For our April 2016 100|OCT Club Drive, we took our members from Los Gatos Luxury Cars to Bourbon Steak and Pub at Levi's Stadium. Our friends at Los Gatos Luxury Cars thought we should bring a Rolls Royce Wraith to the Stadium to advertise to the San Francisco 49ers as it is one in which all players can fit in comfortably and drive in luxury.
Rolls Royce are the most amazingly exquisite cars, but until very recently, they weren't very high on my list. I always assumed they were meant to be driven IN, not to drive yourself. If I were a CEO whose time is so valuable that I don't have time to drive myself places, it is DEFINITELY the brand I would go with and have Jeeves drive me around. Rolls Royces are gorgeous on the outside and on the inside. I mean, who doesn't like this starlit ceiling? And let's face it, they are more comfortable than my couch and my office chair put together. And there is enough space to work on my laptop and have a pile of files around me in the back.
But as far as driving, I never considered Rolls Royce cars to be driver's cars. That said, everything stated above is based on preconceptions, having never driven a Rolls Royce before. Was I being unfair?
I was also told by a couple of people who really enjoy driving that I would be surprised, as it actually is a fun car to drive. Someone also mentioned how the transmission is GPS-assisted and therefore actually quite efficient.
Well, OK then! Wraith, you have my interest. Let's take you for a spin!
We leave Los Gatos Luxury Cars on a gorgeous Saturday morning and get on the highway toward Santa Cruz. Beach traffic is in full effect: traffic is dense. The Wraith, as you could predict, is perfect on the highway and in traffic. It is smooth, it is comfortable, it is silent. This has to be the best sound-insulated car I've ever been in. When somebody's talking to you from the outside, you better know how to read lips. The engine sound is equally filtered out of the cabin.
So we're on our way up to the summit on Hwy-17 and everybody is enjoying the ride. Well, yes, I am driving, our photographer is in the passenger seat, and we have two teenage fans in the back. And we're all comfortable with a lot more space than we usually have in any cars, exotic or not.
Though the traffic is dense, it is not too slow. We're probably doing right about the speed limit, with both lanes packed with cars. The road snakes through the mountains and makes for some great pictures with the file of exotic cars on our 100|OCT Club Drive.
After going down the other side of the Santa Cruz Mountains, we exit the highway and start going back up. Through the twisties this time. As a driver, this is what interests me the most, and this is where I fear the Wraith should be a letdown. It is after all a 5,200 lb car. It can't be that fast and it can't be that agile.
Well... Maybe I spoke too soon. The car is equipped with a twin-turbo 6.6 liter V12 engine, developing 624 hp and 590 lb ft of torque so it really is no slouch. The guys at the back are giggling like school girls while we go up the hill on nicely banked turns and with an agility that no 5,200 lb car should be able to display. We're not being reckless as the twisties mean that we can't really go that fast, but the distance between each turn is covered quickly and the speed through the turns is actually quite remarkable. Neither teenager in the back has ever been in an exotic car before and they are loving the speed of the Wraith in the twisties. Hell, I've driven many exotics before and *I* am loving it too. It is a very capable and fun car in its own might!
The one thing I would mention as a complaint is the braking. You have to leave yourself ample room before a turn as it is a heavy car. With 4 people in it, it is even heavier. And although the brake rotors are huge, they are regular unventilated steel rotors. I am told the Black Badge Edition comes with carbon ceramic brakes. I would *really* recommend going this route if you're going to drive it to have fun in the twisties! If you're not, then this Wraith is perfect as it is.
After the twisties, we get back on a highway without much traffic and we drop down the order on the drive so that our photographer can take rolling shots of the other cars. This means we'll have to catch up and retake the lead before the next exit 10 miles down the road. I don't want to fall too far behind, so after the last car has gone by and gotten its portrait taken, we get on the throttle and start catching up. We're going at a very good clip, and yet the car is completely unbothered. Our photographer looks at me and says: "this is the slowest 125 mph has ever felt." Obviously we weren't doing 125 mph as that would be illegal. But if we had been going that fast, I agree, it would have felt like 75 or 80 mph, not 125. At high speed, the car feels very comfortable and yet responds to each little adjustment you make with the steering wheel or the gas pedal.
The Wraith is basically a marvel of engineering and shows what the good people at Rolls Royce can do:
Luxury and speed: no need to compromise!
If you're interested in acquiring this car or one like it -- they currently have four of them in stock -- please contact Wout Stokman at Los Gatos Luxury Cars. He can be reached at (408) 827-3731. Tell him Benoît from 100|OCT sent you and he will take even better care of you!