First Drive: 2014 Rolls Royce Wraith rolls royce luxury cars first drives
First Drive: 2014 Rolls Royce Wraith rolls royce luxury cars first drives
First Drive: 2014 Rolls Royce Wraith rolls royce luxury cars first drives
2014 Rolls-Royce Wraith. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Justin Mastine-Frost, additional photos courtesy Rolls-Royce

Scottsdale, Arizona – “Nobody needs a Rolls-Royce.”

This is the line that summed up our presentation at the North American launch of the Rolls-Royce Wraith in Scottsdale, Arizona. The brand is very aware that they are the epitome of the luxury automobile, and based on the design of the new Wraith, the idea of them value-engineering anything in the coming years simply isn’t going to happen. Bespoke or custom orders for the brand have been rising dramatically and even with an entry price of well above $300K, Rolls-Royce takes no issue welcoming their customers’ special requests with open arms – provided they see an open check book.

Bespoke catalogue aside, the new Wraith is one exceptionally stunning piece of kit. The swooping side-profile is reminiscent of the curvy coupes of the ’30s and ’40s while the front and rear speak to the Wraith’s four-door sibling, the Rolls-Royce Ghost. I’ve always been a fan of 1940s Mercury hot rods, and this thing is about as close as any current model car will ever get. The car’s designers did an excellent job of creating coachwork that is sleek and aerodynamic without seeming too soft or feminine. The cars on site all arrived in a high-contrast two-tone paint job, which accentuates the car’s curves perfectly. From just about every angle the Wraith displays that big and bold presence the brand is known for without ever seeming to be trying too hard to grab your attention. I’ll admit I was smitten with the lovely shade of blue their display car appeared in, though the dark burgundy/brown car we drove wasn’t half bad looking either.

As expected, the Wraith’s interior is even more impressive. The brand has laid claim to the title of “Largest piece of wood used in an automotive door trim panel” with the new model, and it is by all accounts one substantial piece of lumber. Having seen so much horrible wood or faux-wood trim over the last year this is an interesting change of pace. Of course Rolls-Royce wouldn’t simply settle for having the largest of anything. Instead they went above and beyond that call and created a sculpted panel that curves inward, yet doesn’t show any curvature in the lines of the wood grain. Again, super over-the-top, but incredibly impressive in that “because we can” sort of way. Another interesting touch in the Wraith is the trademark Starlight ceiling in the car, which used to be a $10,000 option in other models. The fibre optic light pattern is woven into the headliner, giving the driver the sensation of driving under the stars without having to brave the elements.

First Drive: 2014 Rolls Royce Wraith rolls royce luxury cars first drives First Drive: 2014 Rolls Royce Wraith rolls royce luxury cars first drives
2014 Rolls-Royce Wraith. Click image to enlarge

A new Rolls-Royce model that’s beautifully crafted and clad in top-of-the-line finishes is hardly a surprise, but going into the drive event the big question was how the big Roller would handle the open road. Plenty of information had been floating around about this being the fastest and most powerful car they’ve ever produced. This begged the question of where it would stack up against any of the other big-gun coupes on the market. Under the Wraith’s heaving bonnet lives a 6.6L twin-turbocharged V12 packing 624 hp that is capable of 0-100 in 4.6 seconds, which is legitimately quick, but Rolls-Royce isn’t exactly known for violent and aggressive acceleration. My curiosity was piqued to a point that I’d purposely arranged a drive of the Bentley Continental GT the following day to see if any parallels could be drawn between the two cars. Our slow cruise out of Scottsdale and into the Arizona desert was quick to prove the Wraith has that same isolation-chamber-meets-leather-lounge-on-wheels vibe found in every other current model, but when we rounded that final corner of civilization and faced out into the vast expanse of red rock and scrub brush things suddenly got just a little different.




About Justin Mastine-Frost

Justin Mastine-Frost is a Vancouver-based automotive journalist and technician with a penchant for speed, adventure and food. When not writing or wrenching, he is often found exploring new canyon roads.