Rolls-Royce Wraith 2014 review

2 Dec, 2013 9:45am Luke Madden

Rolls-Royce Wraith is powerful and luxurious but can it justify its astronomical price?


The Rolls-Royce Wraith could be driven for years with no complaints. A sporty coupe it is not, but it’s less anonymous than the Ghost, less unwieldy than the Phantom and better to drive than both. But when you can get a top-spec S-Class for £100k less it’s hard to justify.

The ultimate test of the fastest, most powerful Rolls-Royce has to be in the UK, doesn’t it? It was impressive on Austrian roads , but UK soil is where the Wraith should thrive – and it does.

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Immediately noticeable is the way it makes bumpy roads feel marble-smooth, 70mph cruises seem like gentle 30mph meanders and tricky overtakes feel like passing a milkfloat.

Key to all this is the bespoke engineering that goes into each Wraith, including the 6.6-litre twin-turbo V12 under its bonnet. It produces 624bhp, giving a 0-62mph time of 4.6 seconds.

Essentially it’s a more powerful version of the engine in the Ghost, and you’ll notice some styling similarities between the two cars as well.

It’s not simply a Ghost coupé, though; the Wraith has wider tracks, a shorter wheelbase and a lower roofline. With that in mind, it has more of a sporting emphasis than any other Rolls, but you don’t really notice this. You’re so well isolated from the road surface that you never feel entirely confident in pushing the limits. It’s not that it can’t handle corners, because it can – you just have to learn to trust it.

The luxurious refinement and ride only make up half of the Wraith’s appeal; the other half is the design inside and out.

Your feet sink into the deep carpets, your hands glide across the supple leather and the
perforated rooflining, with 1,390 optional hand-woven fibre optic ‘stars’, adds real drama.

The stretched proportions may not appeal to everyone but to our eyes they work perfectly, and you’ll notice pedestrians and road users alike will slow down to take the Wraith’s styling in.

Yet while the gap between Rolls-Royce engineering and, say, Mercedes S-Class engineering, is narrowing, the price gap is still just as wide. The Wraith is excellent in every way, but many of its attributes can be had elsewhere for a lot less money.

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I think that using the word 'justify' when looking at a car like this and its price is a bit clumsy at best. Since only a very, very small number of readers (or journos) if any at all, will ever be in the market to buy something like this, price and value for money are rendered irrelevant. It's not a consumer report or a price comparison website. I doubt that anyone wanting to buy one would even glance at this road test, and why should they? Surely, it's better to just tell us what it's like and leave the justifying to those whose bank balances permit its purchase.

If you are interested in an ostentatious in your face statement like a roller, then a subtle S class is not going to be on your shopping list. Idiot comparison, using straight logic like that then half the car makers might as well give up now. Can Autoexpress writers get any more stupid?

AE, stop banging on about the price - you just don't seem to get it.

This review misses the point completely. Comparisons are futile, since no other manufacturer puts the goal post so near perfection. Mercedes build the best car they can market in an price range where their research tells them they will make enough sales for the bean-counters to be happy.

Rolls Royce make the best car they can conceive, as a blank canvas for their customers to specify materials and finishes they desire. Limousine companies do buy "off the peg" RR cars, but the other clients very rarely do.

Mercedes did attempt to compete with RR, with their Maybach project which was a crushing failure. Mercedes simply cannot do what RR do. Mercedes tried to work along the lines you have taken, comparing the S Class with RR and trying to add the necessary to become comparable with RR. They pulled out. They do not have a car comparable with RR. Your thinking that you know better is misguided.

If you have to think about the price of an RR you cannot afford one. Nor understand one.

Perhaps we could give one to the poor and starving children of Africa and save them the walk to the well.

Let's leave envy to one side.

Really like the styling on all rollers, they manage to say both nothing and everything at the same time...looks a bit like a 4 seater veyron.

Very well done BMW as far as I am concerned

Key specs

  • Price: £235,000
  • Engine: 6.6-litre V12 twin-turbo
  • Power: 624bhp
  • Transmission: Eight-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
  • 0-62mph: 4.6 seconds
  • Top speed: 155mph
  • Economy: 20.2mpg
  • CO2: 327g/km
  • Equipment: Satellite-aided transmission, soft-close doors, heated leather seats, hard drive
  • On sale: Now