Motoring Writer IAN LAMMING brings an air of grace and decorum to the world in a Rolls-Royce Wraith
BE PREPARED; be prepared for adulation; be prepared for some resentment; be prepared to give people a lot of lifts and pose for even more selfies.
In a Rolls-Royce it is impossible to fly under the radar, avoid provoking a reaction or slip by unnoticed; you just can’t.
It is equally impossible not to feel good about yourself, whether or not you own the car, are behind the wheel or in any of the passenger seats. If the world was a better place, Rolls-Royces would be available on the NHS as an alternative to anti-depressants. They are the answer to continued and improving mental health and wellbeing.
They have this effect across the board, among the young and the old, the well off and among those folk where meeting ends is a continued struggle.
So Wraith glides past a school at home time and countless teenagers whip out their top of the range mobiles to snap and video the striking coupe, even though few will ever be able to order one.
Among the mid-range professionals, friends queue to be chauffeured around the block, giggling like children at the thrill of the ride.
Then there is father, now in his 90s, who tells me he can now die happy after a flit in the Roller – though his wife does suggest he might like to continue living for her sake.
Wraith floats spectrally wherever it is pointed yet has so much substance that it stops the world in its tracks.
From the moment the car is unlocked on the plip and the illuminated Spirit of Ecstasy rises triumphantly from the pantheon radiator surround, all is well with life.
Go for the door handle and there is nothing there. Move your quizzical gaze forward towards the front wing and there is the chrome door furniture ready to open the side of this eye-catching coupe in reverse – so different, so Rolls-Royce.
Inside isn’t just a brave new world it’s a veritable galaxy thanks to the fibre-optic crystal headcloth. Apparently it’s the constellation seen on a starry night above Goodwood, complete with eight randomly-triggered shooting stars. It’s the perfect antidote to a dull day and useful to passengers wanting to read by night. If you wonder why Rolls-Royce provide this spectacle, it’s because they can.
To the casual observer the interior is lavish, but to an expert eye, for instance a school mum who works at an auction house as a valuer, it is exquisite. Apparently the embossed leather is outstanding, the stitch-work delectable, the wood trim exemplary. Attention to detail extends to the self-righting wheel centres which make sure the Rolls-Royce monogram stands proudly upright at all times. Obsessional! I love it.
For a fast-becoming crusty like myself the inside is delightfully retro too. There is a dashboard display linked to a moniker decorated controller for some roles, such as satnav. But there are knobs and buttons galore for the primary functions, chrome plungers for the airvents and gorgeous white faced clocks which could have come from an upmarket jewellers.
And that stripe down the side? Well, only one dedicated craftsman is entrusted for the final aesthetic task – the Rolls-Royce coachline. He uses a special custom-made, 4mm-wide brush to create a single fluid line that can stretch up to six-metres, painted by hand over three hours with unrivalled precision. That’s what you are paying for!
Comfort levels are off the scale, whether you are behind the wheel, riding shotgun or in the two rear seats. It’s a place to lounge, to travel in exclusive comfort, to be transported long distances.
But unlike its other siblings, Wraith is the first Rolls-Royce in which I’m more than happy just to do the driving. Claim to fame? It’s the most powerful Rolls-Royce they make.
While remaining a very large car, it is just so manageable. I’m as happy to take it down narrow country lanes as I am along fast highways. It never feels over-sized or unwieldy and that includes reversing into tight spaces.
The magic carpet ride remains but helm responses are much sharper and when the mood suits, Wraith can be hustled through the bends. Thanks to state of the art air suspension it feels sporty and dynamic. Wraith even predicts the road ahead using satellite communication technology, and selects the correct gear from the eight-speed transmission for the conditions. How clever is that?
Wraith is an uber-posh GT and has the performance to match. The 6.6 litre turbocharged V12 develops 601PS and 850 Nm of torque, enough to hurl almost 2.4 tonnes of motor into the stratosphere, or a least to 60mph in 4.4 seconds and a governed top speed of 155mph.
Those very sleek but relatively slim headlamps do an amazing job of lighting up the road ahead at night as your favourite tunes jump the gap from your mobile to the incredible 18 speaker Bespoke Audio hi-fi.
Most of the time everyone is just prepared; prepared to pose, prerpared to accept the adulation; prepared to enjoy the lift of a lifetime and prepared to pose for even more selfies – and what’s wrong with that? Absolutely nothing.
Engine: 6.6 litre turbocharged V12
Top speed: 155mph
Combined MPG: 21.9
Transmission: eight-speed automatic
CO2 g/km: 365
Price: £345,000.00 (incl. options)