Rolls-Royce Wraith Inspired by Fashion. REVIEW

Yet another special edition model from Rolls-Royce, inspired this time by the world of fashion. But does the Wraith really need one? crankandpiston finds out with a spin on home turf.

Engine Power Torque 0-100kph Top speed Weight Basic price
V12, twin turbo, 6592cc 624bhp @ 5600rpm 590lb ft @ 1500-5500rpm 4.6secs 250kph 2360kg (264bhp/ton) $435,600
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Rating
Star-4
Pro
As luxurious as ever with handling that impresses
Con
It costs HOW MUCH?

$435,600. That’s the figure you should have in mind whilst reading this, for that is the regional price of the Rolls-Royce Wraith Inspired by Fashion we’re testing today. And we bring it up because that’s $82,000 more than the ‘standard’ Wraith.

One of a seemingly endless line of special edition Rolls-Royces we’ve come to expect every six months or so, the ‘Fashion’ is the latest example of Goodwood’s ‘Inspired by’ series to make it to the Middle East, following as it does the self-explanatory ‘Film’ and ‘Music’ editions (and if those are a little too Haute Coutre for your tastes, there’s also a ‘Rugby’ edition). While primarily a stop-gap before the launch of Rolls-Royce’s new Wraith convertible – the Dawn – the ‘Inspired by’ series also emphasises the potential of the company’s Bespoke customisation service: scoff if you will, but 95 per cent of the Wraiths that left the factory last year included some form of Bespoke treatment, with the company expecting this figure to grow further as its product line-up continues to expand. That, plus the fact that this very test model would be sold to its new owner just three days after our test drive, suggests there’s more to this special edition line-up than meets our cynical eye…

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So what exactly do you get for this additional lump of money?

You mean aside from that all-important exclusivity? Well, according to Rolls-Royce, the colour palettes, materials and techniques are inspired by those used in the world of fashion and ‘akin to commissioning a fine suit’, first up is a new two-tone exterior. Of white, and, er, white. ‘Arctic’ and ‘Andalucian’ to be precise, complete with a hand-painted ‘accent’ – yellow in this case – running the length of the shoulder-line to a pearlescent Spirit of Ecstasy. Open the suicide rear doors and you’ll find two-tone stitching and piping in the same yellow ‘accent’ is applied to the seats, steering wheel and floor mats. There’s some new silk-lined door pockets, and….well, that’s about it. From a distance, you’ll need to remind your nearest and dearest that, “no, actually, it’s a special edition really”, and chances are, if you’re a fan of the Wraith’s already imposing looks – which, by the way, I am – you’re unlikely to be too let down. But is that really all you get for a $82K Bespoke treatment?

Pretty much, yeah. Underneath the, ahem, ‘new looks’, the Wraith boasts the same 6.6-litre twin-turbo V12 as its base model, the same 624bhp and 590lb ft of torque output figures, the same widened track, shortened wheelbase and lowered roofline over the sister Ghost, and even the same 2360kg kerb weight.

Not that this is a bad thing, of course. As we’ve found out previously at crankandpiston.com, the quite massive torque curve and strong acceleration of that V12 engine means the Wraith is almost alarmingly quick in a straight-line, pegging the needle at 250kph and eliminating 0-100kph in just 4.6 seconds. Similarly, smooth yet swift changes through the ZF eight-speed automatic and phenomenal traction through that all-wheel drive setup mean speed pick-up is decisive without being overly aggressive, key to any self-respecting Rolls-Royce.

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And on that note..

Entrepreneurs for whom the ‘Fashion’ is aimed can breathe a sigh of relief, for both the efficiency of the chassis and the suppleness of the damping means the civility of the ride has not been affected. Even across the harshest of asphalt surfaces in Rolls-Royce’s ‘most dynamic model’ (the company refrains from using the word ‘sporty’), the ride is still pillowy soft and luxuriating, albeit a little stiffer than the top-drawer Phantom obviously. There’s no road and engine noise to disrupt the ride either, and while that could be a shame given the V12’s dulcet tones, the sensation of speed is no less spirited.

And yet at the same time, this dignified ride quality is not unsettled by some astonishing agility through the corners. While a degree of body roll is expected (this is still a three-ton limousine we’re talking about), it’s not enough to upset the composure. We’re not getting too carried away though: like its base model, the Wraith by Fashion offers nothing so uncouth as ‘dynamic feel’ at the helm, the power steering taking almost all of the weight out of proceedings. Light though it is however, the steering is nevertheless accurate, encouraging you to push our royal suite on wheels harder than you might expect. For a time. That superb ride quality is not something you’ll ignore for long, and makes us wonder how this plus a sprightly powertrain will mesh with an open roof in the Dawn. We’re guessing quite well.

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Overall thoughts?

As a Rolls-Royce Wraith then, our test drive is a triumph. As a special edition ‘by Fashion’ however, we’re still struggling to defend that $82K Bespoke upgrade, given the stellar base it’s built on and the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat you could buy for the same money.

Still, as we quickly discovered, plenty of Rolls-Royce customers seem quite willing to make the leap to the world of fashion. Or music. Or rugby. We doubt they’ll be dissatisfied when they do.

Technical specifications available on page 2

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