Behind the wheel of the imperious Rolls-Royce Wraith, there are no problems. Problems are for other people. All is right with the world when you’re coddled in the leather opulence of the Wraith’s command bridge, reeling in the scenery while looking past the Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament.
The Wraith is Rolls-Royce’s two-door coupe, an automotive sub-species that is typically petite, but that is writ large in this execution. Consider it sort of an automotive Ronda Rousey, who is most likely stronger and more powerful than you are, despite her membership in the allegedly “weaker” sex.
Forget the notion of riding in the back seat as your chauffeur pilots your Rolls-Royce for you: the Wraith is about driving. But it is not about contorting or punishing yourself. It is for driving comfortably, presumably with a beautiful companion in the passenger seat and getaway luggage in the trunk.
There was a time when the Cadillac Eldorado was the prime example of this luxurious genre, but the heyday of outsized personal coupes ended some time in the early ‘70s. That what makes the 624-horsepower V12 Wraith all the more outstanding. It is as if scientists succeeded cloning a mammoth and that extinct giant of another age has triumphantly returned to Earth.
The object here, as described by Rolls-Royce press materials, is to convey the sensation of “riding on a cushion of air.” It does this by using familiar technology in new ways. Anybody can use a GPS to plot a route to a destination. The Wraith uses it to tell the suspension when a curve is approaching, so the car is prepared to respond in the most comfortable way possible.
Then there is the drama of Roller ownership. The doors open backwards! They are hinged at the rear, and the front swings away from the car. These were called suicide doors in the old days because it was feared they could catch the air and fling open rather than being pushed closed by it.
As unexpected as the arrival of a Rolls Royce is anyway, seeing the doors open backward strikes onlookers dumb. Sure, they’ve seen doors that flip upwards; they are on some kids’ modified Honda Civics. But backwards? That’s new.
And seeing the stars at night from inside a convertible is wonderful. But often the weather doesn’t cooperate, and your passenger may not be thrilled about having the wind blow through her hair.
The Wraith’s unexpected solution is 1,340 fiber optic lights embedded into the roof’s liner, providing not only the stunning appearance of a star field from inside the car, but also a soft ambient light for the cabin. It is like having night vision, letting you see with just starlight.
And it makes sense that when you feel like you are floating on a cloud, supported on a cushion of air, that all you’d have overhead would be the stars.