Rolls-Royce has finally thrown the covers off its first-ever all-electric car, the Spectre.
The Spectre is the first major step in Rolls-Royce’s move towards full electrification by 2030. The first examples of this “statement of intent and a symbol of a bright, bold future” are due to arrive in late 2023, each of which will be built at RR’s home in Goodwood.
Fittingly, the brand’s new flagship has undergone, what Rolls-Royce calls, “the most exhaustive testing programme [the marque] had ever conceived.” More than 2.5 million kilometres have already been completed, the equivalent of 400 years of use.
The EV sits atop the latest version of RR’s ‘Architecture of Luxury,’ a flexible, all-aluminum spaceframe chassis capable of hosting the likes of Ghost and Cullinan but tailored primarily towards electric drive. This is in contrast to its predecessors, most of which used a BMW Group-developed platform.
Indeed, the flexibility of the architecture is said to have proved crucial towards both an evolved design (we’ll come back to that in a second) and “the quality of experience.” The battery, for example, is mounted within the structure, which, alongside additional aluminum bracing, means the Spectre’s chassis is 30 per cent stiffer than any Rolls-Royce before it. Further benefits include a totally flat cabin floor, a dedicated channel for wiring looms and climate control pipework, a low seating position, and “almost 700 kg of sound deadening.”
Interestingly, the flat floor, and the fact that, at 5,453 mm long and 2,080 mm wide, the Spectre is larger than the Wraith, means the new EV is marketed as a four-seater rather than a 2+2.
Mated with the platform, Spectre’s bespoke Planar Suspension is “an orchestra of systems” specifically designed to create the brand’s hallmark ‘magic carpet ride’ primary testing of which was conducted on the Côte d’Azur earlier this year. A suite of high-speed processors monitor the road ahead and can automatically decouple the anti-roll bars allowing each wheel to act independently, preventing the cabin from ‘rocking’ mid-corner.
Though battery capacity and full technical details not been fully confirmed, the dual e-motors produce a combined 576 hp and 664 lb ft of torque, enough for a 0-100 km/h sprint of 4.5 seconds despite the sizeable 2,975 kg curb weight. Preliminary data estimates the electric range could be as high as 520 km, though this will only be finalized after the last stage of testing is completed in the second quarter of 2023.
For the design, Rolls-Royce set out to define, what it calls, the new ‘Ultra-Luxury Electric Super Coupé’ segment without trampling its trademark look. The ultra-thin, split headlights for example are a nod to the Spectre’s Phantom Coupé ‘forebear,” but between lies the widest grille ever seen on a Rolls-Royce, which, incidentally, is also ‘softly’ illuminated at night via 22 LEDs. The 23-inch wheels are the largest to be fitted to a Rolls-Royce in almost a century, while the fastback sloping roofline draws eyes to RR’s traditional, rear-hinged doors. Below that, the sills – sorry, ‘waft line’ – curve inwards, akin to the hull of a racing yacht to create “an uncomplicated sense of motion by reflecting the road passing beneath it.”
Don’t be fooled though, the Spectre is stated to be the most aerodynamic Rolls-Royce in history: sleek and flusher-fit vanes on the ‘Pantheon’ grille, for example, allow for smoother airflow at the front, while the re-designed Spirit of Ecstasy – the product of 830 combined hours of design and wind-tunnel work – is the most aerodynamic yet at 0.25 cd.
Inside, alongside re-sculpted front seats, the cabin roof Headliner previously seen on the Phantom has been extended yet further. Both Starlight Doors incorporate 4,796 softly illuminated ‘stars,’ while a further 5,500+ lights form the ‘Illuminated Fascia’ across the passenger side of the dashboard. On the centre console, a new digital infotainment system – Spirit – makes its debut on the Spectre. Based on BMW’s latest generation i-drive system, Spectre owners can access Spirit remotely via their smartphones, and, for the first time, the look can be individually tailored akin to a personalized cabin design.
Price? Oh come now. You know better than to ask that question…