Empire on wheels
“The greatest of empires is the empire over one’s self,” Latin writer, Publilius Syrus, once wrote. And while the conveniences that positions of power can grant are tempting, few are the captains that continue to personally steer their vessels. The Rolls-Royce Wraith is one such vessel designed for this kind of individual, conceived for the captain of industry with a more hands-on approach.
Unlike the typical chauffer-driven, four-door variety, the Wraith is the most sporting of the RR lineup. Why would one opt for the Wraith over being chauffeured in a Ghost or Phantom? It’s the platinum car for the platinum card carrier and, besides privileged parking, will warrant for its owner the red carpet treatment just by rolling up to an establishment.
Despite being a two-door, this coupe is topper sailboat, but a land yacht in its own right. It’s built upon the Ghost platform with a more youthful fastback profile. Like all RR’s, the Spirit of Ecstasy announces its arrival, mounted on a long and squared hood, bearing the marque’s distinct grille and rectangular headlights. The grille’s character line delineates the second color tone from the rest of the body, forming the shoulder on the side and culminating in the hatch behind. The rear is an exercise in restraint, with the integrated twin tailpipes being the only sporting cues.
Designed to make a grand entrance, entering and exiting the vehicle is an affair all its own. The long doors are open, suicide style. In spite of the name, these doors grant more to swing out your leg and alight more gracefully.
The interior is a marvel on its own, designed like a vintage Italian Riva wooden speedboat. True to tradition, it still bears a thin-rimmed wheel, with an aluminum line nodding to the horn bars of the past. The seats are, as expected, very comfortable, in spite of the odd chrome inserts. The center leather-lined armrest is made of the most supple leather you will ever feel, and all the settings can be set to memory. Those seated behind will find legroom room comparable to an executive sedan and their own controls.
Over in the center of the dash is the infotainment system. The operating system may be BMW, yet the menus are cleverly disguised with Rolls-Royce flair. Even the techie CEO won’t be disappointed as it easily connects to media from mobile devices and has its own built-in hard drive for media. With your choice of soundtrack, audio is piped through an 18-piece entertainment system.
Motivating the Wraith is a twin-turbo 6.6-liter V12 with 623 bhp and 590 lb ft of torque. Despite its 2.5 ton body, it accelerates to 100 km/h in a claimed 4.6 seconds, and on to an electronically limited top speed of 250 km/h. No expense has been spared in creating the engine, blessed with both an aluminum block and head, direct fuel injection, and balanced so perfectly, you’ll hardly feel or hear it rev.
The drive is where the Wraith lives up to the marque’s reputation. Starting up barely causes a stir, with the engine nearly inaudible inside the cabin. Pulling out of tight spaces is trivial thanks to 360 degree cameras and multiple views to ensure not a single scratch.
Rollers are known for their magic carpet ride and wafting power delivery and that is true of the Wraith.
Its ride, height adjustable of course, easily mutes all but the worst road imperfections. Purposely drive over rumble strips and there’s simply no rumble. Naturally, this provides a more boat-like ride. And while some body roll is present, it’s impressively controlled considering the vehicle’s weight. As such, it’s very easy to get the Wraith up to high speeds without knowing it. Floor the throttle and it will accelerate, yet even that surge is delivered as smoothly as possible, bereft of that neck snapping feeling.
Finally, yet another enjoyable aspect of the Wraith is the red carpet experience. Priority parking, patience from typically eager driveway security, and an army of valets lined up at the curb await, all without the cursory scan for a membership sticker on the windshield.
All of this commands a pricetag of PhP35M, which can easily balloon to far more thanks to its extensive array of options, from the Starlight Headliner, to a broad menu of paint and leather grades, even a solid gold Spirit of Ecstacy if desired.
Call it ludicrous, but even the most harrowing traffic (thanks to the auto handbrake) can do little to dampen the light mood the sheer effortlessness and unparalleled comfort riding that the Wraith consistently grants. Even a few short days like these, with a borrowed Rolls-Royce, truly make you feel like you own the world.
Engine: V12, 6592cc, dohc, 48-valves, double VANOS, twin turbo, 8-speed AT
Max Power: 623 bhp @ 5600 rpm
Max Torque: 590 lb ft @ 1700-4500 rpm
0-100 km/h: 4.6 sec.
Top speed: 250 km/h (governed)
Fuel mileage: 4.7 km/l City / 10.2 km/l Highway
+: Effortless to drive, supreme in luxury
-: Can be challenging to drive in the metro
Price as tested: PhP 35,000,000 (plus options)
C! Rating: 10/10