by Michael Butler
Rolls-Royce is one of the top manufacturers of ultra-luxury vehicles catering to the ultra-rich and famous who are looking for something more exclusive than what's on offer from German contemporaries such as Mercedes-Maybach and native rival Bentley. The Wraith is the most performance-oriented Rolls-Royce vehicle on offer, and its sleek GT-style body design hints at powerful performance and dynamic capability. Unlike others who adorn their performance-focused cars within garish carbon fiber bits, big air intakes, and adaptive spoilers, the Wraith keeps things classy, by merely utilizing a powerful 6.6-liter twin-turbo V12 engine producing 624 horsepower and 605 lb-ft of torque, as well as a recalibrated suspension setup. The Wraith has seen minor changes over its lifespan, including the addition of extra equipment. The Rolls-Royce Wraith goes up against the likes of the Bentley Continental GT and Mercedes-AMG S63 Coupe.
The Rolls Royce Wraith has been around since 2013 and is based on the chassis of the Rolls Royce Ghost. When it was first launched, it was deemed the most powerful Rolls Royce to have ever been produced. Since its launch, the Wraith has retained the same power plant, transmission and power outputs, but has seen the addition of modernized safety systems such as night vision assist and adaptive cruise control. For 2020 Rolls Royce introduces the Wraith Eagle VIII which is inspired by the first nonstop transatlantic flight. This car gets a gray two-tone exterior, a custom headliner, and the exclusivity that comes with only 50 units being built.
6.6-liter Twin-Turbo V12 Gas
If there were ever a modern-day car for Hollywood movie villains, it would be the Rolls-Royce Wraith. It is almost comically good looking with its sweeping lines and bold front end design that won't ever be mistaken for anything other than a Rolls. The Wraith employs Rolls-Royce's classic design style of using 2:1 proportions of wheel to roof height, along with long overhangs to create something that looks part limousine, part fastback GT bullet train. Cruella de Vil would have one in black and white. Once you get over the striking looks and dig a bit deeper, the Wraith reveals several premium features such as a set of 20-inch wheels that can be upped to 21-inches. There are also a multitude of wheel options to choose from, including seven-spoke Diamond Turned wheels and our favorite, the 21-inch ten-spoke part polished wheels. Other exterior features include those trademark rear-hinged doors, LED headlights with auto-leveling, and auto-dimming side mirrors.
The Rolls-Royce Wraith is based on the same platform as the Rolls-Royce Ghost, and by default, the BMW 7 Series, but in this case, Rolls-Royce has shortened the wheelbase and made the rear axle a tad wider in order to aid the handling characteristics of this performance-orientated model. Total length is measured at 208.1 inches, and the Wraith sits 76.7 inches wide. The Wraith stands 59.3 inches tall and rolls on a 122.5-inch wheelbase. The fact that the Rolls-Royce Wraith carries with it a five-star hotel's lobby worth of luxury features doesn't do much for weight savings: curb weight is a massive 5,380 pounds.
There's absolutely no point in hiding the fact that you drive a Rolls-Royce; unlike full-size German luxury cars such as the Mercedes-Benz S-Class or BMW 7 Series, which can be camouflaged in a coat of black paint, the Rolls-Royce Wraith will stand out like a sore thumb no matter how you try to conceal its character, so you might as well go all out. Rolls-Royce offers the Wraith in your choice of sixteen standard colors. For those who want to go down the basic path, Rolls-Royce offers Black Diamond, English White, and Jubilee Silver. After that, things start to get interesting: oil barons will appreciate Petra Gold, and Columbian drug lords will love the Wraith in Scala Red. The Silver Spirit of Ecstasy can be coated in Silver, Gold, or carbon fiber, and there's also the option of getting a single or double coachline painted on the side of the Wraith. There are also a number of two-tone paint options on offer, as well as special order color finishes, such as iced and crystal.
Most people think of Rolls-Royce cars as big and bloated luxury limousines that are purely designed for wafting well-to-do individuals from fundraiser to charity ball, but Rolls-Royce has always placed significant importance on the performance side of their cars, after all, they've been involved in motorsport for over a century, and have been active in endurance racing in recent years. The Wraith is the standout performance model of the Rolls-Royce range, and offers impressive performance, especially when you consider its substantial curb weight, which rivals most SUVs. Under the sweeping hood lies a twin-turbocharged 6.6-liter V12 engine producing 624 hp, which is enough to make the Wraith feel seriously fast. In town, the big Rolls drives with effortless poise, and the slight give in the throttle pedal makes it easy to modulate at lower speeds - but step on it, and the Wraith comes alive with fury. Highway cruising is a pleasure, and there is tons of overtaking power on offer. Rolls-Royce claims a zero to sixty sprint time of 4.4 seconds.
It takes a lot to get a near five and a half thousand-pound car to move at a rate of speed worthy of being deemed fast by modern standards, but that is exactly what the Rolls-Royce Wraith accomplishes. So what's the secret behind getting this Brit to pull up its socks and make a run for it? The secret lies in a large capacity V12 engine with a little help from two turbochargers. The 6.6-liter V12 engine in the Wraith uses two turbochargers to produce 624 hp and a massive 605 lb-ft of torque. When driving the Wraith hard, it's that torque figure that shines through. Available from as low as 1,500 rpm, the massive dose of torque hits hard and continues to push the Wraith forward with a seemingly endless supply of power. It is also worth mentioning that this engine sounds simply divine under hard acceleration. Power is sent to the wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission that is aided by satellite positioning, which reads the road ahead and delivers seamless gear changes.
When Rolls-Royce announces a performance model, you can expect it to be fast, but with a tendency to build overweight cars, most will never think that handling capabilities will be razor-sharp - after all, the Wraith weighs more than some SUVs. Rolls-Royce knows full-well what they were dealing with when they set up the chassis and suspension dynamics of the Wraith. An advanced adaptive suspension system not only smoothes out the most imperceptible of road imperfections, but it also keeps this land boat reasonably flat in the corners when pushing on. When driving like gentry, the Wraith is an accomplished cruiser and, at higher speeds, transforms into a GT bombshell. If the need arises, the Wraith can do cornering, but with limited success. The best way to take corners in the Wraith is to enter corners slowly, and then use the masses of torque on offer to punch out of them like a triple-figure slingshot.
At this level, people will buy cars regardless of fuel economy, so this section is reserved purely for those who have a fetish for reading horrid statistics, or for those who are planning a road trip to their five-country houses scattered across the US and need to pinpoint gas stations along the way. The EPA rates the Rolls-Royce Wraith at 12/18/14 mpg city/highway/combined. That figure sounds even worse when you consider the fact that a four-wheel-drive Cadillac Escalade with a 6.2-liter V8 engine will get 14/21/17 mpg. Yikes.
The handsome exterior design and burly V12 engine are impressive points on a long list of highlights, but the star of the show has to be the impeccably appointed interior of the Rolls-Royce Wraith. It is a well-known fact that, in general, German manufacturers such as BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz produce some of the best interiors in the automotive world, but even they can't hold a candle to the creations brought to life by Rolls-Royce. Once you're inside the cabin of the Wraith, one is instantly transported to a six-star hotel lobby: the space exudes luxury on a level few will ever get to experience. Those lucky enough to get a ticket to this ride will be enveloped in sumptuous leather and real wood, as well as standard interior features such as eight-way power-adjustable front seats, dual-zone climate control, and heated and ventilated everything.
The Rolls-Royce Wraith offers seating for four, and each occupant is offered their own bucket seat, which is a special touch, and adds even further to its GT cruiser image: the Wraith isn't your old-world limousine, it's here to party. Drivers of most sizes will be able to find a comfortable position behind the steering wheel thanks to a power-adjustable steering column and power-adjustable seating, but unfortunately, visibility out of the front and back isn't great, which necessitates the use of the rearview camera when reversing. Taller drivers will fit easily, and the hinged rear doors are a tremendous help for those trying to get in the back.
Cruising along on the highway, the Rolls-Royce Wraith keeps the decibels to a minimum; you'd swear you were cruising on a first-class flight, minus the rumble of jet engines - it's that quiet. To supplement this level of tranquil bliss, Rolls-Royce envelops the cabin in class-leading materials and luxurious surfaces that are hard to find anywhere else in the motoring universe. The leather seats in the Wraith can be had in combinations of Dark Spice, Consort Red, Tan, Oatmeal, Moccasin, as well as Creme Light and Seashell, but for hip hop stars, and Jeff Lowe from the Tiger King series, Rolls-Royce offers the Wraith with crazy leather colors such as Tailored Purple, Turchese, and Mandarin. Wood insert options include Walnut Burr, Smoked Chestnut, and Paldao.
Large grand tourers are expected to do a few things exceptionally well; these include driving fast over long distances in good comfort and offering enough trunk space to make long-distance road trips viable. It is ironic, then, that the Wraith has a good amount of trunk space, but the gas drinking habits of Ozzy Osbourne in his prime, which means your road trips are going to be cut seriously short, even when you drive with a light foot. Lift the trunk lid, and you're offered 16.6 cubic feet of trunk space, which sounds like a lot, but a narrow opening limits the size of objects you can fit. At least it offers more space than its rival, the Bentley Continental GT, which only gets 13 cubic feet.
Full-size luxury sedans and coupes are offering more and more tech features these days, which, at a point, becomes truly overwhelming. This is undoubtedly the case with cars such as the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and Audi A8. This might be considered advancement, but for some, it is just plain overkill. Rolls-Royce has a good understanding of offering the right amount of equipment without going overboard. After all, the Rolls-Royce Wraith is supposed to be a relaxing GT cruiser with a bit of pace and not an AI-assisted rocket ship. The list of standard features on the Wraith includes eight-way power-adjustable front seats, dual-zone climate control, and heated and ventilated front and rear seats. Feet are rested on available pure lambswool rugs, and the headliner can either be had in cashmere, or in what Rolls-Royce calls a starlight headliner consisting of up to 1,600 fiber optic lights. On the tech side of things, the Wraith offers a standard head-up display, a surround-view camera system, night vision assist, as well as a comfort key entry system that can control seat adjustments, steering wheel position, and head-up display settings.
Rolls-Royce has been saved from having to develop its own infotainment system and borrows it from BMW. What's more, this easy-to-use system gets bespoke knobs and buttons, so you never feel as if you're interacting with what would otherwise be a BMW 3 Series touchscreen. This system offers the basics but loses out on modern essentials such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. Standard infotainment features include Bluetooth streaming, integrated navigation with real-time traffic assist, as well as Wi-Fi connectivity. The 18-speaker sound system found inside the cabin of the Wraith makes use of external microphones to enhance sound clarity by automatically adjusting the speakers to compensate for exterior noise. This sound system sounds absolutely amazing, and we loved blasting Breaking the Law by Judas Priest at max volume.
There's a common assumption that big and expensive British luxury cars are bound to fall to pieces as soon as they leave the showroom floor, but under the guidance of BMW, Rolls-Royce cars of late have proven to be reliable machines. The Rolls-Royce Wraith has not been recalled in the past three years. Rolls-Royce will back the Wraith with a four-year/unlimited-mile basic warranty, a six-year/unlimited-mile corrosion warranty, as well as a four-year/unlimited drivetrain warranty and a four-year roadside assistance plan.
If you think that the NHTSA or IIHS would even dare to look at a Rolls-Royce Wraith, you're sorely mistaken. The Wraith has not been crash-tested in America, and we doubt that anyone else has attempted to smash one of these beauties; besides, if you smash your Wraith, the will to live will surely wane. With no information available, and very limited knowledge on offer on how the rest of the Rolls range performs, we can only guess at how safe it will keep its occupants. The BMW 7 Series, which shares its platform with the Wraith, is a supremely safe car thanks to multitudes of driver assistance features, but these are missing on the Wraith.
The untested Wraith comes with a complement of modern driver assistance features and traditional safety equipment. The basics are covered by performance-oriented traction control, a stability control system, as well as brake assist and a six airbag system that includes a front driver's side knee airbag and rear head airbags. Driver assistance features include lane-departure warning, front and rear parking sensors, available adaptive cruise control, night vision, and a head-up display. Unfortunately, the Wraith doesn't adopt the BMW 7 Series' vast number of tech systems, and things like blind-spot monitoring and forward collision avoidance don't make the list.
There is very little to truly compare the Wraith to. The Bentley Continental GT is one of the closer rivals, but it pales in comparison to the Wraith when you look at the overall package and the ability to stir emotion. We appreciate the fact that Rolls-Royce has stuck to its guns when designing and building the Wraith; it's unashamedly obnoxious in a way that can be universally appreciated and doesn't for one second pretend that it's something other than a six-figure six-star highway bomber. The exterior of this fastback GT cruiser is handsome, to say the least, and we think it combines modern looks and Rolls-Royce tradition very elegantly. The 6.6-liter V12 engine under the hood is an absolute brute that has a deceptive nature and loves to be pushed once the road opens up. The road comfort is second to none, and you'll be able to have some fun in the bends as well. Inside, the Wraith is something else: we are yet to experience anything else that offers the kind of refinement and sheer luxury. It's big, brash, and beautiful. Long live the Wraith.
With a price tag that will make Columbian drug lords' eyes water, the Rolls-Royce Wraith doesn't hold back on the bill; after all, you've got to pay to play. The Rolls-Royce Wraith will set you back an insane $320,500, and that's without even whispering a word about options, which should see the Wraith's asking price easily creep over the $400k mark. So how does this price compare with the competition? Let's just say that for the price of the Wraith, you could afford nearly two Mercedes-AMG S63s, which is arguably just as comfortable, and offers much more tech. The Bentley Continental GT is almost $120,000 cheaper. We should've invested in bitcoin at the start.
There's only one model on offer here, but the Wraith is basically a blank canvas for the ultra-rich to paint whichever color they wish, both literally and figuratively. So what do you get for your money? Only one of the best GT cars on offer today. The exterior features 20-inch wheels, LED lighting, and paint color options that will bankrupt most average Americans. Under the hood, the Wraith gives a knockout blow with its 6.6-liter twin-turbocharged V12 engine, and the combination of satellite assisted transmission and adaptive suspension means you get one of the smoothest rides out there. The interior features bespoke leather seats with eight-way power adjustment and front and rear ventilation and heating, and there's also a two-zone climate control system included. The infotainment system is borrowed from BMW and offers integrated navigation, satellite radio, and Wi-Fi streaming capability. Standard driver assistance features include lane-departure warning, front and rear parking sensors, as well as night vision assist.
The Rolls-Royce Wraith looks like a mighty impressive package to the average man on the street, but to those with the bucks to buy one, it allows for total freedom of expression: you will never see two identical Wraith cars, unless it's specified as such. The color and wheel options are extensive, but when it comes to the interior, there is a seemingly endless number of material options available. Rolls-Royce also offers optional packages that consist of set additional features. The Interior Detailing Package, for instance, includes seat piping, contrast stitching, and custom treadplates. The Exterior Detailing Package adds a single pinstripe, body-colored wheel centers, and a special order exterior paint color. The Ultimate Touring Package consists of features such as a black outer two-tone steering wheel, front ventilated seats, and 21-inch ten-spoke fully polished wheels. The Rolls-Royce Signature Package adds bespoke audio, a starlight headliner, an RR monogram to all headrests, and lambswool foot mats.
Well, there's only one on offer, so you don't really get a choice. As we've said before, the Wraith is an extremely expensive blank canvas, and most owners spend hours upon hours with Rolls-Royce consultants planning out the exterior and interior details. If in some alternate universe, we had enough money to buy a Rolls-Royce Wraith, we would first get it painted in British Racing Green and opt for the larger 21-inch wheels in whatever design fancied us at the time. The interior would be a mix of beige and Burlwood to keep with the old-world feel of the entire package. Speaking of packages, we would definitely go for the optional Rolls-Royce Signature Package, which adds bespoke audio, a starlight headliner, and lambswool foot mats, just for the fun of it.
Most will at one point mix up Rolls-Royce and Bentley, after all, they're both British, and they both manufacture some of the most luxurious cars on planet earth. What separates Bentley from Rolls-Royce is about $100,000 and finer attention to detail, but both brands offer exquisite products. The Bentley equivalent of the Wraith is the Continental GT; a pure pred GT car that offers blistering performance and great luxury. The Continental GT is powered by either a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 producing 542 hp and 568 lb-ft of torque, or a 6.0-liter twin-turbo W12 with 626 hp and 664 lb-ft. The Bentley is by far the faster car, accelerating to sixty in only 3.6 seconds with its most powerful engine in play. The Bentley is also a more agile performer in the corners, but can't match the Wraith for smooth driving. Inside, the Bentley is an oasis of style and comfort, and we prefer it's more contemporary take, but the Wraith offers a more extensive choice of customization. As with the Wraith, the Continental is very thirsty, but not to the exact same extent as the Rolls, and the rear is rather cramped. Still, at the price, we'd rather go with the Bentley.
The Mercedes-Benz S-Class is a world-renowned piece of machinery that represents the pinnacle of German engineering to many. So how do you improve on that impressive CV? By adding the letters A, M, and G to the title. The Mercedes-AMG S63 Coupe is a serious beast that not only looks the part, but offers supercar levels of performance as well. Under the hood, you'll find a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 that belts out 603 hp and 664 lb-ft of torque. The S63 is a much lighter car and naturally performs better than the Wraith. On the road, it feels as composed as can be, and the cabin is beautifully insulated. Speaking of, the cabin of the S63 comes close to offering the same level of refinement, but we think it looks better than that of the Wraith. Where the biggest difference comes in is in terms of features. Whereas the Rolls offers only the basics, the S63 overwhelms with tons of cutting edge tech ranging from ambient LED interior lighting and wireless phone charging, to pedestrian detection and traffic sign recognition. The S63 Coupe comes close to offering the drama and presence of the Wraith for much less money, and for that reason, we'd go with the Merc.
Check out some informative Rolls-Royce Wraith video reviews below.