By on November 12, 2013

desertside

As part of TTAC’s reboot, we promised you, the readers, many things. One of them was “no more luxury car puff pieces”. Jack and I had every intention of adhering to this rule as well, until our staff email inbox received a message from Rolls Royce Motorcars, asking us to come drive the all-new Wraith.

“Go on the program,” said Jack, “and imagine that you are reviewing a Camry”.

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The Wraith is not the car that one would typically expect from Rolls-Royce. It used to be that Bentley focused on cars that one would personally drive, while Rolls-Royce was the vehicle of choice for those who preferred to sit in the back seat. But ever since the forced seperation of the two marques in 1998, the two have been competing for the same buyers.

Rolls-Royce won’t expressly say that this car is targeted at Bentley customers, just that it’s sportier, with more of a focus on driver engagement and outright performance – the sort of cars that Bentley traditionally offered alongside Rolls-Royce. What they really did say is that the Wraith targeted at “young entrepreneurs in their 20s and 30s”, an assertion that is as starkly detached from reality as Steve Cohen’s remark that the $100,000 sum needed to replace the dead shark in his office was “inconsequential”. Or perhaps there are customers in the BRIC nations who are under 40 and have made their fortune by building a better mouse trap, rather than collecting a parental stipend. Only their marketing team knows.

blue

In person, the Wraith is as dramatic as the Phantom itself. The enormous front end is a concession to the aesthetic of contemporary high-end luxury goods, which our social betters have decided must be gauche and ostentatious. But the fastback profile is undeniably elegant, with a gently sloping roof line that recalls the coach-built cars of the pre-WWII era. The two-tone paint of my test car highlights the Wraith’s forms, but remains incapable of doing it justice. Another example, finished in a royal blue shade known as Salmanaca, looked like a modern interpretation of a Bugatti Atlantic from aft of the A-pillar.

The overall atmosphere of “bespoke” extends to the interior as well. Whereas contemporary Bentleys leave you with a lingering sense that you’re in a very nicely appointed variant of an Audi A8L, there is but one clue that today’s Rolls-Royce shares its bones with something as upper-middle-class as a BMW 7-Series. The gear selector, mounted on the steering column, will remind you of the very first Bangle Siebener. The newest 7-Series has abandoned the stalk setup for a proper gearstick. but it doesn’t have the superlative interior finishings of the Roller. The wood trim in the Wraith has more in common with a fine hardwood parquet floor than any of the Zebrano veneers that most people are familiar with, while the upholstery wouldn’t be out of place in the leather goods section of  Bergdorf Goodman. Every single panel, knob, switch and interior component is jewel-like, perfectly placed and installed, and for good reason.

The interior is the focal point of this car. It’s what you are supposed to take in as you glide down the road in utter isolation. For all the talk of this being a “driver oriented” Rolls-Royce, it’s more akin to a two-and-a-half ton drawing-room with four club chairs. Even with a 623 horsepower twin-turbo V12, there is nothing beyond a vague sense of forward motion to indicate that you are piloting the fastest production Rolls-Royce ever.  This boosted bent twelve is the last word in linear power delivery. Press the throttle, and the car summons all its might instantaneously, almost like a Tesla Model S with just the briefest pause before you feel maximum torque.

The 8-speed automatic uses a GPS-based system to change gears based on the type of terrain you are navigating, downshifting on grades and upshifting on flat roads to make sure the car is in the right gear at the right time – all without you ever knowing. There is very little feedback from the oversized steering wheel (another beautiful component, but one more at home in a marine application), while the handling and braking capabilities of the car are merely an afterthought. This is a slow speed cruiser, not some sort of grand tourer capable of carving up back roads if need be.

desertrear

That impression is only furthered by the Wraith’s concerted attempt to filter out every single bit of sensory feedback from the driving experience. Wind, engine, road and tire noise are perfectly isolated, as are most potholes, bumps and road imperfections. The overall silence borders on eerie – stopping in the middle of the desert to take photographs, I was struck by how the still, motionless desert was actually nosier than when I was inside the car, on account of the passing cars on the two-lane highway. Get back inside the Wraith, and it is utterly silent, something that I’ve only experienced sitting in a canoe on a remote lake in Northern Ontario hundreds of miles from civilization.

The only thing it couldn’t filter out was the homeless man sitting at the end of the freeway ramp, eyeing the Wraith intently when I exited. Lacking any American currency smaller than a $20 bill, I was utterly paralyzed in this situation – to give him spare change would have been an insult. To roll down the window and say “sorry”, or dismiss him with the wave of the hand would have been acceptable in a normal car, but even more distasteful given the circumstances. In a $300,000 Rolls-Royce, there is no option that isn’t unseemly or downright cowardly. Especially if it’s avoiding eye contact and praying for the light to turn green like I did.

There was a time when Rolls-Royce claimed to make the best car in the world. The cost was a by-product of that mission. But in 2013, quantity of MSRP has a quality all its own, and the company now finds itself in the uneasy position of attempting to build vehicles that justify a particular price.

Although I’m far from averse to automobiles that attract attention, there’s a big difference between driving something that makes an advertisement of personal wealth as its primary mission, and an exotic car full of visual and aural drama. When you leave the lights in a Jaguar F-Type, an Audi R8 or a Ferrari F12, you can revel in the noise of the motor, the clacking of the gated shifter or the sheer occasion of being behind the wheel of a front-engined, V12 supercar. Those cars are able to transport you to an alternate world where you are the star of a 9000 rpm music video in full-on sensory overload.

Not so in the Rolls-Royce Wraith. Instead, you glide away in utter silence, feeling, hearing and experiencing nothing that is not in your own mind – sophistry in motion. It is very easy to become disconnected from the rest of the world, to avoid making eye contact with the homeless man and lose touch with the rest of life’s other unpleasant realities. Being alone with your own thoughts, conflicts and internal misgivings is difficult enough. In a $300,000 four-wheeled sensory deprivation tank, it’s downright terrifying.

Rolls-Royce provided airfare, meals, lodging and transfers for the media drive of the Wraith, as well as the vehicle, insurance and a full tank of gas.

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171 Comments on “Capsule Review: 2014 Rolls-Royce Wraith...”


  • avatar
    LeMansteve

    The most boring twin turbo V12 ever made?

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    “Wraith targeted at young entrepreneurs in their 20s and 30s…”

    Only if you are a Silicon Valley software tycoon

    • 0 avatar
      Astigmatism

      Silicon Valley tycoons wouldn’t be caught dead in a Roller. This thing is for night club owners, athletes, rappers and Russians.

      • 0 avatar
        Whatnext

        More likely wealthy Chinese or Middle Eastern potentates.

      • 0 avatar
        romanjetfighter

        All the entrepreneurs I know in SF and Silicon Valley (under 25) drive lease-special Audis and MBs and invest their $$$ (in Bitcoin!) like sensible people would. If it weren’t for their MIT Alumni license plate frames, you’d think they were broke.

        Anyone here have Bitcoins? :D

        • 0 avatar
          juicy sushi

          Given that you’re at the mercy of someone who could take the money and run at any time, I’m staying the hell away from Bitcoin.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Quite right. It’s not real enough for me. And when it does become real, the profit goes away because it will be immediately regulated.

            Heck, PayPal will probably own it in the future.

          • 0 avatar
            Noble713

            That’s a joke…..right? You’re worried about someone taking your Bitcoins? How about being worried about the government taking your US dollars….via inflation? Or just plain seizing your deposit accounts and giving you a haircut like Cyprus did? Or the various sorts of asset freezes during the Great Depression.

            Put your Bitcoin wallet on a USB thumb drive. Put the thumb drive in a safe, with your gold (you DO have physical gold, right?). Then keep the safe hidden in your house. That’s about as secure as any money is going to get.

            Not to go off on a non-car tangent or anything…

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I don’t know enough about Bitcoin to comment on it but I do know anything electronic can be hacked or altered, and the sad truth is dot gov owns everything electronic in the Western world via No Such Agency and its partners. Stash your whole savings into Bitcoin at your peril.

          • 0 avatar
            J.Emerson

            You’re worried about the integrity of your currency and you’re investing in bitcoins and gold bullion? Seriously?

        • 0 avatar
          VenomV12

          I guess you did not read about the Bitcoin exchange that vanished today, along with millions of people’s dollars. Perhaps you should go check your account:)

  • avatar
    jfranci3

    You mean Miami night club owner.

  • avatar

    Very good Derek. You managed to make a rather uninteresting car, due to its unattainability, in to a rather interesting read. Thanks.

  • avatar
    ClutchCarGo

    People who drive $300K autos have long ago stopped even seeing homeless people, much less making eye contact.

  • avatar
    LKre

    As a member of Russian community in NYC, I vigorously object to stereotyping my friends and neighbors as shallow hoarders of wealth and prestige focused on impressing everyone around them with their mind-blowing immigrant success stories in the U.S., but I do confirm that, yes, we have many Bentlyes, Rollses and Ferraris on Brighton Beach, and I want the record reflect that there are a few Lamborginis as well. But I do wonder whether there ever will be a review of a vehicle remotely relevant to actual everyday life, as opposed to rentals and exotics. Not that rentals are irrelevant but a review of some boring crossover that people actually buy in non-Tesla dealerships would balance the front page very nicely.

  • avatar

    I’m sorry, the idea that this car is targeted at people in their 20s and 30s just fills me with rage. I want to add something cogent to this conversation but I just know that if I say what I am thinking I’m going to end up on some kind of watch list.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      What’s wrong with people being successful at a young age?

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Behind every great fortune lies a great crime.

        • 0 avatar
          jmo

          Funny how the B&B go all marxist when a fancy car is reviewed.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I can’t speak for others’ comments but there is nothing political about my statement, its just a sad truth.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            This was a really, really good review, regardless as to whether some or all agreed with, or connected or related to the densely packed implications Derek conveyed regarding this vehicle’s relationship to our modern society and all that it entails.

            The fact of the matter is that DK managed to provoke a tsunami of deep thoughts of a wide variety, many relating to a much broader spectrum than that of the world of cars, by using the juxtaposition of this rolling, self-promoting billboard sign that is the Rolls Royce Wrath of Inequality Hunger Games Edition & that of the homeless man begging for spare change.

            On the more narrowly focused and specific topics of vehicle engineering, construction and driving dynamics, one could probably find a vehicle that does nearly all the things that this does nearly as well (or better, in certain respects) for 1/4 to 1/3 the price, but that would then defeat this Roller’s singular objective, no?

          • 0 avatar
            JJ_2

            People driving BMWs and Mercedes going Marxist because someone rolls by in a roller. Only in Soviet Russia. Oh wait.

        • 0 avatar
          thelaine

          Bullshit 28. Who did steve jobs murder?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I don’t know enough about Jobs to argue the point.

          • 0 avatar
            USAFMech

            thelaine, Did you mean for that to look so easy? Either way, I’m still laughing at him. Well played.

          • 0 avatar
            Jack Baruth

            The “great crimes” behind Jobs’ success:

            * Borrowed Xerox IP from the Star workstation;
            * Repeatedly underpaid and manipulated Woz, from the Nolan Bushnell Breakout deal forward;
            * Made his employees miserable for years

            Not exactly “great crimes”, but Jobs was so saint, to put it mildly.

          • 0 avatar
            jmo

            “Borrowed Xerox IP from the Star workstation”

            IIRC Xerox charged him $50k, which he happily paid. It wasn’t Steve’s fault the xerox executives didn’t know what they had.

          • 0 avatar
            carrya1911

            Jobs was a first class corporate raider, as ruthless and calculating as anyone you could name. Under a different set of rules he’d be Ghengis Kahn or one of the robber barrons like Carnegie.

            Lots of socially conscious types eagerly take money from various Carnegie PR organs, this despite the fact that he wasn’t above resorting to murder to get his way. Jobs was no less ruthless, but the rules were different in his day and he used whatever tools were at his disposal.

            Saints generally do not amass multi-billion dollar fortunes…but our society has proven over and over again if you have enough money and play the PR game right nobody is much interested in your sins.

            If you’re a TV host or a pop singer you can even molest children and get away with it.

            Jobs wasn’t a nice guy, certainly not the lovey-dovey hippie that lots of apple fans want to believe he was. They want to think about him as a man of vision. Lots of people have vision, but sometimes achieving vision requires ruthlessness. Few really want to know how the sausage is made.

          • 0 avatar
            kkt

            Jobs wasn’t so well-off when he was 28 that he could have responsibly blown $300K on an exotic car. And even a few years later, when he could have, it wasn’t his style at all. In later years, he famously had a series of leased Mercedes SL55 AMGs, that he always traded in for an identical model 6 months into the lease so that he could keep them on temporary license plates.

          • 0 avatar
            wsn

            @thelaine: “Bullshit 28. Who did steve jobs murder?”

            We were talking about “crime”, not “murder”. Crime has a broad scope.

            Steve Jobs is the guy who sued Samsung for using a rectangle with round corner. To me, that’s crime enough. If I have to do business with this guy, I will have to communicate via a lawyer every step of the way and not give him any slack.

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            The saying is stupid, that’s all I’m saying. How about Warren Buffet? Which geometry crime did he commit?

          • 0 avatar
            darkwing

            Buffet’s okay, because he atoned for his sins by becoming a crony capitalist in his old age. Getting bad policy named after you is like some sort of secular indulgence.

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            What sin? What about Mark Zuckerberg? People do good things and people do evil things. Envy is behind the saying.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            You’re a tad credulous if you believe these people made it to the top without dirtying their hands at some point.

            Puzo summed it up nicely:

            Michael: My father is no different than any powerful man, any man with power, like a president or senator.

            Kay Adams: Do you know how naive you sound, Michael? Presidents and senators don’t have men killed.

            Michael: Oh. Who’s being naive, Kay?

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Zuck: Yeah so if you ever need info about anyone at Harvard
            Zuck: Just ask
            Zuck: I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SNS
            [Redacted Friend\'s Name]: What? How’d you manage that one?
            Zuck: People just submitted it.
            Zuck: I don’t know why.
            Zuck: They “trust me”
            Zuck: Dumb fucks

          • 0 avatar
            darkwing

            Perhaps. But when you choose to paint with an incredibly broad brush instead of doing the actual legwork to figure out what their supposed “crimes” actually are, then you’re just being jealous at best and a class warrior at worst.

            Especially, of course, once you decide you “deserve” a claim on those supposedly ill-gotten gains.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I’m not a prosecutor nor do I want a piece of someone else’s deeds, I’m simply not blind to the price of fortune.

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            A person can start a legal business or make good financial decisions and get rich without being evil or committing great crimes, Mario Puzo notwithstanding. Many rich people are good. Many poor people are bad and vice versa. Middle class and every one else as well. It is hard to get through a long life without committing acts worthy of shame. Tinkers, tailors, candlestick makers. Priests, soldiers, and ditch-diggers. Envy is what makes us think the rich are particularly evil.

        • 0 avatar
          ash78

          I think it’s more the notion that a person that young could never have lived long enough to have acquired their wealth through “traditional” means — it almost always has to do with either crime, pro sports, or some questionable entrepreneurial endeavor that has some inflated, temporary value placed on it (often well in excess of it’s real worth)

          None of those things are business plans that the average citizen can (or should) really aspire to. But it happens, and companies have to be there to sell cars to these douchebags.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          … or a trust fund

      • 0 avatar
        juicy sushi

        Nothing. Most aren’t and those that are probably don’t have a Rolls in mind when thinking of spending their discretionary income, at least, not in North America.

        But yeah, I think this talk about a “younger” demographic is just feel-good for the actual 50-somethings who buy one…

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      Does a 35 year old buying one of these fill you with the same rage?

      http://www.yachtworld.com/boats/2014/Hunter-40-2584137/Racine/United-States

      • 0 avatar
        Astigmatism

        To be fair, a yacht (a) is typically financed over 15 years (people buy Rolls Royces in cash), and (b) takes the place of a second home, so you can’t really do an apples-to-apples comparison at the same price point. Think of it more as a 35-year-old buying a Hatteras or a Hinckley, rather than a Hunter.

        • 0 avatar

          Ive worked in the marine industry my whole life. Started out fixing lake fishing boats and have since moved on to various jobs connected with high end yachts and there owners. People owning expensive boats never really bothered me (most were older and owned there own business) until one day about 8 years ago a rather dorky kid with a drop dead gorgeous wife and two kids (I would guess he was in his late 20′s early 30′s) came up to me at a boat show to look into outfitting their new boat a new Morris 42
          http://www.morrisyachts.com/brokerage/?rPage=/privatelabel/listing/pl_boat_detail_handler.jsp?slim=pp288824&units=Feet&boat_id=2424593&primary_photo_id=0&primary_photo_url=http%3A%2F%2Fnewimages.yachtworld.com%2Fresize%2F1%2F16%2F37%2F3801637_2_20111122083254_0_0.jpg&back=%2Fprivatelabel%2Flisting%2Fcache%2Fpl_search_results.jsp%3Fps%3D50%26slim%3Dpp288824&searchtype=buy

          I looked his name up on google later, he was listed as being a VP at a hedge fund in fairfield county CT.
          for some reason that one pissed me off (note this was just before the economy collapsed).

      • 0 avatar
        racer-esq.

        If they are willing to live in Wisconsin to have a $285,000 boat they have made a great sacrifice for the boat. I see plenty of six figure RVs (or at least close) next to small houses in lower income suburbs.

        Plus that is a pretty sweet boat for still less than this 7-series coupe.

    • 0 avatar
      thelaine

      Agreed. It’s insulting. Just for that, I refuse to buy one. Take that RR.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Plenty of rich rappers, entertainers and pro athletes are in their 20s and 30s, Thomas.

      Of course, five years after they can’t land a singing or acting gig anymore, or their knee gives out and they have to retire, they find all the money’s gone, and they can kick themselves for dropping $300000 on a damn CAR. Consider that payback.

      • 0 avatar
        VenomV12

        My neighbor is at the end of his NBA career, blown out knee in fact, and judging by his behavior lately and actions, I swear to God he blew through over $100 million. It is crazy to believe that it could happen, but I really think he did. Unreal. And I always thought he was one of the smarter ones.

    • 0 avatar
      Volt 230

      Great review as always Thomas, one question I have for you, being so quiet and with music on, can you even hear an oncoming siren until it’s right on top of you?

    • 0 avatar
      fozone

      kreutzer –

      i wouldn’t get so upset about RR’s marketing.

      You know and I know that the *actual* number of 20-30 year old self-made entrepreneurs in the US that could possibly drop $300k on this car — and have the desire to do so — are vanishingly small. Possibly in the dozens, or fewer. It is fantasy.

      But by establishing this audience as their ‘target’, RR is attempting to create an image for the car that others — the young, do-little trustafarians that have parental cash — will want to to glom on to.

      It is a positioning statement, and nothing more. It would not surprise me in the least if they dumped a few of these cars at the feet of select young ‘celebrity entrepreneurs’ and wrote the whole cost off as a marketing expense.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        are vanishingly small.

        What are the anticipated worldwide sales of this model? 1000? In world that makes 60 million cars annualy.

      • 0 avatar
        Astigmatism

        I’d guess they were more interested in crafting the image for the benefit (and patronage) of balding, middle-aged real estate developers and movie studio execs who want to convince the world that they’re ten years younger than they really are.

      • 0 avatar
        VenomV12

        In reality, dropping $300,000 on a car is really not that difficult for lots of people. I live in the Midwest and there are tons of people that can afford this car, a lot of them that you might mistake for homeless. Let’s just use my town for example and let’s just use the physicians in it. At any given time there are about 400 or so physicians in my town. You figure if you are the child of one of these physicians and they die, you could inherit $500,000 to a million in real estate and another million or so in investments plus life insurances. If you have a good job yourself you could easily buy this car and not go broke. It may not be the smartest move, but you can do it.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          Realistically, this car doesn’t makes sense even for someone with a couple million in net worth. Someone who at least has a bit of financial sense anyway. I realize a huge demo of people who buy these cars will fall into this category like athletes and other nouveau riche types.

          Using the 5% net worth rule, someone really ought to have over 6M in net worth to buy one of these.

      • 0 avatar
        dtremit

        Come on — plenty of trustafarians like to play entrepreneur. “I’m an entrepreneur. I just introduced a line of designer handbags.”

        No one said a *successful* entrepreneur.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      I’m a 20-something, and likely to drop ~$300k+ on a purchase in the next year. Mind you, that’ll be on a house. Although, a house that’s probably less spacious than a Rolls. I’m thinking I should live in a Wraith. Totally logical idea.

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    Aside from a personal jet (which the proletariat will never see you use, so what’s the point?) and the gated mansion (ditto), I can think of no product which exudes FU$ with greater effectiveness. The douchiness factor is turned to 11 on this one.

    Sad, really, that all that craftsmanship is wasted on buyers who will tear out the interior to install massive subs and big screen TVs and Xboxes. Or be driven once then forgotten in a hangar of other dusty toys.

    Now, go back out and treat it like a Toyota, like Jack says. Go to grocery store and load the trunk with bags. Run the kids to soccer practice. Take your turn at the car pool. Tell us: How do people react to you? Like you’re royalty? Or a royal jerk?

    What, exactly, does $300k buy you these days in terms of perception, reaction?

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    RR might be onto something here. These days you need to pay for isolation and quiet.

  • avatar
    AMC_CJ

    For $300K I see a car still cladde with plastic bumpers, I’m sure those headlights are probably plastic too and not glass.

    Me and a buddy were walking around a upscale mall last Saturday. They had a new S550 on display in the mall, and being that his parents bought him a CLK350 for accomplishing nothing with his life, wanted to look at the new Mercedes.

    $118k. That bought you cheap plastic door handles; pull them out, you’ll see they’re all connected by plastic. Cheap plastic cowl cover. Same with all the lights, body panels, etc.

    Then we walked over to the new $37k CLA on display. Same thing, but hey, at least that’s only nearly $40k for a 4cyl FWD car made of cheap plastic. Sure, I got a lot of cheap plastic on my Mustang, but RWD, 305hp, 30mpg+ all for less than $23k; I can forgive some price cuts.

    No matter what the cost, how much money you have, you’ll never be able to ever buy a solid durable luxury product these days. It’s nice, plush, easy, but it’s not built well. If I was affluently rich, or just had $20k to blow, I’d buy a 64′ Chrysler Imperial Crown Coupe. Sure it’s slower, sucks gas, doesn’t handle or brake as well, but it’s built, and built properly. Real metal, real chrome, inside out. If they could do that 50 years ago, why for $300k can’t they do it today? Government regulations don’t affect door handles, not to mention over 10 years ago Chrysler put an amazing set of door handles on their PT Cruiser that I’ve yet to see be duplicated in today’s market since.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Excellent post.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      Cars have never been more reliable or durable.

      • 0 avatar
        AMC_CJ

        Explain?

        My 78 Chevy was rammed from the rear off the road into a ditch. Did a whole 180′ in the middle of the road before going off. Damage done? The little plastic bumperette cap had partly come off. Fixed in 2secs. The new car that hit me……

        Not to mention you can overheat it without much worry, throw any oil, or some kind of lubricant substance into the engine, and it’ll run without fuss.

        That’s durability. Durability is being able to take a beating, a hit, and keep on going like nothing has happened. A laptop or smart phone isn’t considered durable if you drop it once and the thing breaks? Same logic applies to a car.

        Reliable? Defined by what. Sure the new stuff might not break as much, but when it does, it’s broken. I’ve yet to be left stranded by that car. Or sure, it’s broken. But nothing I haven’t been able to rig to get me back home, and when it comes time to fix, it cost about $30 and takes 30mins to repair.

        New cars are better, sure. I got a new Mustang, it gets 30mpg and has 305hp out a V6. That’s amazing! But for the daily grinds of life, give me a old tank. No way in hell would that Mustang hold up to what that old Chevy sedan has had thrown at it, and I’m hell on a car, so I never drive my new stuff much.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Yes, but it’s PREMIUM plastic.

      In all seriousness, though…yes, even upscale cars have some cheap materials, but in this respect, there really isn’t much comparison between, say, a Camry and a S550.

    • 0 avatar
      LeMansteve

      Did you even consider that MB and RR customers may not care what the bumpers or door handles are made of? Have you considered that plastic components could be more durable, lighter and cost less than metal components? The general notion of “metal iz bettur plastic iz cheep” is like caveman logic.

      If YOU want to pay extra money for “solid durable well-built metal” components on a modern car, open up your wallet more. I’m sure they could make it happen.

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      You are putting a little too much emphasis on plastic over metal.

      The material that many people consider the best is plastic with carbon fibers contained within it.

      But yeah, luxury cars are not what they used to be. Especially RR and Bentley. Spyker was doing some great interiors.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      This

      If I’m paying more for luxury, then I expect to have materials of superior quality to economy cars.

      I don’t give a damn if it takes 30 cows to make all the leather in a single rolls
      I don’t care that I can get wood from trees that are considered endangered
      I don’t care that goodwood has only two robots, or that I can order any color I want
      I don’t care; if the rest of the stuff that I can’t specify is made of cheap plastic.

      Nothing says luxury like a plastic front bumper filled with foam.

    • 0 avatar
      Domestic Hearse

      Mr. McGuire: I want to say one word to you. Just one word.
      Benjamin: Yes, sir.
      Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?
      Benjamin: Yes, I am.
      Mr. McGuire: Plastics.
      Benjamin: Exactly how do you mean?
      Mr. McGuire: There’s a great future in plastics. Think about it. Will you think about it?

    • 0 avatar
      VenomV12

      When I bought my first S Class, my father came over and tapped on the grill with his ring and commented that it was plastic and not chrome/metal and was very unimpressed. I never really felt the same about that car or Mercedes after that.

  • avatar
    wmba

    This is a great article, exceedingly well-written and insightful.

    Derek, you are going from strength to strength.

  • avatar
    Moparmann

    When I was in my 20′s -30′s, this was NOT the kind of car I thought about, or dreamed about. Observing the people in the 20′s-30′s age range today, taking into account the financial situation, student debt etc., I PERSONALLY don’t see them thinking about cars of this nature either! Apparently, the marketing mavens and I are from wildly different realities!!
    @T.K. How do you know that you aren’t ALREADY on some type of list?? :-)

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      It could be a Scion-like marketing excercise where the “target market” is 20 somethings, but the real marks are the middle aged or older folks who want to appear young.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    4500 pounds and 600 plus hoss? Surely, this car is more than leisurely and should easily stomp 60 in less than 6 seconds. The tire/wheel combo seem up to the task for *some* cornering. If you were hesitant to try, I don’t blame you but I think this car would more than hold its own if pushed.

  • avatar
    alexndr333

    Maybe Jack shouldn’t have said, “…imagine that you are reviewing a Camry.” The car comes off sounding like what would happen if Toyota built a $300,000 luxury coupe: The isolation of a Camry and the professed target market of a Scion xB (but purchased by old folks).

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    A really creative review of a car that raises more questions than it answers. I don’t know enough to know if the marketing focus on people ‘in their 20s and 30s’ is some sort of inside joke, or a faux pa by someone who’s stuck in the 90s.

    Fact is, in the 90s, a fair number of people this age did step into serious money in various dot.com ventures, most of which crashed.

    Of course that was about 20 years ago, so people in their 20s today have no idea what on earth you’re talking about . . . as they contemplate a mountain of student debt, which would buy a pretty nice — make that very nice — car, or even a house.

  • avatar
    blau

    Derek, you fool! You didn’t know what to do when you were in a Rolls Royce and saw a beggarman and didn’t have anything smaller than a $20?

    You had to give him a $20!

    You know how long he’d be talking about the young dude in the huge car who tossed him a $20 like it was no thang?

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      You don’t get/stay rich by handing out 20s!

      • 0 avatar
        kkt

        You don’t get/stay rich by driving exotic cars, either.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          When the manufacturer pays for the meals, gas, insurance and flight to get there to drive said exotic, you might be able to.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I wonder, what hotel chain does RR use for PR events?

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            The typical (not ALL, but most)’driver of this would either a) be waaaay too f’ing cheap to hand a dime to even a genuinely down-on-their-luck person on the street, or b) be without any cash or spare change, as they try & figure out how to extend & pretend the hologram of credit/debt derived Ponzi “success” they’ve nurtured for several years, before ultimately filing BK and/or fleeing the country to elude authorities and disgruntled former “clients.”

            Ask me how I know (we had office betting pools on such matters & I made a lot of cash on those).

          • 0 avatar
            darkwing

            I can’t speak to how many Rollers they buy — in my experience, Porsches were more common — but yep, those descriptions sum up rich lefties nicely.

            I much prefer heartland multi-millionaires. Or, even better, rich rednecks. Those guys rock.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @darkwing

            …another Duck Dynasty fan I see.

          • 0 avatar
            darkwing

            Nope, never seen it. I’m thinking specifically of a couple of previous employers.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Most truly wealthy drive pick up trucks or Builds, and decade old more at that.

            Investing large sums in rapidly depreciating assets is not a life habit that is conducive to becoming wealthy in the 1st place.

            I’d venture to guess this Wrath of CONspicuous CONsumption will depreciate at the steady rate of $5,000 to $7,000 per month, at a minimum, from the minute it’s driven off the lot.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Builds?

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            @28 – I typed “Buicks” but my stupid smart phone thought it knew better, and I didn’t catch it in time before hitting ‘submit.’

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            A decade old Buick is a fine automobile. I wonder what Gen Xers will be driving in a decade for their “old Buicks”?

            When I initially saw “builds” I thought you were going to tell me moneyed people were rebuilding/refurbishing cars.

    • 0 avatar
      VenomV12

      Yep, roll down the window of your $300K car so the homeless/pretending to be homeless guy can get access to you to rob your or carjack you and possibly shoot you and kill you. Total genius move.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    …part of TTAC’s reboot, we promised you, the readers, many things. One of them was “no more luxury car puff pieces”.

    That was a dumb rule anyway. Proceed.

  • avatar
    carrya1911

    Rolls has always been about a luxurious cabin that almost completely destroys any sensation you might get of motion. You traditionally bought a Rolls so you’d be able to work on your correspondence in the back seat while being driven to one of your social functions or business meetings, sitting comfortably and doing something more profitable or satisfying with your time than driving.

    The idea of a “sporty” Rolls is ridiculous…but I don’t think that Rolls really intends the thing to be “sporty”. You can simply say it’s “sporty” and people will sort of acknowledge it as a positive without it actually being true.

    As for the people who buy them…well…trust fund babies are not a new phenomenon. Neither are crooks. Neither are people who have been able to sell an idea or a concept that really isn’t all it’s cracked up to be to a bunch of people looking to beat market returns but with not a whole lot of understanding of what they are investing in.

    History tells us that some of those ideas do actually turn out to be quite valuable.

    I don’t have a problem with people buying this car. It’s tempting to believe that somehow I’m worth more than that trust fund kid over there because I work hard and he was just born into it…but any notion that life is or even should be, fair is nothing more than wishful thinking.

    Some people will have enough money to blow $300,000 on a car. Most won’t. Some people will be born with a diathesis for debilitating diseases and conditions, some won’t.

    For most people life is a struggle for resources. But those of us who aren’t able to afford 300 grand, mobile, leather upholstered luxury isolation chambers still have it far better than a whole bunch of other people on this planet.

    So maybe we shouldn’t suck on that haterade too much…because to somebody in this world you with an iPhone, a 2 year old Honda, and even a modest home you can afford *you* seem like an entitled asshole just because you’ve got more than they do.

  • avatar

    Two questions:

    1) For the plutocrat who has everything, why an R-R Wraith instead of a Tesla S? Surely all the silence, twice the smugness, and 1/3 the cost? Any road trip that might induce range anxiety can surely be executed by jet.

    2) If your driveway contained a Wraith and a fully-loaded new Camry, which do you grab the keys to each morning?

    • 0 avatar
      juicy sushi

      I have to doubt the Tesla and the Rolls get cross-shopped. They are both conspicous consumption, but speak to wildly different tastes, so that they may be mutually exclusive. Those who like one, wouldn’t be seen dead in the other.

      I’d probably drive the Camry myself, just because I’d be terrified about getting creamed by someone staring at the Rolls and not paying attention to their driving.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      2) I’d drive that Wraith every time it ran properly. So I’d take the Camry most the time. But all day at work I’d be thinking about the Wraith. Who touched it? Did someone park too close to me? What if someone scrapes the hand rubbed paint with their bumper?

      I think it would cause me more stress than it was worth.

    • 0 avatar
      darkwing

      I remember, when the Prius was becoming trendy, seeing puff pieces where actors and actresses were saying things like “I drive my Prius so much, the battery in my S-Class went dead!”

      The telling detail, to me, was that they didn’t dump the S-Class.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    The Toyota I suppose, unless I was having breakfast with the Queen.

  • avatar
    Waterview

    I’ll try to keep us on track here . . . . .

    “and imagine that you are reviewing a Camry”.

    I’ve read the review a few different times and not once to I see a reference to the car being “grounded to the ground” . . . . .

    Must not be that much like a Camry.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Bentley and Rolls-Royce kind of have this layered arrangement in their products such that nothing from either brand competes with anything from the other, even if they have close-ish pricing. At the bottom end, you have the Bentley Continental GT and Flying Spur, then above those is the Rolls-Royce Ghost. The Bentley Mulsanne is noticeably nicer than the Ghost, so it ranks higher. Then you have the new Rolls-Royce Wraith and above that, the nothing-can-touch-this Rolls-Royce Phantom family. Were Bentley to actually hurry up and release the coupe and cabriolet versions of the Mulsanne, they would rank above the Wraith but below the Phantom.

    Meanwhile, I take it that the Wraith uses BMW Group’s new-for-2013/14 “NBT” iDrive, which replaces the 2009/10-2013 “CIC” iDrive. Other than the satellite-linked shifting, did you see anything significantly different with the new iDrive?

  • avatar
    highrpm

    Wow, lots on negative repsonses to the car! Think about how few Rolls they intend to actually sell – this car is not for any of us.

    But, if you just sold you latest internet idea to Google for a few million, wouldn’t you think about treating yourself to something like this?

    Derek, great article. You talked of the very nice interior but didn’t include any interior shots though.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Here’s a positive one, this is possibly the ultimate personal luxury coupe. Ten years, normal sized wheels, and an LS swap later and it could be mine.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I understand why Rolls-Royce would have targeted TTAC. If even one of the B&B came into money or did really well on some investments and ends up buying this car (or any other Rolls-Royce), the efforts will have paid off.

      • 0 avatar
        Astigmatism

        I doubt they even consider direct sales. Rolls Royce isn’t in the business of selling nice cars that people want to drive; they’re in the business of selling ridiculous status symbols that nobody else can afford. The only way to justify the price is for everyone else to know how expensive your car is and afford it the appropriate amount of deference/envy.

      • 0 avatar

        Unlike most auto sites, our readers really do buy new cars :)

        All jokes aside, we have one of the more affluent/better educated readerships…

    • 0 avatar
      Noble713

      I wouldn’t treat myself to a Rolls Royce. I’d buy a Lamborghini Gallardo + Underground Racing twin turbo kit.

      If I had FU$ (which, IMO, a few million isn’t), then I’d commission the construction of a unique sedan (plus spare parts) with: carbon monocoque, aluminum front/rear subframes, RWD, carbon fiber body, open source engine management/infotainment/digital gauges, and an engine bay suitable for an LS engine or perhaps a big inline-6 (like a Vortec 4200 or a 2JZ).

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        I’m not a big fan of modern Lamborghinis. Impressive as they are, they’re inexcusably garish and seeing one just conjures up images of tasteless rap stars. The Ferrari lineup (especially that new F12 Berlinetta) is more up my alley…

        • 0 avatar
          Noble713

          *Modern* Lambos are garish?

          Not looked at a Countach lately, I take it? Lambos have always been garish. I’d argue that a Countach in 1980 was far more garish than a Gallardo with a non-neon paintjob is today.

          This just doesn’t scream “ostentatious D-bag” any more than other other mid-engine super coupe does IMO:
          http://www.lambocars.com/images/lambonews/gallardo_sl_100821_4.jpg

      • 0 avatar
        hgrunt

        I call it “Kill Superman” money, myself.

  • avatar
    kkt

    Enjoyed the review. But why no pictures of the interior? That’s the selling point of the car, so it’d be nice to see it.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Elon Musk is grateful for your endorsement of the Model S.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    I finally figured out what this car reminds me of. The 1981 Imperial.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    “Lacking any American currency smaller than a $20 bill, I was utterly paralyzed in this situation – to give him spare change would have been an insult. To roll down the window and say “sorry”, or dismiss him with the wave of the hand would have been acceptable in a normal car, but even more distasteful given the circumstances.”

    Nope, you ignore them. You don’t feel bad. It’s not distasteful to ignore a beggar at all.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Forgive him, for he is Canadian. Our beggars live quite nicely.

    • 0 avatar
      Domestic Hearse

      My wife and I were in the grocery store this weekend. We saw an old man with threadbare pants, an old sweater with holes in the sleeves, a dirty shirt, ragged shoes, wild, uncombed hair. He was walking around with no cart, looking at products, picking up boxes, reading labels. After a couple minutes, he’d wander to a tasting station, gulp down some free treats, then go back to pretending to shop.

      It was heartbreaking. A homeless person on a Saturday when the aisles are full of samples, getting something to eat. Trying to blend in by pretending to shop.

      We went up to him, asked if he wanted to buy something, handed him a $20 bill.

      He looked at it like it was from Mars. “No, I’m fine,” he said and went back to reading labels and running to the cheese and bakery counters to gobble more free food.

      Then we came around the corner and saw 15 people all wearing second-hand clothes, with wild hair, all gathered around a couple nurses pushing a cart. It seems we stumbled upon an outing for special needs patients, and the old man we tried to give $20 to had just wandered off from the group.

      Truly, he was crazy to turn down $20 offered to him for no good reason. I guess if he’d actually been begging, that would’ve been our first clue.

      I’ve offered beggars a ride, rather than money, many times. I tell them I’ll take them to a community shelter for the homeless and poor, where they can get access to resources and shelter and food. I’ve yet to have anyone take me up on the offer. The reasons are probably many, addiction probably being the biggest motivator. But I won’t stop offering. Or, it seems, offering money to someone who appears too desperate to even ask.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    One point about styling. I love the length of the thing, it’s as it should be. And the two-tone paint is, I suppose, traditional and British and luxury, so alright. But the chrome window surround is too thick at the rear end, it spoils it a bit for me.

    Compare with a similar view of the Brooklands:
    http://static.cargurus.com/images/site/2011/04/19/20/26/2010_bentley_brooklands-pic-619751681076928175.png

    Win.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I would have preferred a formal roofline over the fastback.

    So I guess I’ll have to take my $300K elsewhere.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I agree.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      For one thing, the actual price of the car is closer to $320K, despite what was cited in the copy. Second, I actually appreciate that Rolls-Royce adopted sportier styling on the Ghost and Wraith, rather than literally grafting the Phantom’s styling onto them. You can (for quite a bit more) get very upright styling on a Phantom Coupe or Drophead Coupe…

  • avatar
    Chris

    “The interior is the focal point of this car.”

    So how about a picture maybe?

  • avatar
    1998S90

    A long hood and a sloping back. Congratulations RR, you’ve just created a 1969-1973 Ford Mustang fastback.

  • avatar

    I read this

    ‘This boosted bent twelve is the last word in linear power delivery. Press the throttle, and the car summons all its might instantaneously, almost like a Tesla Model S with just the briefest pause before you feel maximum torque’.

    as

    This boosted bent twelve is the last word in linear power delivery. Press the throttle, and the car summons all its might instantaneously, almost like a Tesla Model S with just the briefest pause before it catches fire

  • avatar
    ravenchris

    Yes, pictures of design details…

  • avatar
    jmo

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/13/arts/design/bacons-study-of-freud-sells-for-more-than-142-million.html?_r=0

    Yet some here think $300k is a lot of money.

  • avatar
    Joss

    Wraith’s a fat pig. Of all the rollers past it echoes ungainly Camargue. There upon rode a little Corsican with a big ego who got his ass bit by Russian beggars. He died cocooned in British isolation.

  • avatar
    wstansfi

    Seems obvious to me that if you want to sell to people in their 40′s and 50′s then you say the car is geared to buyers in their 20′s and 30′s. Who doesn’t want to feel younger driving their new Rolls?

  • avatar

    Derek, I applaud you for reviewing RR. It’ll be great if TTAC will produce more vehicle reviews for the top 1%.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Yes, I actually appreciated this. I know that some people are sour because they can’t relate to or don’t appreciate this kind of car, but I find it to be a treat. More of this, please…

    • 0 avatar
      thelaine

      Agreed. Camry reliable yada yada “quality plastics”, yada yada mileage, whatever. Boring. More vehicle reviews for the top .01 percent. Rich people vs. hobos, Russian gangsters, resentful socialists, triumphant rappers and Kim Kardashian’s formidable ass. Much, much better. Next up, a $600,000 convertible that you and 3 bikini-clad “escorts” drive through skid row.

  • avatar
    tbone33

    I don’t have much to say other than bravo.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    As an old fart, I have to add, “I wish Skank had the shotgun!” it either makes sense or it doesn’t.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Here, if you need the definitive on the demographic for this car…

    http://media.zenfs.com/en-US/blogs/omgcelebnews/b42b81c2-7ef0-4c1d-9e37-acde53df0de1_2048_KimKardashian.jpg

    “Kim Kardashian gets pulled over speeding in her black Rolls Royce, claims she was being chased by the paparazzi”

    I love the cheap plastic dealer license frame on the front

  • avatar
    thelaine

    I would have bought this car already, but I’m waiting for it to come out in a manual.

  • avatar
    SomeGuy

    Good review. Better than that abomination of one written about either the Bently sedan or Rolls sedan about two or so months ago.


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