Rolls-Royce Wraith (2013) first official pictures

Published: 05 March 2013

This is the Rolls-Royce Wraith, an imperious super-coupe that will debut today at the 2013 Geneva motor show. It’s the most powerful model Rolls-Royce has ever built, and the price befits that status: the Wraith costs £250,000.

Just how much power does the Rolls-Royce Wraith need to be the most powerful model in this posh British marque’s history?

The Wraith coupe is based on the Ghost limo (itself based on long-wheelbase BMW 7-series) and it uses its siblings twin-turbo 6.6-litre V12. But rather than the Ghost’s 563bhp there’s a wholesome 624bhp. And instead of 575lb ft there’s now 590lb ft, produced from a mere 1500rpm. The 0-62mph sprint (sorry, waft) is dispatched in 4.6 seconds, three-tenths quicker than the Ghost saloon.

Besides the extra oomph, the Wraith also has a wider rear track and shorter wheelbase than the Ghost, and the roofline is lower too, helping lower the centre of gravity. Rolls says that, together with specifically tuned suspension and steering with extra weight at higher speeds, the Wraith has ‘the most powerful, involving driving experience of any Rolls-Royce in history’.

And to help out, there’s Satellite Aided Transmission (SAT) technology. It means the eight-speed ZF auto is linked to the sat-nav system, and based on the Wraith’s GPS position, the road layout ahead, and your driving style, it selects the most appropriate gear.

So this GT big GT has the power, but doesn’t it look like a early Mustang Fastback with a vinyl roof?

There’s no denying the Wraith is an imposing beast, especially with this car’s two-tone paint scheme. Rolls says the ‘tension in the panels and a raked rear screen evoke the image of a world class athlete poised in the starting blocks’ but despite the styling the Wraith still has a saloon-like boot rather than a hatchback.

Perhaps sir or madam will prefer the luxurious leather-lined interior instead of the exterior, accessed by Rolls-Royce’s now-trademark ‘coach’ doors (don’t call them suicide doors). There are four plush seats, and acres of posh wood trim dubbed  ‘Canadel Panelling’ after a cove in the south of France where company founder Sir Henry Royce and his design and engineering team apparently spent their winters. Wonder if the current Rolls r&d team requested the same seasonal sojourn?

Other highlights include Rolls-Royce’s Starlight Headliner – 1340 fibre optic lamps light up the roof lining like the night sky, and until now it’s only been an option on bigger Rolls Phantom models. There’s also a head-up display, adaptive headlights, a keyless-opening boot, an advanced voice command system, plus a new Spirit of Ecstasy Rotary Controller. It uses the same touchpad-style tech found in Audis so you can ‘draw’ letters and numbers into the top of the pad rather than scrolling through a menu on the multimedia screen.

Prices for the new Wraith are expected to start at around £250k, with the first customer deliveries commencing in the final quarter of 2013.

By Ben Pulman

CAR's editor-at-large, co-ordinator, tallboy