The new Rolls-Royce Wraith is the most powerful car ever built by the iconic British manufacturer.
Powered by a 624bhp V12 generating 590lb ft of torque, it can accelerate from 0-60mph in 4.4sec. Rolls-Royce also claims the Ghost-based coupé is its most dynamic car ever, with company boss Torsten Müller-Ötvös describing the Wraith as "having a hint of menace in the design that is new to the brand, but with the driving experience and performance to live up to that promise".
Consequently, the Wraith is 183mm shorter in wheelbase than the Ghost, 130mm shorter in overall length, 40mm wider in rear track and 43mm lower in height. The suspension has also been stiffened to minimise body roll and ensure the driver gets a better sense of feedback when cornering. The steering weight is also heavier at high speeds and lighter at low speeds to encourage spirited driving.
However, Müller-Ötvös emphasised that the Wraith should not be considered an outright sporting GT: "While the Wraith does push the brand in a new direction, evolving it in a way that we hope will attract new, perhaps younger customers, it is still a Rolls-Royce, and the 'bed of air' ride our customers expect is still uppermost in the car's DNA."
Sales are expected to come predominantly from the US, Europe and Middle East. Two-door, driver-focused cars don¹t sell well in the otherwise booming Chinese market.
Technical innovations to complement the car's dynamics include a satellite-aided transmission, which uses GPS mapping data and driving style measurements to ensure the correct gear is pre-selected for the road ahead by the eight-speed ZF 'box. Company insiders have hinted that the technology is expected to be used in future top-spec BMWs at a later date.
Giles Taylor, head of exterior design, revealed he was told to create a car that expressed speed, power and agility. Design highlights include a deeply recessed front grille, wide rear track, strong tension lines in the panels and a raked rear screen. Rolls-Royce will also encourage buyers to order two-tone colour schemes, such as the one pictured here.
Inside, the Wraith features Phantom-grade leathers and new wood panelling, inspired by modern boating materials, which stretches across the coach doors through to the rear of the car. A starlight headliner is also available in a model other than the Phantom for the first time, working via 1340 tiny lamps hand-woven into the roof lining.
The firm also claims the Wraith features a best-ever voice command system that allows the occupants to set sat-nav destinations and perform other functions, and a touchpad controller that uses smartphone-style pinch-and-pull functionality.
Torsten Müller-Ötvös added "Rolls Royce must never be about being anything other than the jewel in the automotive pool. Our customers crave exclusivity and that is what we will give them. The Wraith will join that exclusive line-up, giving new customers to the brand an experience that is unique"
The Rolls-Royce Wraith will cost around £215,000, with deliveries beginning this autumn.