DRIVEN: 2014 Rolls-Royce Wraith Driven

September 17, 2013
2014 Rolls Royce Wraith Front Right View
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At the rate it's going, Rolls-Royce will completely ruin its reputation. Fastest Rolls-Royce yet? Trumpeting its 0-to-60-mph time (4.4 seconds)? Boldly proclaiming horsepower and torque when the answer used to be, "It is adequate"? Once the Ghost was launched in 2010, the image of Rolls-Royce as a chauffeur-driven dilettante's car was blown to smithereens. At the time, R-R public affairs boss Richard Carter told us (with tongue firmly in cheek), "Naught to sixty in 4.8 seconds is disturbing. We don't want to be known as sporty. But . . . there you have it."
With the 2014 Wraith, you have even more of it. Based on the Ghost sedan, the Wraith coupe loses 110 pounds and two doors, shrinks a few inches, drops the roof a smidge, and even tucks the Flying Lady down another five degrees against the wind. It's four-tenths of a second quicker to 60 mph than the Ghost, and its engine is tuned to produce an extra 61 hp. While the base Ghost has nineteen-inch wheels, the Wraith comes with twenty-inchers that carry 255/45R-20 front and 285/40R-20 rear Goodyear tires. All this, and the Rolls coupe has lost only 1 mpg in its EPA highway rating compared with the Ghost.
2014 Rolls Royce Wraith Front Right View
We spent some time on the track at Goodwood as well as on the nearby lanes surrounding the Rolls-Royce factory and found the Wraith to be a real dynamo, yet nicely balanced. The light yet direct steering is supplemented by cornering-brake assist, so the car's arc adjusts ever so slightly as a corner tightens. "A gentle guidance," adds ride-along racing driver Gavin Pyper. "It's a very Rolls-Royce way of making the situation better." (These British guys crack me up.) It's actually magic, and we love it.
Now add the avant-garde, crazy-looking tail (and whatever bespoke touches your heart desires), and you have a very special, very luxurious, very speedy beast indeed. With the Wraith, not only has R-R blown off the last shred of granny's nightgown still clinging to the Flying Lady, but the old girl has also copped a brand-new attitude.

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