Rolls-Royce Wraith debuts with Satellite Aided Transmission

Most powerful Rolls ever

Satellite Aided Transmission

Fastback

Trunk

Coach doors

Hunkered down

Adaptive handling

Riding on a bed of air

Onboard valet

Borrowed from BMW

Pricing and availability

GENEVA--Rolls-Royce expands its spectral ranks at the 2013 Geneva auto show with the unveiling of the Wraith fastback.
Caption by / Photo by Antuan Goodwin/CNET
In addition to being stylistically noteworthy, the Wraith also distinguishes itself by being the most powerful Rolls-Royce model ever. Behind this Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament breaths a 624-horsepower, V-12 engine. Zero to 60mph happens in just 4.4 seconds.
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All 590 pound-feet of torque that the engine makes flow through an 8-speed Satellite Aided Transmission on its way to the rear wheels. That "satellite-aided" bit of tech links the gearbox to the GPS, which analyzes the road ahead and optimizes the gearbox's behavior for upcoming conditions.
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The two-door Wraith's fastback design features a roofline that drops off smoothly and steadily from its peak just above the driver's seat. Despite the sloping roofline, Rolls assures us that there's plenty of headroom above the coupe's rear seats.
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Sloping roofline or no, a hatchback would simply be unbecoming of Rolls-Royce's sophisticated clientele. So, the Wraith has a more conventional trunk that is separated from the cabin.
Caption by / Photo by Antuan Goodwin/CNET
Like all of Rolls' models -- including the its other two-door, the Phantom Coupe -- the Wraith features the automaker's signature rear-hinged "coach doors." Because the handles can be difficult to reach once seated, the doors can be automatically swung shut with the touch of a button.
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The Wraith's wheelbase has been shortened and its rear track increased over the Ghost's to improve the driving dynamic of this most-powerful Rolls.
Caption by / Photo by Antuan Goodwin/CNET
The Wraith uses adaptive steering that gets a heavier feel at high speeds and requires reduced effort at lower ones. It also has a suspension that is tuned to reduce body movement when cornering. I'm pretty sure that these are technologies borrowed from Rolls' parent company, BMW.
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It may be the most powerful Rolls of all time, but the luxury automaker assures us (and its prospective buyers) that the Wraith still feels "like riding on a bed of air" -- as a Rolls-Royce should.
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The cabin may be even more opulent than the exterior is with rich materials. Within its dashboard, the Rolls features modern technologies that have been renamed with over-the-top titles. Voice command? How about an "onboard valet?"
Caption by / Photo by Antuan Goodwin/CNET
Underpinning those silly feature names are, obviously, technologies borrowed from BMW and modified for an ultra-luxury buyer. Adaptive headlamps, heads up display, and keyless entry and starting are likely all heavily reworked BMW bits.
Caption by / Photo by Antuan Goodwin/CNET
The Rolls-Royce Wraith hits the European market later this year for 245,000 euro. North American availability and pricing will be announced at a later date. Check out the very dramatic intro video below.

Caption by / Photo by Antuan Goodwin/CNET
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