Of the values associated with Wraith, winter is not at the top of the list. It’s an elegant vehicle that most commonly draws praise for its lamb’s wool carpeting, starlight ceiling, GPS-connected suspension, single-tree wood paneling and quaking 12-cylinder engine, among many other attributes.
The above video, however, shows the level of thought that Rolls-Royce put into the design. Rolls-Royce sent test driver Lutz Hahn and Wraith up to the frozen lakes of Sweden to test drive where temperatures frequently reached 40 degrees below zero. Most machines perform well enough during balmy room temperatures, but a vehicle of the Wraith’s size and complexity—mechanically and technologically—would be marvelous if it could operate under cold of such magnitude.
The purpose of the test was multi-pronged: the vehicle would be evaluated in terms of grip, agility, uphill motoring, traction control, skidding, overall stability and ability to perform on snow and ice. Not only is Lutz exercising his observatory skills as a driver, he is also recording multitudinous amounts of data for analysis back in the shop.
Of course, Wraith is not a light car, as you might have gathered. Any vehicle whose interior can be described as “vaultlike” must employ various and sundry materials to ensconce the drive and passengers. Seeing Wraith come to a halt, therefore, on a hill similar in incline to San Francisco, then begin climbing again with the wintry Swedish backdrop behind is straightforwardly impressive.
Similarly, many people know that when driving on snow and ice, momentum is a crucial force (that can help or hurt) and has to be maintained if you want to avoid the wheel-spinning that can occur when starting from a dead stop. It’s preferable to drive in straight lines with as gradual turns as possible because angled front wheels increase the chance of losing traction and control of the rear end. And yet you watch as Lutz sends the car up winding snowy switchbacks to test Wraith in exactly this capability.
On the frozen lake itself—which, by the way, must be the most fantastic place to test a car in wintry conditions—Lutz experiments with turning traction and stability controls off to see how the chassis performs unaided, then back on so the computer can have as much data as possible to evaluate back home.
This kind of testing demonstrates the thorough research that went into producing a vehicle that will last for decades, if not more, and should be properly calibrated for all types of driving. We couldn’t be more pleased.