It’s a well-known fact that Charles Rolls was himself an EV enthusiast long before this current epoch of electrification, stating in 1900 that: “The electric car is perfectly noiseless and clean. There is no smell or vibration, and they should become very useful when fixed charging stations can be arranged. But for now, I do not anticipate that they will be very serviceable – at least for many years to come.”
His words were prophetic, and it is only now, after well over a century of building some of the world’s most luxurious and sought-after cars that Rolls-Royce has launched its first EV: the Spectre. It has been in development for a number of years and we have been drip-fed tantalising details during that time. True to its word that it would arrive in 2023, Rolls-Royce has launched the Spectre.
The Rolls-Royce Spectre is powered by a 577bhp, 664lb-ft powertrain – as it stands. The marque is finalising the tuning so these figures may change. In its current form, however, the Spectre will hit 62mph in 4.5 seconds and will do 323 miles on a charge according to the WLTP test. Whilst Rolls-Royce hasn’t confirmed the battery size, at 2.9 miles per kWh, this would put the battery at 111kWh.
Obviously, this efficiency isn’t exactly what you’d call good, and the car’s 2975kg weight is a big part of this. However, if 323 miles is achievable in the real world, it would put it roughly on par with the range that owners of the current petrol-powered Phantom can expect from a tank.
One thing to note about the car: It’s big. The Rolls-Royce Spectre might only be a two-door but it measures in at 5453mm long, 2080mm wide and 1559mm tall. It also has a huge wheelbase which, at 3210mm, will give the two rear seat occupants oodles of leg room. The platform upon which the car is based is known colloquially as ‘Architecture of Luxury’, a term which has been around since the first new-generation Phantom in 2003. However, whilst that was known as ‘Rolls-Royce 1.0’ and 2.0 represents the most recent petrol-powered cars, the new era of electrification has moved the marque onto ‘Rolls-Royce 3.0’.
The platform itself is bespoke aluminium, and benefits from being much stiffer thanks to integrating the battery housing, as well as a flat under floor for better aero. The battery has a secondary benefit; it is effectively a 700kg buffer between road noise and the occupants.
Look at the Spectre and its pure Rolls-Royce, but somehow more modern. The front end has a slightly more relaxed angle than the blunt snouts of other Rollers. It retains the iconic polished steel grille – the widest ever seen on a Rolls-Royce – albeit the veins are smoother and flusher to help with aerodynamics. Split headlights set in a deep recess add to the car’s drama, whilst the Spirit of Ecstasy figurine has been optimised for aero, helping the car achieve 0.25Cd in the wind tunnel.
From the side, the Spectre invokes the world of sailing with a ‘waft line’, lifted straight from yacht design along its monolithic flanks. The near fastback look of the car also plays on Rolls-Royce’s involvement in watercraft, whilst the dramatic rear end is framed by vertical tail lamps. An almost endless and customisable colour palette to choose from will mean customers can add drama to their cars, should they wish. Finally, 23 inch wheels are the largest seen on a two-door Rolls-Royce in almost a century.
Rolls-Royce is promising that the Spectre is the most technologically advanced car in its history with digital engineering at its heart. A huge amount of processing power means hundreds of thousands of variables are measured and optimised during driving, having been honed over 2.5 million kilometres of testing. Also ensuring the occupants have an experience rather than a journey is the Planar suspension, which helps create a ‘magic carpet ride’ – itself controlled by computers which take information from 18 sensors and adjust the ride to suit road conditions.
The interior design takes inspiration from the night sky and as well as the starlight roof lining, already famed in Rolls-Royce cars, starlight doors will be available for the first time, incorporating 4796 softly illuminated ‘stars’. The fascia is also illuminated like the night sky, with over 5500 stars surrounding the Spectre nameplate on the passenger side of the dashboard. A system called SPIRIT is the digital architecture that occupants will interact with.
As ever, Rolls-Royce offers a bespoke service to every buyer, meaning that there’s huge scope for them to personalise the materials, colours, look and feel of their car.
It’s possible to order a Rolls-Royce Spectre already and prices will start from around £300,000. The first customer deliveries are due in late 2023.
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