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2016 Rolls-Royce Wraith Overview
It’s a dramatic masterpiece personified in the form of a coupe. It's best imagined emerging from some midnight mist like a long-lost prince. Or surfacing from dark waters like a hunting shark. This might be hyperbole when discussing some cars, but not the 2016 Rolls-Royce Wraith.
The 2-door Wraith is a descendant of the 4-door Rolls-Royce Ghost and is built on a modified BMW 7-Series platform. But the truth is the Wraith is one of a kind, and, like the Rolls marketing materials proclaim, “designed to redefine boundaries.” With all the bespoke options and the 450 hours it takes to craft each Wraith (much of that done by hand), each of these $300,000 beauties has its own touch of unique.
The Wraith was introduced in 2014, and there are no major changes for the 2016 model year.
Beneath the Wraith’s long and handsome hood lies the most powerful engine Rolls-Royce has ever built. The 6.6-liter twin-turbo V12 produces 624 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque and can propel the 5,203-pound luxury coupe from 0 to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds. The 8-speed automatic ZF transmission uses GPS to make ideal gear choices, but that technology does little to help fuel efficiency, which stands at 13 mpg city/21 highway/15 combined.
That most-powerful engine helps create the most engaging driving experience Rolls-Royce has ever delivered. Yes, the electronically-controlled air suspension creates a floating, royal ride, the steering is feather light, and the cabin is whisper quiet; but the massive Wraith will hunker down and grip pavement even when pushed into corners at speed. It may not have the athleticism of a Bentley GT (the only vehicle that really comes to close to being a peer), but the Wraith can certainly perform when called upon.
That performance and power is personified by the fastback rear styling. This sporty slope creates a stunning silhouette that is kept pristinely balanced by the 2:1 proportions of body-to-wheel height. The rear-hinged coach doors add another layer of unique sophistication--and drama--to that side view when they swing open from front to back, a movement that also eases entry into the rear seats.
The cabin, as one would expect, is plush and swank while remaining elegant. The front seats offer deep comfort and support while the rear seats do not lack for leg room. Leather experts select only the highest-grade materials before hand stitching the 219 pieces into place. Woodworkers spend up to a month perfecting their material before using it to adorn the Wraith. And these natural elements are stylishly offset by just the right amount of metal trim.
The Wraith has all the technology you might want--WiFi hotspots, lane-keeping assistance, navigation, voice controls, night vision, active cruise control--yet the dash is not cluttered with warning lights and glowing buttons. A knob controlling the infotainment options sits square in the middle of the center console and the cabin seems to radiate out from there in simple and ergonomic grace.
The Rolls-Royce Bespoke program can provide just about any feature you might want, but there some of the specialized options are generally available on the Wraith. For the audiophile, there’s the Wraith Inspired by Music, which has a copper (the metal used in high-end sound systems) theme and a 1,300-watt 18-speaker (2 bass, 7 tweeters, 7 mid-range and 2 subwoofers) sound system. The Wraith Inspired by Fashion uses ultra-luxe fabrics and has unique color options like Tailored Purple, Mugello Red, and Jasmine Green. And for the movie lover, the Wraith Inspired by Film adds more drama to the luxury coupe with unique features like an ebony dashboard veneer.
There are no crash test results for the Wraith (who would have the heart, or money, to perform such tests?), but there’s no doubt it's a safe vehicle. The size alone will help keep Wraith occupants safe, but there’ also force-limiting seat belts, smart airbags that account for occupant size, and the Advanced Crash Management system, which calculates up to 2,000 measurements per second and automatically makes the appropriate adjustments to all systems for the safest possible ride.
After working at gas stations and car washes in high school, driving across the country more than a dozen times and even living on the road in a well-outfitted truck, Tim O'Sullivan finally started putting some of his automotive knowledge to work when he began writing for CarGurus in 2008. He's also an award-winning journalist and the Sports Editor at the Concord (NH) Monitor.
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