Update: ‘Production’ section updated.
While the Spectre is Rolls-Royce’s first-ever fully-electric production car, the famed British luxury marque had fiddled with the idea of pure-electric power in a vehicle over 120 years ago. In April 1900, Charles Rolls experimented with a car named ‘The Columbia Electric Carriage’, which was powered by an electric motor. Even back then, the outcome was a ‘noiseless’ and ‘clean’ mode of private transport.
Despite its relatively low-volume business model and niche market positioning, Rolls-Royce has pledged to transform its entire product line-up to fully-electric propulsion by 2030. Needless to say, the Spectre will be the one to spearhead the brand’s journey into an all-electric future.
Here’s everything we know about the Rolls-Royce Spectre:
The Rolls-Royce Spectre’s silhouette is identical to the Wraith. However, it’s actually the spiritual successor to the erstwhile Phantom Coupe, which was commissioned in limited numbers between 2009 and 2016 before being discontinued. The new ‘Ultra-Luxury Electric Super Coupe’ boasts the widest iteration of the brand’s Pantheon stainless steel grille at the front, consisting of 24 vanes featuring a more aerodynamic design for improved airflow management and illuminated by 22 LEDs.
The upper portion of the main grille is flanked by ultra-thin LED DRLs, situated just above the near-rectangular LED headlights that are placed inside darkened chromium housings. The design of the heavily-chiseled front bumper and its lower apron add to the Spectre’s visual width.
On the sides, the long hood, sloping roofline, and elongated wheelbase are reminiscent of the Phantom Coupe, but the lines here seem sharper and more purposeful. The character line running along the doors, called the ‘waft line,’ is supposed to represent the lifting bow of an accelerating power boat and the automaker’s famed ‘magic carpet ride.’ It is for the first time in almost 100 years that a two-door Rolls-Royce coupe features massive, 23-inch alloy wheels.
At the rear, the Spectre has jewel-like, vertically aligned LED tail lights and a concave rear apron with comprehensive aero cues. Affectionately called the ‘island of detail’ by Rolls-Royce designers, the tail lights are colorless so that they can match the myriad of body colors the company offers to its clients.
Aerodynamic Spirit of Ecstasy
Rolls-Royce has redesigned the iconic Spirit of Ecstasy that sits atop the bonnet of its cars. On the new Spectre, the figurine sits lower and is more dynamic and closer in design to the original sketches made by creator Charles Sykes more than 100 years ago. The symbol is now 82.73 mm tall, down from the older figurine’s 100.01 mm height, and designers have tweaked the robe as well for improved aerodynamics.
The Spirit of Ecstasy’s wings are more upswept to reduce drag, and she now stands with one leg forward with her body tucked low and eyes pointed towards the road ahead. For comparison, she earlier had a less athletic stance with her feet together, knees straight and bent at the waist. Put all this together, and the Rolls-Royce Spectre scores a drag coefficient of 0.25 Cd, making it the most aerodynamic Rolls-Royce car ever. However, the Mercedes EQS is the industry’s most aerodynamic car right now, with a drag coefficient of only 0.20 Cd.
Interior & features
Stepping into the Spectre feels eventful, which is typical of a Rolls-Royce. The power-operated rear-hinged doors offer a wide aperture, with each door measuring 1.5 meters or 59.1 inches in length. These are ‘Starlight Doors’ with 4,796 individual LEDs mimicking stars in the night sky. As with other Rolls-Royce cars, customers of the Spectre have an almost infinite choice of personalization options available to them. Rolls-Royce doesn’t believe in saying no to the demands of its discerning clientele.
The front section of the Spectre’s luxurious cabin features an all-new dashboard and center console design. Even the circular AC vents are much larger than in the Wraith. Like the gas-powered model, the electric car has circular control knobs, in charge of handling similar functions. The three-spoke steering wheel is new.
The passenger-side dashboard gets the ‘Spectre Illuminated Fascia’ which constitutes over 5,500 LEDs arranged in star-like patterns. The passenger display’s graphics go well with the Starlight Headliner, which consists of hundreds of fiber-optic lights for that blissful night-sky experience with the occasional shooting star animation. Rolls-Royce offers customers of the Spectre the option to customize the color of the dials within the crisp-looking fully digital instrument cluster. Furthermore, the digitized needles have their own star animations.
The Rolls-Royce Spectre can be had with custom stitching, embroidery, and intricate piping along the seats, dashboard, and doors, depending on individual customer requirements. The front seats are inspired by traditional British tailoring, with certain sections available in colors that either match or contrast the interior’s base shade.
Rolls-Royce cars have always been known for their quiet and refined cabins, and it’s no different with the Spectre EV. There are extensive sound-deadening measures for pin-drop-silence inside the cabin, even making use of the 700 kg (1,543 lbs.) battery pack as a large sound-dampener. When factoring in the relative lack of moving mechanical components, this is likely to be the quietest Rolls-Royce to date.
Rolls-Royce claims that the Spectre is the most connected and intelligent RR model to date. The onboard system is capable of 141,200 sender-receiver relations, has more than 1,000 functions, and over 25,000 ‘sub-functions.’ Rolls-Royce says its engineers have enabled a free and direct exchange of information between over 1,000 functions with no centralized computing, while also taking into account deviations in variables involving climate, ground speed, road type, vehicle status, and driving style.
The Spectre’s unique ‘Decentralized Intelligence’ system has led to 7 km (4.35 mi.) of cabling compared to the 2 km (1.2 mi.) used on gas-powered Rolls-Royce models. Moreover, developers have written over 25 times more algorithms to integrate the systems and offer new features, which speaks is a testament to how futuristic this luxobarge EV really is.
The Rolls-Royce Spectre is 214.7 inches long, 81.9 inches wide, and 61.4 inches tall. Just in case you’re curious, it’s bigger in every dimension than the four-doored BMW i7 (212.2 in. x 76.8 in. x 60.8 in.). However, the wheelbase is shorter, but only slightly so – 126.4 in. (BMW i7 – 126.6 in.).
The Spectre is based on the Rolls-Royce 3.0 ‘Architecture of Luxury’ platform. Designed specifically for pure-electric applications, the all-aluminum spaceframe used for the Spectre has allowed engineers to incorporate the core structure of the car with the heavy battery pack, leading to a chassis that’s 30% stiffer than any previous RR model. Instead of complex channels for wiring and HVAC piping, the new architecture in the Spectre has enabled Rolls-Royce to route these essentials between the floor and the battery pack for improved efficiency.
Planar suspension and four-wheel steering
With a laser focus on comfort, the Spectre has fantastic ride quality. To ensure its Planar suspension system works flawlessly, Rolls-Royce conducted extensive experiments in environments that ranged from -40º C (-40º F) to 55º C (131º F).
During the evaluation period, Rolls-Royce drove the Spectre near the arctic circle in Arjeplog, Sweden, down across southern Africa, and around the French Riviera. This allowed it to fine-tune the suspension system of the Spectre so that it responds appropriately and quickly to changing surface conditions, always delivering the signature ‘magic carpet ride’ despite the huge wheel size.
The Planar system essentially works by decoupling the anti-roll bars between the front & rear axles when poor road conditions are detected, thereby allowing the wheels to move independently on one another. When a corner is detected, the system recouples the anti-roll bars and stiffens up the dampers to reduce body roll. Computers monitor up to 18 different sensors simultaneously and command rear-axle steering accordingly to activate, making the Spectre’s corner entry & exit a tidy affair.
Rolls-Royce is targeting a WLTP range of 323 miles for the Spectre, so we expect its EPA-est. range to be around 260 miles. The company hasn’t disclosed the energy storage capacity of its battery pack, but we expect it to match the BMW iX‘s 106.3 kWh (net). Mum’s the word on the peak charging rate, but we’re certain it’ll be at least 195 kW (and not higher than 250 kW). Adding 80-90 miles of EPA-est. range could take just 10 minutes.
The Spectre uses two motors in a format that’s typical of most twin-motor EVs – one at the front and one at the rear, which gives it an AWD drivetrain layout. The motors generate 430 kW (577 hp) and 900 Nm (664 lb.-ft.) of torque. Rolls-Royce expects the near-3-ton electric coupe to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds. The company’s intention in this aspect is to ensure the car feels effortless to drive with quick acceleration, not outpacing other electric cars.
|Aspect||Rolls-Royce Spectre Specification|
|Curb weight||2,975 kg (6,559 lbs.)|
|Turning circle||12.7 m (41.6 ft.)|
|Power||430 kW (577 hp)|
|Torque||900 Nm (664 lb.-ft.)|
|Battery Pack Capacity (Unofficial)||106.3 kWh (net)/111.5 kWh (gross)|
|EPA-est. Range (Unofficial)||~260 miles|
|Maximum Charging Power (Unofficial)||≥195 kW|
Rolls-Royce will hand-build the Spectre at its state-of-the-art manufacturing facility (and headquarters) in Goodwood, UK. The company plans to start production of the customer delivery units in September 2023, as per a report Autocar published on May 22, 2023.
In a conversation with the British publication at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este 2023, Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös said that clients placing an order now may have to wait until 2025 for delivery, although a one-year waiting period is normal for any Rolls-Royce. The demand for the electric coupe is way higher than Rolls-Royce expected.
Price & Release Date
The Rolls-Royce Spectre is more expensive than the Cullinan but cheaper than the Phantom. According to a report CNBC released on October 18, 2022, its price in the U.S. is USD 413,000. More than 300 American customers had already reserved it by then, Müller-Ötvös told CNBC.
Rolls-Royce’s Chief Executive Officer even told the American news outlet that the bookings for the Spectre have exceeded expectations and that there’s continued interest from prospective customers for the brand’s ultra-luxury electric coupe even during a time when worldwide markets are under performing. In the U.S., the Rolls-Royce Spectre will be positioned between the Cullinan and Phantom flagships.
Rolls-Royce Spectre deliveries in the U.S. are likely to start between October and December 2023. We’ll update this section when we receive a more specific local launch timeline.
As Rolls-Royce’s inaugural electric vehicle, the Spectre is poised to captivate the attention of potential buyers and even the public at large. Given the renowned brand reputation, focus on opulence and comfort, Rolls-Royce is likely to encounter minimal obstacles when presenting the Spectre to those contemplating a purchase, despite it not having a combustion engine. Benefiting from the brand’s esteemed heritage and impressive product lineup, the Spectre is positioned to become the coveted electric vehicle that so many aspire to own!
Featured Image Source: BMW Group