NEW ROLLS-ROYCE SPECTRE

All-electric super-coupé makes its presence felt in local market and confirms why the brand is as relevant as ever.

Rolls-Royce has earmarked 2030 as the year in which production will switch to electric across its entire portfolio. The new Spectre marks the start of the storied brand’s electric pathway and demonstrates how well Rolls-Royce is suited to electrification. This is a ‘statement car’, a windcheating 5.47m-long spiritual successor to the Phantom coupé with a build time of 18 months and a starting price of $750,000.

At launch in Auckland, Rolls-Royce personnel were quick to insist that Spectre is a Rolls-Royce first and an EV second, suggesting that the driving character and supreme comfort of the car are as distinguished as ever. The fastback design with contemporary aero-enhancing elements could not be mistaken for anything but a Rolls, regardless of whether the (slightly-tweaked) Spirit of Ecstasy is prominent or recessed.

An electric motor for each axle means 900Nm of effortless thrust. The kerb weight might be approaching three tonnes but Spectre will silently surge to 100km/h in well under five seconds. All-wheel steering accompanies all-wheel drive.

The cabin of the silver-on-purple display car was a masterpiece of automotive craftsmanship with astonishing attention to detail. Massive doors, each 1.5m in length, open with electric assistance and make access to the rear seats straightforward, even for tall passengers. You still sit relatively low despite the huge battery pack beneath the floor. Overhead, a galaxy of several thousand stars sparkled in the vast headlining. As is Rolls-Royce tradition, the details of colours, upholstery and trinkets are virtually infinite according to taste. And hand craftsmanship remains a hallmark; expect each piece of trim to pass through 28 pairs of hands at the Goodwood factory.

The last Rolls-Royce we drove was the imposing Cullinan, a high-riding, all-wheel drive lounge on wheels that has invigorated global sales since its launch six years ago. Now subject to an update, it remains particularly successful in New Zealand and is perhaps the catalyst for an Auckland showroom refurb that will soon see floor space double. Over the past couple of years, total NZ sales have been averaging four or five vehicles per quarter. The first four Spectre orders have been placed by existing Rolls-Royce customers with two deliveries already completed, each car costing up to $1 million with bespoke customisation.

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ROLLS-ROYCE SPECTRE

ENGINE twin electric motors

BATTERY 102kWh li-ion

OUTPUT 430kW / 900Nm

TRANSMISSION single-speed auto

DRIVETRAIN all-wheel drive

WEIGHT 2890kg

LENGTH 5.47m

WHEELS 23-inch alloy

TYRES 255/40 (f) 295/35 (r)

0-100km/h 4.4 secs

RANGE CLAIM 530km

PRICE from $750,000

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