Rolls-Royce Wraith review

Category: Coupé

The Rolls-Royce Wraith might not be perfect, but it’s a hugely desirable ownership proposition for the privileged few who can afford it

Rolls-Royce Wraith
  • Rolls-Royce Wraith
  • Rolls-Royce Wraith
  • Rolls-Royce Wraith
  • Rolls-Royce Wraith
  • Rolls-Royce Wraith
  • Rolls-Royce Wraith
  • Rolls-Royce Wraith
  • Rolls-Royce Wraith
  • Rolls-Royce Wraith
  • Rolls-Royce Wraith
What Car?’s Wraith deals
New car deals
Target Price from £282,600
Swipe to see used car deals
Used car deals
From £89,979

Introduction

What Car? says...

The Rolls-Royce Wraith isn’t like other coupés. At 5.3 metres long it’s closer in size to a Victorian semi than an Audi TT, and with a starting price of almost a quarter of a million pounds, it’s a lot closer in price, too.

It’s based on the platform of the Ghost luxury car (which in turn is based on the previous generation BMW 7 Series), but the Wraith has a shorter wheelbase and a wider rear axle than both of these cars to help make it more agile.

As is the case in all Rolls-Royces, power comes from a V12 petrol engine, but here it’s been tuned to produce a mighty 624bhp – more than any other car in the company’s illustrious history.

But is the Wraith really worth its extortionate asking price? Or could you have an equally good (or perhaps even better) car for considerably less cash? Read on over the next few pages to find out.

Overview

The Rolls-Royce Wraith might not be perfect, but it’s a hugely desirable ownership proposition for the privileged few who can afford it

  • Opulent interior
  • Effortless pace
  • Awesome road presence
  • Ridiculously expensive to buy and run
  • Not as comfortable as you might expect
New car deals
Target Price from £282,600
Swipe to see used car deals
Used car deals
From £89,979

Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

Press the dashboard-mounted starter button and the Wraith’s twin-turbo V12 engine stirs into life so smoothly and quietly you’ll barely notice. It’s a similar story when you pull away, because although the scenery starts to move, you remain wonderfully isolated from any engine noise or vibration.

Gearchanges are utterly seamless, and because the sat-nav system is linked with the transmission, it can read the road ahead to avoid unnecessary shifts and ensure you always stay in the right gear.

However, the Wraith changes character completely when you bury your right foot in the shag pile carpet; the engine bellows loudly and sends you hurtling towards the horizon at a breath-taking rate. In fact, the Wraith is so fast it’ll embarrass a Porsche Cayman in a straight line.

Come to a corner, though, and you’ll quickly realise this 2.4-tonne behemoth is no sports car. When you turn the wheel there’s a lengthy pause before the Wraith’s huge bonnet starts to point in the direction you want it to go, and then the rest of the car reluctantly follows.

Adopt a slow-in, fast-out approach and it’s possible to hustle the Wraith along a country road surprisingly quickly, but the inconsistently weighted steering and mushy brake pedal do put a solid barrier between you and any fun. The slow steering rack comes into its own in town, though, and is light enough to make threading the Wraith's enormous bulk through traffic a relatively painless experience.

This isn’t likely to bother potential suitors that much, because they’re far more likely to use the car to traverse continents on fast, mostly straight roads. With that in mind, though, the Wraith doesn’t ride quite as serenely as you might expect. It’s never uncomfortable, but fidgets around more than we’d like over minor imperfections. That’s a shame, because bigger bumps are smothered remarkably well.

Rolls-Royce Wraith image
Skip the showroom and find out more online

Motorway refinement also leaves a little to be desired, because although the Wraith’s engine remains ghostly quiet at 70mph, its frameless side windows generate an annoying amount of wind noise.

Rolls-Royce Wraith

Interior

The interior layout, fit and finish

The Wraith’s rear-hinged doors are obviously a great conversation-starter, but more importantly they make it easier for you to get into and out of the car; except, of course, if you pull up too close to a fuel pump at the petrol station. When the doors are open, you can’t reach the door pulls from inside, but this isn’t a problem because the doors close electrically at the touch of a button.

Inside, quality is just as exceptional as you’d expect. Swathes of the finest grain wood and leather cover nearly every visible surface, and chromed knobs and handles only add to the feeling that no expense has been spared.

True, the infotainment system has been borrowed from BMW, but that’s no bad thing because it’s very easy to use. What’s more, the buttons and dials you use to control it have all been treated to a bespoke look and feel, so at no point do you feel like you’re in a 3 Series.

The driving position is hard to fault, other than the fact that visibility isn’t great. The high window line is the big issue here, because it blocks your view of kerbs and other low-lying obstacles in the road. Reversing into a parking space also requires you to put all your faith in the parking sensors, because the chunky rear pillars block much of your rearward view.

Rolls-Royce Wraith

Passenger & boot space

How it copes with people and clutter

Sitting in the back of a coupé isn’t always an enjoyable experience, but things are different in the Wraith. True, getting there isn’t particularly easy because you have to squeeze through a fairly narrow gap, you’ll have no issues with head and leg room unless you’re well over six-feet tall.

The 470-litre boot is fairly narrow, but it's easily long enough for a couple of big suitcases, and is ultimately quite a bit bigger than a Bentley Continental GT’s.

The Wraith is a wide car, so as a driver you feel like you’re in a different postcode to your front passenger. Even the really tall are well catered for; the seats slide a long way back and there’s loads of room above your head.

Rolls-Royce Wraith

Buying & owning

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

It’s impossible to make a financial case for the Wraith. It might be supercar quick and supremely classy inside, but (objectively at least) there’s no way it’s worth nearly twice as much as a Bentley Continental GT V8 or a Mercedes S63 AMG Coupe.

However, if you look past the price and accept that anyone considering a Rolls is unlikely to be too fussed about an extra £100,000 or so, the Wraith has plenty of appeal. It’s far more comfortable and refined than similarly priced exotica, such as the Ferrari F12, and its stately looks and sheer size command attention that you simply won't get in anything else.

The Wraith comes with all the luxuries you’d expect. However, if you want to spend even more there are plenty of ways to do so. Options include a headlining adorned with thousands of fibre-optics, designed to look like stars in the night sky, and one of the most powerful stereo systems we have every experienced.

As with any Rolls-Royce, the company’s bespoke department will further tailor the Wraith in virtually any way you desire, although you’ll pay dearly for this service, and, depending on your personal taste, it could have a negative impact on the car's resale values.

For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here

Rolls-Royce Wraith
At a glance
New car deals
Target Price from £282,600
Swipe to see used car deals
Used car deals
From £89,979
RRP price range £282,600 - £324,600
Number of trims (see all)2
Number of engines (see all)1
Available fuel types (which is best for you?)petrol
MPG range across all versions 18.1 - 18.5
Available doors options 2
Warranty 4 years / No mileage cap
Company car tax at 20% (min/max) £20,705 / £23,813
Company car tax at 40% (min/max) £41,410 / £47,626
Available colours