Rolls-Royce Spectre — Poster Boy For Luxury EVs

Rolls-Royce Spectre

THE ultimate test of a new Rolls-Royce model is whether it is still drives and rides like a Rolls-Royce.

Charles Stewart Rolls had already been extolling the virtues of the electric car years before meeting Henry Royce. But as other marques developed their EVs in the late 1800s and early the following century, they faced many of the problems that resurfaced when the recent push towards electric cars picked up again.

As the electric era charges up the motoring industry, do benchmark brands shift to accommodate the changes, or hold a steady course, powering along  while navigating obstacles in their way?

In the case of a new Rolls-Royce model, the question will always be: is it as good as the preceding models?

Rolls-Royce Spectre

The Electric Route

With the Spectre, the question tackles another narrative in Rolls-Royce’s journey. As the Goodwood brand’s first electric vehicle, it’s ghosting up a new road for the marque; one that will see the end of internal combustion engines by 2030. Of course, parent company, BMW, has heaps of experience in this area, having rolled out many BMW models that are fully electric.

While the BMW EVs have a different set of characteristics, Rolls-Royce probably wants a lot of its DNA to be injected into its EVs. 

It’s still centred around the brand’s unique selling point; that magic carpet ride.

Going electric involves many design changes that could influence how a car, known for its behaviour with a petrol engine under its bonnet, will deal with batteries and a motor instead. 

Rolls-Royce Spectre

The Spectre is built on the marque’s proprietary Architecture of Luxury platform with additional enhancements.

The battery is integrated into the all aluminium spaceframe, which results in 30% greater stiffness and provides acoustic insulation. Wiring and climate control pipework run between the layers of the battery and the floor, which results in a low seating position, a cocooned cabin and a raked windscreen that improves this 5.5m-long car’s aerodynamics.

Charging The Wheels

The all-electric drivetrain is fitted with two motors. The front motor generates 190kW and 365Nm of torque, while the rear unit whips out 430kW/900Nm. That results in an effortless 0-100kmh run in 4.5 seconds.

With a confirmed range of 530km it will probably need topping up on a monthly basis since most clients have an average of more than seven cars in their garage and drive their Roller an average of 5,000km a year. A 195kW DC fast charger will get the battery to 80% in around 30 minutes, and if you’re in a rush, 10 minutes of charging will let you run for 100km.

Rolls-Royce Spectre

Outwardly, the Spectre still packs the presence that a Rolls-Royce commands. It is big two-door fastback, and though much thought and effort have gone into defining its modern styling cues and the expectations of a coupe, there is still a lot of metal to behold.

The redesigned Spirit of Ecstasy and the double Rs, hold forth as continuing brand icons, along with the highest standards of craftsmanship and materials you’ll find in the spacious cabin. And for which you’ll pay upwards of *S$2.14 million for the car, sans options and COE.

In terms of the price benchmark, it’s still exclusively hard to beat.

Rolls-Royce Spectre

Interior Options

With the 1.5-metre laser-welded pillarless doors — the largest fitted on a Rolls-Royce — opening from the A pillar, you could step into the cabin, or back into your seats. That works fine for the front seats, but it’s quite another challenge for those clambering into the rear of this two-door coupe. The backseats are set back, presumably for legroom and comfort, but if you’re short or lacking in core strength (time for those Pilates classes!), you’ll have difficulty both with the ingress and egress. You may even require assistance extricating yourself.

But once you’re seated on those comfortable armchairs, you’re well cossetted for the journey.

Stepping on the brake pedal will shut the door and cocoon the inhabitants in an environment of luxury, all against a backdrop of stars. There are 4,796 stars to envelope you — on the roof, the fascia and on the doors. Being a bespoke Rolls-Royce, you could of course fit it out in your preferred choice of trims.

Put on some music – nicely channelled through the Rolls-Royce sound system – synced to your mobile device, wirelessly linked by Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Rolls-Royce Spectre

Electronic Connections

The experience behind the wheel is largely similar to other recent models of Rolls-Royce cars, and some higher end BMWs. Most of the controls are familiar, with the signature organ stop knobs controlling the vents for the air-conditioning. Some of the buttons and dials could have been updated in keeping with the new electric mood, but it’s a tough call when you’re trying to hang on to heritage on the one hand while grabbing at the future with the other.

The centre console touchscreen is integrated into the dashboard and is probably too forward facing. Might have been good to angle it slightly.  And in this day and age of large screens, it does seem small in this large car. The Spectre branding is worked into the dashboard, facing the passenger, as a constant reminder of the bespoke wheels you’re in.

Rolls-Royce Spectre

Driving The Magic Carpet

Like other models, there’s not much room to play with when it comes to drive modes for the Spectre. A single stalk controls the movement of the car, with the addition of a B button for braking recuperation. When enabled, the Spectre can be driven with a single pedal. Lift your foot off the accelerator and the car immediately decelerates to a stop. The default setting is low recuperation, which emulates a petrol engine.

Key information is displayed on a head up display that is so dimly lit, you spend too much time trying to make out details, which is not ideal when you are steering a 2.9-tonne beast.

The Rolls-Royce magic carpet ride is in evidence, but, it seems to be facing some turbulence, as the Spectre bobs slightly as it gobbles up the road. The Planar Suspension System, originally launched on Ghost, has been tweaked since the Spectre has 30% greater torsional rigidity. On straight roads, the 23” wheels are allowed to act independently, which is intended to deliver a smoother ride. When it engages a corner, the Spectre’s high-speed processing capabilities activate the anti-roll bars, guided along by 20 sensors to deliver a smooth run.

The Spectre’s Decentralised Intelligence software architecture processes data closer to its source, instead of a central processing unit, thus allowing it to respond quickly to driver inputs and changing road conditions.

For a car of its length, the Spectre had little issue in making a U-turn onto a dual-lane road.

Rolls-Royce Spectre

While the Tempest Grey Spectre may not scream for attention on the road, it certainly doesn’t lack presence with its Pantheon grille and sporty silhouette. And where it does definitely deliver that Rolls-Royce level of satisfaction is in the comfort and opulence within, where it matters more.

Rolls-Royce Spectre

ROLLS-ROYCE SPECTRE RATING

Styling: 8/10

Interior: 9/10

Connectivity: 9/10

Ride: 7/10

Handling: 8/10

Power: 9/10

Overall: 9/10

www.rolls-roycemotorcars-singapore.com

*Please reconfirm price with dealer.

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