 5.6m-long Rolls-Royce Phantom coupé that was withdrawn from sale in 2016.
Rolls-Royce boss Torsten Müller-Ötvös said it was important that the Spectre had a role simply beyond being an electric car. He added that, while technically possible, simply making one of its existing models electric was never seriously considered as this would not add as much to the brand as a bespoke bodystyle would. “It is first a Rolls-Royce, and then it is electric,” he said.
The positioning of the firm’s Architecture of Luxury modular aluminium spaceframe but beyond that it is a very different proposition from the Phantom, Rolls-Royce Ghost and Rolls-Royce Cullinan models that also use the platform. Sited between the axles is a 700kg battery pack, a joint development between Rolls-Royce and parent firm BMW that uses cobalt and lithium mined from certified sources in Australia and Morocco. Beyond the weight of the battery, no other technical details of the model have yet been confirmed.