On a recent Friday afternoon, we walked the showroom with Roland Lewis, one of our representatives, to familiarize ourselves with our inventory. Rolls-Royce vehicles don’t change too often, it’s true, but we often write about new models and features at the expense of what exists in the now.
Present today was a 2014 Wraith and a 2014 Ghost. These are two vehicles that been so well-covered by the auto industry—particularly the brand-new Wraith—that a simple Google search will present scores of reviews that highlight the same features over and over again: starlight headliner made from 1,300 hand-cut optical fibers, lamb’s wool carpet so thick and soft you’ll never wear shoes again, vault-like levels of acoustic insulation, etc., etc., etc.
Talking with Roland, however, it became clear that there were a number of features that are frequently overlooked in most reviews. The first unusual thing that we noticed was the rear windows of the Wraith. Although a coupe, many people don’t realize that it seats four. Because Rolls-Royce doesn’t cut corners, even a tall person like Roland has plenty of space in the back, which means that rear passengers are going to need windows.
The Wraith’s designers, however, did not want a side B-pillar—the vertical beam in most cars that separates rear window from front—because it would mar the aesthetics. They also wanted the Wraith’s body to swell outside at that point to improve aerodynamics for the rear tires. All of that meant that the normal place for the rear to go—downward—was unavailable. With Wraith’s engineers split nearly 50/50 on allowing the rear window to descend, the team eventually devised a rocking motion for the windows to go back, forward, then back again to eventually recess into the body.
It was a complicated process that really didn’t need to happen, except to the vocal-barely-majority who decided that it did. The Ghost, on the other hand—which does have its B-pillars—has an emphasis on in-car entertainment. Able to accept multiple DVDs at once, each screen—including two for rear passengers—can be playing its own DVD.
With Bespoke audio, Rolls-Royce selects audio speakers and equipment to create the clearest, most lifelike audio to complement the impossible quietness of its cabins. Audi uses stereo equipment from Bang & Olufsen. Porsche and Mercedes-Benz uses Burmester. Jaguar uses Meridian. Maserati uses Bowers & Wilkins. Rolls-Royce chooses components from all of these to create a bespoke audio experience that surpasses anything available. For brevity’s sake, we elect to end this blog post here; to be continued.