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Geneva show: Rolls-Royce’s Wraith materialises

Excuse me, Sir: The V12-engined Wraith takes the mantel as Rolls-Royce’s fastest model.

A fifth model joins luxury marque’s slowly expanding family


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5 Mar 2013

UPDATED 06.03.2013ROLLS-ROYCE has unveiled its first new car in four years, revealing a V12-engined coupe named – appropriately – the Wraith at the Geneva motor show this week.

Powered by the same 6.6-litre engine as its four-door Ghost sibling, the Wraith joins the Phantom Coupe as the only hard-topped two-door Rolls-Royce models in the luxury car-maker’s slowly growing stable.

Based on the same BMW 7 Series platform as the four-seater Ghost, but lower and wider at the rear and with a shorter wheelbase, the Wraith features a more swept, fastback profile than the sedan.

At the front it uses the same deeply recessed Parthenon grille, while the two-tone paint scheme emphasises the deep rear window pillar that stretches over gently arching haunches towards the boot.

Like its larger two-door Phantom siblings, the Wraith features a pair of rearward-opening coach doors that give generous access to the rear seats.

The Wraith also takes the mantle as Rolls-Royce’s most powerful model, producing what the British car maker will no doubt call an “adequate” 465kW of power and 800Nm of torque from almost off idle.

But even more telling, the Wraith gives a clue as to what Rolls-Royce’s parent company, German luxury car-maker BMW, has in store for its in-car technology.

The Wraith will include a satellite-aided transmission system that can read the rise and fall of the road ahead of the car, and select an appropriate gear to handle it even before reaching it.

Also featured is a mobile phone-style multimedia interface that allows users to pinch and pull on the touchscreen. Similar to technology that made its debut in Audi’s flagship A8 limousine, users can also draw letters on the screen.

Those who prefer not to use their fingers can take advantage of a new intelligent voice control system that will even take spoken navigation instructions, such as “navigate to Piccadilly in London”.

When asked, the Wraith can hunker down and sprint from 0-100km/h in just 4.4 seconds, compared with the slightly more leisurely 4.7s posted for its 420kW four-door sibling.

Inside is something special: a cosseting cocoon of wood and leather to create “a space bathed in light and warmth”, Rolls-Royce says.

A highlight is the headliner which, similar to the Phantom Coupe, features an array of 1340 fibre optic lamps that light the roof up like a “glittering, starry night”.

Global deliveries of the Wraith are expected to start sometime late this year, with European pricing starting from €245,000 ($A312,444).

“Rolls-Royce’s new model Wraith will be offered in an Australian specification which is likely to be higher than that on a standard car, with pricing that will be close to Ghost standard wheelbase,” Dan Balmer, the general manager of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Asia Pacific, said.

“In addition, bespoke features can be commissioned, allowing for a highly personalised environment for this driver-focused motor car.”

The British luxury brand has already pegged four sales so far this year.

Last year, the 22 Rolls-Royce vehicles delivered to Australia had some of the highest average bespoke content per car in the world.

The Ghost standard wheelbase is priced in Australia from $645,000.

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