Rolls-Royce Enters the Electric Vehicle Market
Rolls-Royce, the epitome of luxury and opulence, has finally embraced the world of electrification with the introduction of the Spectre. This monumental shift marks the culmination of nearly 120 years of evolution since the visionary days of Charles Rolls, who spoke about the potential of electric drivetrains. After a captivating one-off Phantom electric luxury car in 2011 and the futuristic 103 EX concept in 2016, the technology has now matured to a point where CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös believes an electric Rolls-Royce is the right choice moving forward.
I flew to Napa Valley via San Francisco last week to immerse myself in a world of luxury hotels, fine dining, and exquisite wine, sampling the first-ever production series electric Rolls-Royce, just as a typical customer would. A fleet of 15 uniquely bespoke Rolls-Royce Spectres graced the entrance of the Four Seasons Resort and Residences Napa Valley. After careful consideration, my driving partner and I settled on a striking two-tone Olivin and White Sands Spectre. The combination of these subtle yet stunning colors exuded a remarkable presence on the road. As we were about to find out.
- Smooth and effortless acceleration
- Impeccably noiseless
- Ultra luxurious
The Rolls-Royce Spectre captivates with its stunning exterior design and a refined, modern interior that exudes elegance.
The Spectre: A Stunning New Electric Super-Coupe
The Rolls-Royce Spectre is underpinned by the brand’s exclusive all-aluminum architecture, distinct from BMW’s CLAR platform, showcasing Rolls-Royce’s commitment to creating a bespoke and luxurious electric vehicle experience. One of the key highlights of the Spectre is its impressive 106 kWh battery pack, which happens to be the largest of any product within the BMW Group. This substantial battery capacity provides the Spectre with a remarkable maximum range of approximately 310-320 miles on the WLTP (260 miles on EPA), a noteworthy achievement considering its substantial three-ton curb weight.
Design and Technology
Powering this elegant two-door luxury electric vehicle is a sophisticated dual-motor setup, delivering an all-wheel-drive system that enhances both performance and traction. The combination of these electric motors results in a formidable power output of 577 horsepower and an impressive 664 lb-ft of torque, delivering smooth and effortless acceleration. With such power at its disposal, the Spectre achieves a remarkable 0-62 mph sprint in just 4.5 seconds.
2024 Rolls-Royce Spectre Specs
- Base price: $420,000
- Drivetrain: Two electric motors and all-wheel drive
- Horsepower: 577 hp
- Torque: 664 lb-ft
- 0-62 mph: 4.5 seconds
- Curb weight: 6,372 lbs
- EPA Range: 260 miles estimated
- On Sale: Q4 2023
For charging purposes, the Spectre offers the convenience of a DC Fast Charger, capable of replenishing the battery’s capacity from 10 to 80 percent in approximately 34 minutes. While it’s worth noting that many Rolls-Royce customers already possess charging stations at their residences or have plans to install one, Rolls-Royce has acknowledged that some customers even have expressed interest in the idea of integrating a DC Fast Charger into their homes. Undoubtedly, this endeavor represents a significant investment, reflecting their commitment to embracing the future of electric mobility.
Design wise, the Rolls-Royce Spectre is a magnificent four-seater super-coupe, succeeding the cherished Phantom Coupe and the Wraith. The Rolls-Royce Spectre certainly shares some familiar design with the Wraith but with a new design that’s sharper, sleeker, and sportier than before. According to Anders Warming, Head of Design at Rolls-Royce, every surface of the Spectre has been refined to perfection, including the elegantly integrated waft line.
Its hull line was the most difficult part about designing Spectre, says Warming. The single, unbroken line that runs from the Pantheon grille to the rear of the vehicle measures 6.5 meters. “Why is this so difficult? Because, as you can imagine, we’re dealing with a lot of influences,” Warming adds. “Aerodynamics, we’re dealing with hardpoints, we’re dealing with a pedestrian protection, all these topics basically dictate where shapes need to go sometimes.”
The doors are also the largest ever offered on a Rolls-Royce. As for those wheels, you’re looking at the first two-door coupe to ride on 23-inch alloys in almost 100 years. According to Warming, the 23-inch wheels are necessary to maintain a visual balance, complementing the Spectre’s overall design.
The grille, the widest ever seen on a Rolls-Royce, is purposefully designed to reduce drag, diverting the traditional cooling function to the area beneath the grille and bumper. The iconic Spirit of Ecstasy has also undergone a redesign, leaning forward for improved efficiency and with tapered wings. These elements, combined with the permanently lit split headlights, create a captivating and modern face for the Spectre.
Rolls-Royce is proud to announce that its aerodynamic efficiency, a crucial factor in the world of electric vehicles, has a remarkable 0.25 Cd.
Starlight Headliner and Doors, Minimalist and Customizable Digital Gauge Cluster
The new Spectre goes beyond delivering excellence in its uncompromising exterior design. Customers have the option to enhance the interior with the iconic star headliner, adding a touch of astronomic opulence not only to the ceiling but also extending to the door cards. The Starlight Doors have 4,786 individual lit stars. Furthermore, the dashboard has undergone a thoughtful refinement, aiming for a cleaner and more streamlined appearance. The objective was to create a flat dashboard design that maximizes visibility while ensuring a cohesive aesthetic throughout the vehicle.
The digital gauge cluster has sparked discussions among journalists, and at first glance, their concerns seem valid. However, what many didn’t anticipate is that Rolls-Royce’s customer demographic skews younger than expected, even compared to BMW and most European brands. To cater to this audience, Rolls-Royce has integrated a clean and minimalist approach to the digital gauges, reminiscent of Apple’s simplicity. Remarkably, this modernization doesn’t compromise the brand’s heritage, as the “power reserve” gauge remains a standard feature, possibly causing bemusement for first-time drivers and eliciting knowing smiles from chauffeurs worldwide. Also, for the first time, you can also customize the color of your digital dials to match the interior of your Rolls-Royce Spectre.
Naturally, the Rolls-Royce Spectre features a central touchscreen interface, conveniently accessible through a rotary controller for seamless operation. The climate control system in the vehicle is intuitively managed by substantial rotary knobs, adorned with the iconic Rolls-Royce red and blue discs, providing a touch of traditional elegance to the interior. Preserving tradition goes beyond lip service for Rolls-Royce. Warming, with authoritative confidence, emphasizes that in a Rolls-Royce, every seat must be perfect, leaving no room for a mere “second row.” Consequently, the redesigned rear seats in the Spectre feature uninterrupted surface areas, inviting occupants to recline and luxuriate as they desire.
As we embark on our journey, our driving route leads us through picturesque roads in the enchanting Napa Valley. The route weaves through a captivating blend of winding twists and turns, surrounded by vineyards on either side, creating a beautiful backdrop for our exclusive drive. Torsten Müller-Ötvös was careful to emphasize once again that Spectre is a Rolls-Royce first and an electric car second. Of course, a bold statement that we had to put to test.
While the Spectre is an embodiment of luxury, it’s important to remember that it is not a sports car, nor does it strive to be one. Instead, the power delivery of the Spectre is linear and progressive, in contrast with what electric cars usually deliver. To achieve that, Dr. Mihiar Ayoubi – director of engineering at Rolls-Royce has artificially delayed the response of the accelerator pedal. This gives the vehicle a more natural crescendo to speed instead of the “rocketing” most modern EVs are guilty of – and, indeed, embracing. In Rolls-Royce terms, this is called the “champagne test.”
Naturally, Spectre follows Rolls’ three main engineering concepts: effortlessness, waftability, and Magic Carpet Ride. The last two often intersect. Waftability is skillfully achieved through multiple avenues, each contributing to an extraordinary driving experience. The first is the ability to effortlessly accelerate from low engine speeds, offering a seamless surge of power without any hint of strain. Additionally, the near-silent operation of the vehicle adds to the overall serenity and silence, typical to Rolls-Royce cars.
The renowned “Magic Carpet Ride” of the Spectre gracefully glides over various surfaces, providing an unparalleled smoothness that surpasses any other electric vehicle. The sophisticated suspension system continuously adapts to the road conditions, ensuring an impeccable ride quality. As we traversed our route, hardly any bumps or potholes managed to disturb the tranquility inside the cabin.
Magic Carpet Ride
To achieve that, Spectre comes with two active rolls bars and the largest suspension ever offered in a Rolls-Royce. Even over some imperfect roads in the Napa Valley, the adaptive dampers react within milliseconds, thanks to a so-called Ride Control Domain, a bigger control system orchestrating a series subsystems. Of course, a large and heavy car like the Spectre presented some challenges when it came to the chassis’ balance. Therefore, the engineering team built the battery into the cabin, increasing the car’s rigidity by 30% compared to Ghost while also reducing NVH, keeping it comfortable and quiet.
Mere moments into the drive, the fact that I was in an all-electric Rolls-Royce quickly escaped my mind. The remarkably quiet cabin and the seamless driving experience created a sense of wonder, leaving me to ponder whether I was behind the wheel of a powerful V12 engine or an electric drivetrain.
In typical Rolls-Royce fashion, the Spectre only comes with one brake regeneration mode. The one-pedal feel can be activated via the B button on the steering’s stalk. Why a single option? Firstly, for simplicity. And secondly, Dr. Ayoubi said that his team tried different regenerative braking modes but all of them offer too many compromises. Similar to other large electric vehicles, the B mode in the Spectre exhibits a certain level of aggressiveness, intentionally designed to offer the most regen. While it may require some adjustment and familiarity, my co-driver and I spent time exploring this mode. However, after careful consideration, we unanimously concluded that the default driving mode is the optimal choice.
While it’s true that a Rolls-Royce is not typically associated with aggressive cornering or prioritizing steering feedback, I couldn’t resist pushing the limits of the Rolls-Royce Spectre on a few winding stretches. Despite its substantial three-tonne weight, the luxury electric vehicle surprises with its ability to navigate corners with an unexpected grace. It managed to conceals its mass, instilling confidence in the driver. The Spectre’s calibration and response to inputs are finely tuned, particularly obvious in its brilliant throttle control. The performance is directly proportional to the amount of throttle travel.
It’s a testament to the engineering prowess behind the Spectre, showcasing that even in moments of spirited driving, this Rolls-Royce maintains its poise and inspires a sense of ultimate confidence.
The Spectre: The Future of Luxury Electric Cars
In conclusion, the Rolls-Royce Spectre is a true embodiment of the Rolls-Royce heritage, placing its identity as a luxurious masterpiece above its status as an electric vehicle. As a fine luxury EV, it sets the stage for future eco-friendly Rolls-Royces, showcasing the brand’s commitment to sustainability. The Spectre captivates with its stunning exterior design and a refined, modern interior that exudes elegance. Its impeccably noiseless and effortless drive reinforces the unparalleled comfort associated with the Rolls-Royce name.
Notably, the Spectre has successfully attracted a significant number of new customers, with 40% of its buyers being newcomers to the brand. This speaks volumes about the car’s appeal and its ability to capture the hearts of wealthy individuals seeking the epitome of luxury and refinement.
However, there is one slight drawback to the Spectre—the wait time. Placing an order today means patiently anticipating until 2025 for delivery. Nevertheless, for those fortunate enough to secure their place in line, the anticipation will be rewarded with an extraordinary driving experience that exemplifies the timeless allure of a Rolls-Royce.
Rolls-Royce Spectre FAQ
The Spectre has a top speed of 155 mph and can run from 0 to 62 mph (0-100 km/h) in 4.5 seconds.
The 2024 Rolls-Royce Spectre has an MSPR of $420,000 in the United States. The car we tested with the dual-tone color was priced at around $500,000.
Rolls-Royce Motor is taking orders for the new Rolls-Royce Spectre now, but orders are already pushed into 2025.