Published on February 26th, 2013 | by Seán Ward0
Rolls Royce Wraith – The Story So Far
With the press release came a smokey image of the Spirit of Ecstasy, and information from RR CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös on what journalists and car fans should expect with the new model: “Expect the boldest design, the most dramatic performance and the most powerful Rolls Royce that has ever played host to the Spirit of Ecstasy figurine.”
The Wraith name, first used in 1938, “alludes to an almost imperceptible but powerful force, something rare, agile, and potent, a spirit that will not be tethered to the Earth,” Ötvös continued.
Very bold statements indeed, but the rest of the press release went further, saying: “When you encounter the Wraith, your world stands still as it whispers by. It possesses an unmistakable presence but is difficult, if not impossible, to corral. It defies attempts to contain it.”
Interesting, but very little in the way of substance, so Rolls Royce said they would release four further official images, each with a little more information on the design and power, ahead of its launch at Geneva on the 7th March.
The first image came four days after the initial press release with the title “In Profile”. The “Graceful silhouette gives expression to a bold and thoroughly contemporary luxury motor car. Flowing lines hint at extraordinary power and dynamic promise of the most powerful Rolls Royce in history.”
With this statement, however, came no performance, output or even engine size figures, just more statements of how the car has a “lust for adventure” and, once again, how your world would stand still when you saw it.
Even the second image, one which was entitled “Power, Style, Drama,” released on the 13th February, had no figures to accompany it.
But the image did at least further back up Rolls Royce’s statement that this would be the most menacing and performance orientated car they have ever made. It looks wider than any current RR – if that’s even possible – and the rear window is slimmer and lower than ever before. Also, the fact that the exhausts are highlighted further shows that this will be the ‘swiftest’ RR built.
Best of all was Rolls Royce impression of what Sir Henry Royce would make of the new car. Having famously said, when asked how much power his original cars had, they were “Adequate, Sir,” RR believes that he would now say “More than ample.” Lovely.
The third instalment came with two pictures, and was released on the 19th February, entitled “Style”. The two pictures detailed the inside of one of the doors and the beautiful RR clock. The Wraith “features a luxurious, contemporary interior to compliment the poise of its exterior styling. Luxury and hand craftsmanship work in harmony.”
But the best sentence for any of the pictures describes the dash: “The horseshoe sweep of Wraith’s cabin also echoes the cove at Le Canadel in the South of France where Sir Henry Royce and his design team spent their winters.” Is that not the greatest sentence ever to be written in a press release? Only Rolls Royce.
The final picture hints at the “Wraith’s defining element”: The Fastback.
Giles Taylor, Rolls Royce’s Design Director said that “Inherent in the graceful line that sweeps from the top of the screen to the very rear edge is the promise of fast, yet effortless touring.
“It works with a strong sense of linear purpose from the shoulder line, which has the promise of potential like the athlete in the starting blocks.”
What to make of it all then? Well, we can only guess at the figures, but given how much of a fuss is being made that this is the most powerful Rolls ever, it will eclipse the 563 bhp of the Ghost. But will it be more than 600 bhp? Somehow, 600 bhp seems very unlike Rolls, perhaps it’s time for the RR brand to change slightly.
Another issue is weight, as the words ‘carbon fibre’ haven’t appeared in any of the releases, so it can be assumed that it will weigh about the same as the yacht Sir Henry used to get to that cove in Le Canadel.
Still, there’s only one week to go – time enough to wonder if anyone will ever drift a Wraith round a field…