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Rolls-Royce Wraith to ghost four-door pricing

In the dark: Until it gets a system upgrade, the Rolls-Royce Wraith sold in Australia won’t be able to electronically see the road ahead

New two-door Rolls coupe to miss out on key technology until fix arrives

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11 Mar 2013

THE first new Rolls-Royce in three years will cost the same as its four-door sibling when it goes on sale in Australia late this year.

However, we won’t get quite the same Wraith, as the new two-door, four-seat coupe is known, as the rest of the world because some of the key technology it uses will be missing.

The $645,800 entry-level price of the Wraith makes Australia the only market in the world where the two-door and four-door models are identically priced, with other markets paying a slight premium for the new model.

However, while other markets will get a clever satellite-based system that can read the road ahead and allow the Wraith to respond appropriately, Australian-delivery models will miss out as Rolls-Royce engineers scramble to tweak the system to work here.

The problem, says Rolls-Royce Asia Pacific general manager of sales Dan Bulmer, is that the satellite system will only work in certain parts of Australia.

“We do plan to bring this to Australia, but there’s no date behind that,” Mr Bulmer said from Sydney after introducing a virtual version of the motorshow-fresh Wraith to potential buyers.

“The technology relies on GPS satellite technology which must be very, very accurate - you must know the radius of the curve in front of you and the topology of the mapping.

“That does exist at some points in Australia, but not every point here yet, and we have to come to Australia with a car and test that it fully works before we unleash it on production cars.

“I am told by the engineers that the program will happen, but it won’t be available at launch.” Mr Bulmer said he did not have an on-sale date given to him by the system’s developers, but said it would be too difficult to retrofit the technology.

“It will take some time, so we will see a period of the car on sale here without the system fitted,” he said.

“It’s not just a software or sat-nav issue, it’s also how the gearbox itself is controlled, and that is part of the architecture of the car.

“So I don’t think it will be retrofittable, no,” Mr Bulmer said.

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