Some might say that Rolls’ first fastback is a coupe that has been a tad over-engineered. Apart from rambling on about the ‘suicide doors’ (they are rear-hinged) and hidden umbrellas, I keep finding features which I do wonder are quite what one would expect in a Roller.
The night vision feature is an example. The centre sat nav display can be switched to infrared night vision that identifies potential hazards more than 200 yards ahead. They show up as a white blurs, rather like a cine-film in the negative.
It is sure to entertain your passengers on a long night trip but I can’t help but think this smacks of gimmick. And besides, you have to take your eyes off the road to study it properly and that can’t be good.
Our test car didn’t have the ‘star light’ roof lining, which brightens up the interior with a star-spangled top. But it did boast the inch-thich, lambs wool floor mats that are a bugger to clean.
Am I being picky? It just seems like the Wraith is something of a luxurious fairground ride with too much going on. Sure, it’s a class car but I think I can do without all the extras that I’m unlikely to ever need.
James Bond had machine guns fitted to his Aston Martin, wealthy people in South Africa arm their motors with flame throwers for extra protection. So what does the Wraith come equipped with? Umbrellas, of course.
Yes, it’s just what every English gentleman should carry when skies turn grey. But what makes the Wraith brollies special is where they are stored in the car.
The chrome-plated handles are embossed with the Rolls logo and slot neatly into the bulkhead. They are only visible when the rear-hinged doors are open, press a button and they pop out to meet you.
It’s quite bizarre that for all the luxurious features fitted to the Wraith, it’s the umbrellas which have proved the most entertaining for passengers. We’ll talk about the night vision and retractable Spirit of Ecstasy tomorrow…
There was a moment yesterday, driving the Wraith around Trafalgar Square, surrounded by red buses and listening to Desert Island Discs, that I’ve never felt more British.
There may be a German V12 engine at the heart of Rolls-Royce these days, but is there a more ‘British’ car I wonder?
The air of serenity inside the cockpit of the Wraith demands you switch from Radio 2 to Classic FM immediately, then set the slightly complicated heater fans to ‘soft’ and just soak up the atmosphere.
No need to press the 6.6-litre engine too hard, it’s gulping fuel at an alarming rate already. The Wraith isn’t a sports coupe by any measure – the ride is sublimely comfortable, like an armchair floating on air.
It’s a car built for Mr Bridger in the Italian Job, except you don’t need to be Noel Coward to appreciate it…
Look, it’s all a matter of personal taste but a straw poll of six Wraith watchers today confirmed the bonkers Bent-Wood door-panel trim on the Rolls ain’t quite as appealing as it sounds.
Comments range from ‘a bit Ikea’ to ‘like something the Flintstones would drive’. Fair, the Wraith is a beautifully sleek 2+2 but the grain-matched trim on both front doors rather detracts from the stylish dashboard in all it’s leather luxuriousness.
And then there are the doors themselves. It’s fun letting people try and open them because they can’t find the handle. That’s because they are rear-hinged. Cool? Once the initial novelty factor has worn off, it’s a tad tiresome.
The doors are also incredibly heavy – possibly the wood? Anyway, to get around this, Rolls have fitted buttons which electronically close both doors and the boot lid.
Is it just me or is this all just a little gimmicky? We’ll look at some other unusual features tomorrow…