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December 20, 2013

Test Drive: The 2014 Rolls-Royce Wraith

By Frank Vizard | Automobiles

Test Drive: The 2014 Rolls-Royce Wraith
Courtesy of Rolls Royce

Rolls-Royce has a reputation for excellence, and its new two-door 2014 Wraith (as driven, $281,880) lives up to it in every way. There are few other cars that look as natural parked in front of the Palais Coburg (Coburgbastei 4; palais-coburg.com), the sumptuous 19th-century palace in Vienna that is now a five-star hotel and was our point of departure for our test-drive.

But after a 230-mile loop from the tram-filled city streets to rustic Mariazell, a vacation and Catholic-pilgrimage site in the Austrian Alps, the biggest takeaway was the effortless ride, made possible by satellite-aided transmission (SAT), which processes GPS navigation data to anticipate changes in the road ahead and shift among the eight gears accordingly. The system is spooky smooth on sweeping mountain curves and quickens acceleration out of corners. The 12-cylinder, twin-turbo, 624-horsepower engine helps enormously, spurring the Wraith from zero to 60 miles per hour in 4.4 seconds. That kind of power isn’t in everyone’s future, but SAT may very well be.

Inside, notable highlights include Canadel wood paneling, fine-grain leather, lambswool floor mats, massage seats and a starlight headliner comprised of thousands of tiny fiber-optic lights woven into the roof lining. A ten-inch screen and a touch pad anchor the electronics suite, which also utilizes voice-activated navigation, and radar- and camera-linked safety systems keep things in check. A selection of exterior colors is available, including a two-tone mix, but if you want to draw smiles, go with the purple-metallic paint job of our test car (pictured here).

There is a lot to love. (So much, in fact, that we included it on The Departures 100 list.) But perhaps best of all is that the Wraith is a driver’s car, easy to maneuver thanks to 590 pound-feet of torque. Take into account the tucked-in Pantheon grille and iconic Spirit of Ecstasy figure on the hood (leaning forward even more than normal), and the Wraith, with its fastback lines, is going places. rollsroycemotorcars.com.

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