Making an elegantly energized debut in Geneva, the 2014 Rolls-Royce Wraith rolled into the Swiss limelight enshrined with the laurels of being the most powerful and dynamic vehicle in the company's distinguished history. Resurrecting a name first used by the British luxury car maker in 1938, this striking fastback coupe is based on a scaled-down version of the platform used for the firm's "entry-level" Ghost sedan. However, its unique design features and capabilities complement exceptional opulence with objective performance that had Torsten Müller-Ötvös, CEO Rolls-Royce Motor Cars dub it "the ultimate gentlemen's gran turismo."

Shorter overall by some 5.1 inches than the Ghost and with a sweeping roofline that's 1.7 inches lower, the new Wraith also has 7.2 inches less wheelbase than the standard Ghost model. Combined with crisply rendered bodywork, a more deeply recessed grille and evolved version of the classic Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament, those dimensional tweaks help bolster its sense of aggressively well-measured proportion. The look is further set off by 20-inch alloy wheels (or optional 21-inch upgrades) and a two-tone paint scheme that Rolls says hints at a nautical theme.

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Pop the hood on the Wraith and you'll find the hottest version yet of the automaker's 6.7-liter twin-turbocharged V12. Tuned here to make 624 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque (output units in Ghost spec are 563/575, respectively) and backed by an 8-speed ZF automatic transmission that sends power to the rear wheels, it can propel the 5,203-lb Wraith from 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds and carry it to an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph.

To better exploit that extra might, Rolls engineers upgraded the Wraith's suspension, retaining the outstanding ride compliance but reducing the amount of body roll in corners and tweaking the steering to provide more effort at higher speeds and less when you're navigating through parking lots or city traffic. Even the gear-changing process has been optimized through the introduction of Satellite Aided Transmission (SAT) technology. SAT uses GPS data from the on-board navigation system to "see" the terrain up ahead and then automatically select the proper cog based on a given driver's location and current driving style.

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Inside, the cabin of the new Wraith features its own kind of people-pampering pleasures starting with four individual seats covered in supple Phantom-grade leather and set off with an expanse of matched Canadel Paneling, an open-pore light wood that Rolls says recalls the look of a luxury yacht. The Starlight Headliner -- formerly a Phantom-and-above option that uses 1,340 individual fiber optic lights also can be added to the Wraith. Also on hand is a new Spirit of Ecstasy rotary controller that offers iPad-like functionality, state-of-the-art connectivity with voice-activated navigation that includes real-time traffic, a head-up display, 1,300-watt premium audio system, active cruise control, 360-degree surround view camera, the Advanced Crash Management system and loads more.

Deliveries of the 2014 Rolls-Royce Wraith will start in fourth quarter, and European pricing will start at €245,000 ($318,700). U.S. specific information on the car will be released at a later date.


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