Spectre — Reassuringly Rolls-Royce

Reassuringly Rolls-Royce


It may feel like a rare occurrence in these modern times, but there are still things in this world that actually make sense.

Take Rolls-Royce opting to use an electric powertrain for instance; it makes complete sense. Historically their cars are named after spirits, among many reasons due to the quietness of cabin and lack off engine noise—miraculous given the ferocious power of the V12. In fact their cars are so quiet that on more than one occasion I’ve started to walkaway with the engine still running; a story mirrored by many a Rolls-Royce driver. Rolls-Royce are also renown for their instant refined power delivery, giving rise to incredible speed & acceleration despite their 3 tonne+ mass. These two traits align perfectly with the hallmarks of an electric engine.

When I first encountered the Rolls-Royce Spectre last year, rather than any overtly futuristic histrionics, the standout feature for me was the new silhouette of the car. It was a car with instant appeal, regardless of whether it was equipped with an electric powertrain or an internal combustion V12. It was the car that Rolls-Royce customers had been pining for since the sunsetting of the iconic Phantom Drophead Coupe, and the arrival of the performance focused Rolls-Royce Wraith. It was a marrying of the two driver-focused ideals, a combination of scale and presence, while visually aerodynamic and sleek, with sculptural lines that allude to the power within.

In appearance the Rolls-Royce Spectre was everything it needed to be, elegant yet powerful, classic yet modern but of course as with all Rolls-Royce cars, it’s how it drives that would be make-or-break.

As such I headed to the Home of Rolls-Royce on the Goodwood Estate to see just how the drive of the first ever fully electric Rolls-Royce would compare to its predecessors. The drive we would take was fittingly a traditionally British one, one set with meandering country lanes, lush green views—and an occasional place to test out Spectre’s true power.

As I sat behind the wheel, the first thing that struct me was just how familiar everything felt. The screen was a similar size & style that I was accustomed to seeing in other Rolls-Royce models, and there were buttons—yes, actual physical buttons—everywhere, eschewing the ubiquitous electric-car solution of a “tablet” style central console.

The gear stalk worked in exactly the same way it had previously, with the only change being the “Low” mode button replaced with a “B” which I was later to learn was a power harvesting mode, allowing for one-pedal driving and an extended driving range. But aside from that, I recognised the space I was in, it was most certainly a Rolls-Royce.



There are new features that did impress, such as the addition of the brake pedal door closing feature, where the driver simply needs to sit in the car as they would normally, and press the brake pedal—as they would anyway—to close the door while they start the car. Simple, but surprisingly convenient and works very well.

Now to the drive… The greatest compliment I could give Spectre is if you hadn’t told me it was an electric car, I would not have realised, such was the familiarity of the drive; the famed magic carpet ride aura well and truly retained, with the effortless torque that electric cars offer lending itself perfectly to the Rolls-Royce ethos and a stellar handling performance.

“The launch of Spectre is a significant moment in the marque’s near 120-year storied history; Spectre is the first all-electric Rolls-Royce and represents the beginning of an exciting, bold, and new era for the brand.”

_Boris Weletzky, Regional Director, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

Powerful, nimble and yet stately in poise, the Spectre has real road presence, rewarding onlookers with a sight they have become accustomed to over the past century — a Spirit of Ecstasy in full flight.

If Spectre is to be the car that launches a new era for Rolls-Royce, I’m pleased to report that you have nothing to fear. Rather than retract the future into the present, Rolls-Royce have instead decided to take us on an electrification journey that many will find enlightening, well paced, and most importantly, reassuringly familiar.





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