Even a decade ago, the thought of an electric Rolls-Royce would have seemed positively preposterous… But in what’s a huge sign of the times, the prestigious British marque has just unveiled its first-ever electric vehicle, the Spectre coupé.
Rolls-Royce is billing the stunning new car as the world’s first “Ultra-Luxury Electric Super Coupé” – because of course they have – and while superficially it shares much in common with the petrol-powered Wraith coupé which has been in production since 2013 (although it’s actually based on the same platform as the Phantom sedan and the Cullinan SUV), under the skin, it’s a very different beast.
“This is the start of a bold new chapter for our marque, our extraordinary clients and the luxury industry. For this reason, I believe Spectre is the most perfect product that Rolls-Royce has ever produced,” Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös says.
It’s also been confirmed alongside the Spectre’s release that by 2030, its entire product portfolio will be fully electric. So the real question is this: what does an electric Rolls look like, and how does it stack up to a fossil fuel-powered one?
WATCH the world’s first glimpse at the Rolls-Royce Spectre below.
At first glance, the Spectre is immediately recognisable as a Rolls – they haven’t thrown the baby out with the bathwater.
Imposing yet elegant, it has plenty of characteristic Rolls-Royce features such as suicide doors and the famous Spirit of Ecstacy hood ornament… Although in the case of the latter, Rolls have actually redesigned her with a lower stance which makes her more aerodynamic as well as much closer to her original design.
The Spectre’s interior is similarly sleek, with a reasonably conventional cockpit that elegantly integrates a single screen across the dash, flowing from the gauge cluster to the centre console, with an analogue clock breaking up the screen towards the passenger seat.
If you option Rolls’ famous Starlight Headliner, you’ll also be blessed with stars on your door panels, too – something we haven’t seen before.
As previously mentioned, the Spectre’s exterior design is rather similar to the Wraith’s, albeit somewhat more angular and we dare say a bit more refined. The sharp daytime running lights up front looks very sleek, but what’s really impressive is the way the car is styled towards the rear, with the largest single body panel ever produced for a Rolls-Royce extending from the A-pillar to the luggage compartment.
There’s remarkably little that gives away that the Spectre is an electric car, except for the lack of a tailpipe. That’s probably the goal; to normalise electrification (as well as not to scare off the older crowd who are Rolls’ customer base, we suspect).
As the Spectre is yet to enter mainstream production, Rolls hasn’t confirmed final performance figures (of course, Rolls always describe the performance of their cars as “adequate”) but have instead shared that their preliminary data suggest it’ll make 430kW/900Nm, boast 520km of range and will do 0-100km/h in 4.5 seconds. Not bad. For comparison, that’s about as fast as a Ford Mustang GT.
An electric drivetrain arguably suits luxury cars like Rolls-Royces exceptionally well. Rolls’ mission when it comes to drivetrains has always been about smoothness. That’s why they persevere with V12 engines, for example: because they’re much smoother than, say, a V8.
But electric cars are even smoother than even the most velvety ICE, and of course, they make virtually no noise – another boon to Rolls. They’re all about giving their passenger (and driver) the most effortless, least intrusive driving experience possible. In that sense, the Spectre will deliver in spades.
Rolls haven’t given us any indication of pricing, but if the Wraith (which has a starting price of AU$635,000) is anything to go by, you shouldn’t expect much change from a million bucks. It’s a Rolls. It won’t be cheap.
The first deliveries of the Rolls-Royce Spectre will arrive in Q4 2023. Watch this space.