Rolls Royce is clearly on a roll. Nearly three months after the news of a possible new bespoke model dropped, the British luxury automaker has lifted the curtains on the Spectre, its first fully-electric vehicle.
Rolls Royce is not the first luxury auto brand to have an EV model. BMW has the i-series, and Porsche has the Taycan. But, over the years, the British brand has managed to create truly luxurious and spectacular marques that its entrance onto the EV scene is a big deal, as big as the size of the tyres on the Spectre.
Rolls Royce will have you know that, although it is not the first luxury brand to have a fully-electric model, the idea itself is not s stranger to the brand. In 1900, Rolls-Royce co-founder, Charles Rolls, bought an electric vehicle named The Columbia Electric Carriage. His experience with it caused him to say, “The electric car is perfectly noiseless and clean. There is no smell or vibration. They should become very useful when fixed charging stations can be arranged.” Charging stations have been around now for more than a century – after all, the early electric vehicles had to be charged – so, what stopped Rolls Royce from entering the fully-electric space since?
“The customers always said: it has to be a Rolls-Royce first, electric second,” explains Torsten Müller-Ötvös, CEO, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.
Apparently, Rolls-Royce has now found the sweet spot between luxury and sustainable solutions.
From the outside, the Rolls Royce Spectre resembles the image of the yet-to-be-confirmed Droptail, but, until the latter is brought to life, it is safe to say that the Spectre retains the physical structure of a typical Rolls Royce while still being different enough to be a truly unique marque.
For starters, the Rolls Royce Spectre is a sleek coupe, perhaps so designed to make it fast enough in spite of its weight. It retains the Greek Temple grille, but this is wider than any other grille on a Rolls Royce. The reason for its massive width is not to cool the engines but to reduce drag which it achieves with its smoother and flusher vanes.
Like the Phantom, the Spectre has been fitted with split headlights with daylight running lights on top and the main lights below which protrude from darkened chromium housings that give them a smokey, enigmatic look. When it is dark, the grille softly lights up with 22 LEDs illuminating the sandblasted rear side of each of the vanes, further conferring upon the coupe an air of luxury. Its 23-ich wheels take it from a mere luxury EV to a luxury coupe that is not to be messed with.
Inside, the luxury theme continues. For the first time on a series production Rolls-Royce, Spectre is available with Starlight Doors, which incorporate 4,796 softly illuminated ‘stars’. If you would rather not have so many lights in your vehicle, you can go with the option of wood Candel Panelling. Don’t worry, you would not miss out on much: the passenger side of the dashboard is fitted with the Spectre nameplate surrounded by a cluster of over 5,500 stars.
Spectre comes with a digitalised dashboard named Spirit that manages its functions and is seamlessly integrated into the marque’s Whispers application, allowing clients to interact with their auto remotely, and receive live information curated by the marque’s luxury intelligence specialists. Clients can choose to customise the colour of the dials to complement the interior hue of their EV, which includes seats that have a ‘lapel,’ a dart of upholstery that gives another option for contrast detailing.
According to Rolls Royce, the entire design of the Spectre was inspired by different arts including haute couture, modernist sculpture, nautical design, tailoring and contemporary art. In conceiving the principal sketches for Spectre, the marque’s creatives were drawn to modern yacht concepts, specifically the clarity and precision of line, intelligent use of reflection and application of taper to emotionalise silhouettes.
The Rolls Royce Spectre will run on BMW’s latest cell type, uniquely shaped to fit the marque’s floor. The motors too come from BMW, the EESM type that uses no rare earth metals and is efficient at high speeds. It is expected to have a range of 320 miles/520 kilometres and should achieve 0-60mph in 4.4 seconds (0-100km/h in 4.5 seconds). With a four-wheel steering system, adaptive dampers, air springs and a Planar system that enables the wheels of the vehicle to act independently on imperfect roads, owners are assured of a smooth, truly enjoyable ride.
The Rolls Royce Spectre is set to hit the market in Q4 2023, and in spite of its starting price tag of $413,000, Müller-Ötvös has confirmed that more than 300 US buyers have paid the initial deposit even before they saw the EV. Like Müller-Ötvös, it is possibly clear to avid enthusiasts of the brand that “Spectre is the most perfect product that Rolls Royce has ever produced.”