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The Top Gear car review:Rolls-Royce Wraith
For:Incredible road presence, sumptuous interior, (largely) effortless driving experience
Against:Not as sporting as you might hope. A wee bit big, too
What is it?
The Wraith is billed as “the most powerful and dynamic Rolls-Royce in history”. The first bit is easily dealt with: a turbocharged 6.6-litre V12 sends 624bhp to the rear wheels, ten per cent more power than you’ll find even in the new Phantom and Cullinan.
As for the most dynamic? Well, you’d argue that’s not difficult, given Rolls has long mastered the art of hefty, comfy cars that are designed to soothe not scintillate. But the Wraith is based upon the Ghost limo, so it’s hardly got a sporting chassis at its core, though its rear axle has been widened and its wheelbase shortened.
“The car’s suspension has also been tuned to minimise body roll and discreetly amplify feedback when cornering,” says Rolls, “while steering weight is heavier at high speeds and lighter at low speeds adding to the spirited drive.”
Achieving those high speeds ought to be a doddle; with two turbos, the Wraith has a ginormous 590lb ft of torque available from 1,500rpm, enough to shift its 2.4 tonnes to 60mph in 4.4secs. Quicker than hot hatches with not dissimilar power-to-weight ratios, and quite startling to experience in something with lambs’ wool floor mats.
Indeed, it may be the most sporting Rolls ever, but it’s still dripping in luxury. There are four finely proportioned seats, sumptuous materials across most surfaces and head- and leg-room aplenty, even in the rear. Don’t worry, the front seats electrically whirr forward to allow anyone climbing into the back some extra grace.
Its £250,000 starting price really is just the start, too. Few Rolls-Royces leave the Goodwood factory without first having been made fully bespoke to their buyer’s needs; colour-matched inside and out, fibre-optic star headlining fitted, the full works. Half the fun of having a Rolls-Royce isn’t driving it (or being driven in it), but the buying process itself.
The Wraith is now one of the oldest Rolls-Royces on sale, having arrived in 2013. The Ghost it’s spun from landed in 2010, and its drop-top sibling – the Dawn – started production in 2015. While the new-generation Phantom is sold only as a saloon, the Wraith is the car of choice if you want your Rolls-Royce to take the form of a two-door coupe.