By Micah Muzio
The Wraith is an ultra-premium coupe lovingly crafted to entice the next generation of super-rich car buyers to the Roll-Royce brand. Large, showy and exceedingly lush, the $289,000 Wraith is absolutely aligned with Rolls-Royce's indulgent credo, yet it's also something new. The Wraith is a more emotional proposition than its larger Ghost and Phantom siblings, as expressed through evocative styling and ever-so-slightly more engaged driving dynamics. If you'd like to convert some of your fortune into a coupe-shaped expression of wealth, the Bentley Continental GT Speed or the Mercedes-Benz S-Class coupe are also worth considering...if you don't already own one of each. But for those who appreciate the best and want to project that fact, the 2014 Rolls-Royce Wraith is the ultimate accessory.
For pure vehicular gravitas, the RR badge can't be beat. The brand is also extremely accommodating of customer requests. So, if you have very specific ideas about how your ultra-luxury car should be equipped, a custom-commissioned Wraith could be the ticket.
Though it moves the Rolls-Royce brand in a previously unexplored direction, the Wraith has a grandiosity that some buyers may find excessive. For better or worse arriving in a Wraith is an attention-getting event. If you prefer to lay low, look elsewhere.
The Rolls-Royce Wraith is all new for 2014.
Driving Impressions The 2014 Wraith isn't a big car by Rolls-Royce standards, but it is big. Consequently, maneuvering it through parking lots and traffic can be disconcerting, especially considering the implications of...... a fender bender. Still, on the open road, the Wraith is an absolute joy, delivering an amazing ride that's insulated from the outside world. We wouldn't want that sort of thing from a sports car, but where the Wraith is concerned, isolation is the entire point. The suspension is unimaginably plush, the cabin supremely quiet at all speeds, the throttle response relaxed, and the exceedingly light steering shares almost no connection with the road. The result is a truly serene driving experience. When asked, the big coupe's 624 horsepower spring to life briskly hauling its 5,400-pound frame to 60 in 4.4 seconds. Quiet, calm and capable, the Rolls-Royce Wraith is like the world's finest day spa in car form.
A headliner glowing with more than 1,400 fiber optic light pipes sounds goofy until you sit in the Rolls-Royce Wraith. Then it seems magical and classy. Pro tip: The lights can be customized to match any night sky you prefer. Just reserve about $20,000 for the privilege.
18-SPEAKER BESPOKE 1300-WATT AUDIO SYSTEM
Forget about the number of speakers, the wattage and the $7,950 price. All you need to know about the Wraith's optional Bespoke Audio system is that it fills the coupe's otherwise tranquil cabin with the most wonderful sounds you'll hear in a car.
The Rolls-Royce Wraith is hand built in Goodwood, England. That hand-crafted quality comes through loud and clear as you explore the exceptional materials and workmanship of this roughly $300,000 car. The feeling of exceptionalism is amplified by details like exquisite wood inlays, organ pull vent controls, and umbrellas that pop out from receptacles that extend into the front fenders from the front doorjambs . For all its loftiness, the interior is still easy to live with. There's a good-sized 16.6-cubic-foot trunk, plenty of passenger space in each of the four seats, and a decent infotainment system to keep occupants entertained and informed.Exterior
With its proud vertical-slat grille, high beltline, and Spirit of Ecstasy statue on the nose, there's no confusing the Wraith for anything other than a Rolls-Royce. As the most "youthful" Rolls-Royce, the Wraith also sports some unique details, prime among them its sloping fastback roofline. Thankfully, the car's striking silhouette does little to hinder rear-seat headroom. Another signature detail is the Wraith's rear-hinged door design. The doors may look cool, but it's nearly impossible to reach the handle to close them when seated. No worries, Rolls-Royce includes a standard button-operated door-close feature.
Unsurprisingly the "basic" $289,000 Rolls-Royce Wraith includes pretty much everything you'd want in a car. Power memory seats, 4-zone climate control, a navigation-equipped infotainment system, and 20-inch wheels with perpetually upright, free-floating logos are all included as standard equipment. A wide variety of interior and exterior color choices are also offered at no extra charge.
While the basic car comes well equipped, there's plenty of room to drive your Wraith's purchase price higher. Standout add-ons include dynamic cruise control, night-vision warning system, lane-departure warning, keyless entry, an $8,000 moonroof, and ventilated front seats with massage. Vehicle customization goes even further with various wood, leather and lamb's wool interior adornments, numerous wheel choices, and the option to illuminate, up-light, or gold plate the Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament. Beyond all that, Rolls-Royce is happy to fulfill nearly any customer request provided you have the necessary funds. So start limbering up your imagination and checkbook.
Power flows from the 2014 Wraith's big 6.6-liter V12 engine through an 8-speed automatic transmission to the rear wheels. Rolls-Royce is proud of the fact that this particular 8-speed is location aware. Using GPS data it knows what the road ahead looks like and supposedly makes shift decisions based on that information. It's a fine concept but when looking to accelerate we found the transmission sometimes downshifted to an intermediary gear before selecting the one most appropriate for our acceleration request. Strange behavior for such an advanced transmission, but all told a minor quibble in what is an otherwise stellar powertrain.
6.6-liter turbocharged V12
624 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
590 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/21 mpg
Including a $1,700 gas guzzler tax and a $2,000 delivery charge, the base price for a 2014 Rolls-Royce Wraith is $288,600. Check all the key option boxes and that price easily rises to around $340,000. Start selecting custom paints, interior treatments and various personalized bits, and the sticker price will rise as high as your bank account allows. Both the Bentley Continental GT Speed and the upcoming Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe offer much lower price tags, but neither can match the sheer presence of a Rolls-Royce Wraith. Given its extremely limited production numbers Kelley Blue Book doesn't have resale data for the Wraith, but let's just assume it won't be the best investment in your portfolio.