Launched simultaneously at the Geneva Motor Show and at their manufacturing plant near Chichester, the stunning new Rolls-Royce Wraith is an obvious response to Bentley’s popular GT. Fitted with the highest-powered version yet of their BMW-built V12 twin turbocharged engine, coupled to an 8-speed sealed-for-life gearbox, this luxurious creation can carry itself from stationary to 62 miles per hour in a very impressive 4.6 seconds – even more impressive when you realise this car is over 5m long and weighs over 2.5 tonnes.
As with all the current Rolls cars, the chassis is an all-aluminium hand-welded affair, offering superior strength but with vastly reduced weight. But no corners have been cut – and will ever be cut – when it comes to the interior finish, where only hides from bulls reared on high German pastures are deemed suitable for the acres of leather required, and sustainably sourced timbers from around the world (including teak from their own new-grown woods) are brought in and carefully hand-tooled and matched to produce mirror-finish veneered panels.
Whilst their manufacturing traditions are plain to see, the company has nevertheless embraced modern automotive technologies. The Wraith augments its dynamic suspension and automatic gear-change with GPS data to provide what they call “Satellite Aided Transmission”, where knowledge of the road ahead is employed to pre-select both gear and suspension settings to enhance the famous smoothness of ride even further.
Rolls-Royce were proud to announce the sale over 3600 cars in 2012, a new record for the 108-year-old company, proving that regardless of the economic recession, there is always a market for the very last word in automotive luxury.