This is an interesting moment in the history of Rolls-Royce. It isn’t surprising to see Rolls-Royce dip its toes into electrified water. However, it will be interesting to see how it’s perceived. Rolls has said in the past that it wouldn’t do an electric car until the technology was up to par with its incredibly high standards. Now, the Rolls-Royce Spectre is here but can it provide the levels of luxury and opulence the brand’s customers expect?
Electric powertrains actually suit the Rolls-Royce brand better than internal combustion engines. An electric motor can provide a level of smoothness, refinement, and instantaneous torque that the world’s best engines couldn’t dream of. So switching to electrification is a no-brainer from a luxury standpoint. However, how will Rolls-Royce customers feel about charging an EV, searching for charge stations, and having to deal with an infrastructure that’s far less convenient than filling up a gasoline car? It’s going to be fascinating to find out with the new Spectre.
Rolls-Royce Wraith Replacement?
It’s natural to assume that the Rolls-Royce Spectre is just an all-electric Wraith replacement. The Wraith was Rolls’ previous two-door GT car and now that it’s gone, the Spectre is Rolls’ two-door GT car. However, it seems that the two cars will have different flavors, aside from the different powertrains. While the Wraith was very much like a two-door Ghost, the Spectre seems like it’s own unique car with its own unique character. Dare I say, it’s even a bit sportier than the Wraith?
Rolls-Royce Spectre Exterior Design
Electrification Makes the Chassis Better
Like all modern Rolls’, the new Spectre is built on the brand’s all-aluminum Architecture of Luxury platform. It’s a flexible platform, designed to accommodate either internal combustion or electric powertrains, and it’s both lightweight and stiff. In fact, due to the battery tray being integrated into the floor of the chassis, the Spectre is 30 percent stiffer than any previous Rolls-Royce. Interestingly, the battery also acts as 700 kg of sound insulation, making the car even quieter inside.
This is probably what everyone wants to read. Replacing the old 6.75-liter twin-turbocharged V12 is a pair of electric motors. Rolls doesn’t have any official power figures just yet, as the powertrain is still being refined. However, the current prediction from Rolls is that the Spectre will make 577 horsepower and 664 lb-ft of torque. The initial performance estimate is a 0-60 mph time of 4.4 seconds.
But the important bit is range. How will customers respond to have a bit less convenience with the Spectre than any other previous Rolls? Its battery pack should provide around 260 miles of range, which isn’t horrible but it isn’t great, either. That range estimate is with 23-inch wheels and with its 6,559 lb curb weight. Will Rolls customers being okay with being on a 130 mile leash, lest they wait 30 minutes to charge up in public? It’s going to be interesting to see how customers handle this.
Rolls-Royce says it’s still testing the powertrain to get its power figures and refinement finalized. Though, don’t expect to see any definitive answers any time soon. Rolls claims it will have official figures before its market launch in Q4 2023.
Will it Still be Luxurious?
Of course it will be luxurious. Like with the new Ghost, the Spectre will have Rolls’ Planar suspension setup, which can read the road ahead and prepare the suspension for bumps ahead of time. It can also decouple the anti-roll bars, which allows the wheels to move independently of each other. Not only does that remove the twitchiness of stiff anti-roll bars on the highway but it also improves ride quality. If one wheel can move freely of the other, vibrations and impacts aren’t sent through it to the other wheel. That improves comfort and NVH.
It also has the same secondary damper on its suspension, an idea take from the new Ghost. Essentially, it acts as a small vibration damper on the upper front wishbone. That damper reduces the high-speed vibration that air suspension just can’t.
The Planar system also comprehensively tweaks the car’s settings for steering, dampers, transmission, powertrain, four-wheel steer, and even brakes as needed.
Rolls-Royce isn’t going to like me saying this but the new Spectre looks a bit like a Wraith. In the Spectre’s defense, its front end is entirely different. Its split headlights, ultra-slim upper headlights, and far shorter Pantheon grille are all drastically different than the Wraith’s. However, in profile and from the rear, the Spectre looks like an updated, sharper, sleeker version of the Wraith.
There are some nice unique touches, though. For instance, the shoulder line is crisp and looks sporty, its window trim is sharp, and its front end seems to be a bit shorter and lower, due to not having a V12 under hood.
The shorter grille is a bit odd but it mostly works. It makes the Spectre seem more athletic and less stately but I think that was the point of the Spectre. This is a new era for Rolls-Royce and its grille reflects that. My only beef with the grille is that, being illuminated, the center vertical bar isn’t lit up, making it dark. That darkness vertically bisects the two halves of the grille, making it seem a bit like BMW kidney grilles.
Rolls-Royce Spectre Interior Design
The Future of Rolls-Royce
It’s hard to not be intrigued by this new Rolls. Obviously, without the final specs and information, we don’t have the full picture. However, from the small sample of the picture that we do have, the Spectre seems like it could be the promising entry into electrification we were hoping for from the world’s oldest luxury brand.