I grew up in a home where after coming from nothing, my Dad’s dream was to own a Rolls Royce. After business success he bought his first, a Silver Shadow in the early eighties. This was replaced with a Silver Shadow II in around 1986 and this car remains in the family, still loved by my Dad.
As such, I was lucky enough from an early age to be able to appreciate the quality that a Rolls Royce is synonymous with. I love Range Rovers, think Audi A8s and BMW 7 Series’ are the epitome of a large, luxury saloon, but none even come close to a Rolls Royce.
The price is very much reflective of the status. Whilst the top end Range Rover, A8, S-Class or 7 Series may top £100k, the Rolls Royce Wraith we took for a flash drive, and the Ghost II both top the £200k barrier, with this Wraith in particular having a sticker price of £240,000.
That’s undoubtedly a lot of money. It’s undoubtedly a lot of car. No it’s not something you buy with your £1m lottery win. It’s a multiple Euromillions rollover type of buy but is it worth the money?
If you look at it in its constituent parts, steel, alloy, leather, wood, composites etc then I doubt it. But if you look at the sheer craftsmanship that goes into each and every one of this cars, and if you take once for a drive then the answer is a resounding yes.
Whilst in the SUV class, nothing can touch a Range Rover, in the luxury car class, nothing comes close to a Rolls Royce. Yes there have been a few pretenders but none of them have the name of the kudos that accompany a Rolls Royce.
Getting behind the wheel in the Wraith, you reach for the button on the dash that closes the quite immense suicide door. This a a two door goliath. The styling looks more akin to something in a Frank Miler Sin City type comic but this beast is real, and beautiful. You don’t sit in the driver’s seat, youre immersed in it. Still using a column shifter to engage drive to the twin-turbo, 624bhp, 6.6l V12 engine, the Wraith gracefully starts to drive forward. You don’t just drive a Wraith, you experience a Wraith. The GPS and navigation system constantly update and predict the road ahead, choosing the right gear from the eight to keep you moving in an effortless manner.
As we head out onto the Alpine route at Millbrook, the Rolls holds onto every twist and and turn like a child with a comforter. And it does it with such grace and smoothness that it’s such a juxtaposition when you hit the noisy pedal that the thing pulls away like a race car. Okay, I exaggerate slightly but this ocean liner shifts. But with the crystal Spirit of Ecstasy leading the way, the Alpine course is easily tamed by her.
It’s comfortable. It’s stunning. It’s a car that sets the standard for luxury automobiles, as the company have since the first cars over one hundred years ago. Would I have one? No. I’d have the Ghost, I prefer four doors but if I were to have two Rolls Royces………………
NB: If you’re wondering why Crossaxle are testing a Rolls Royce Wraith and a Ghost, well, Rolls Royce are working on a 4×4 SUV, just thought I’d mention that.