Rolls-Royce is one of those automakers with a past long and rich enough to write a Ph.D thesis about. Over the course of its 118-year history, the brand has built everything from 10-horsepower two-cylinder machines to the high-bypass turbofan engines found in thousands of airliners to SUVs capable of scrambling up mountains to limousines worthy of the Queen herself.
Yet for all those products and accomplishments bridging land, sea and air, Rolls-Royce has never made an electric car. While that may have been fine for the last century-plus, that's no longer an option here in the third decade of the 21st Century, with a climate crisis rising and governments around the world pushing carmakers to toss internal combustion in the trash. So Rolls-Royce has little choice but to jump into the electric car market.
But of course, being Rolls-Royce, they're doing so with panache. Meet the all-electric Spectre.
At first glance, you might not even realize the Spectre is an electric Rolls-Royce. Unlike the Mercedes-Benz EQS sedan, whose body bows to the altar of aerodynamic efficiency above all, the Spectre maintains the sort of traditional upright posture. It's imposing and strong, with its inset headlights giving it athletic cheekbones that help it stand out from the rest of the Rolls line.
Those rims connecting rubber to body measure a massive 23 inches in diameter, a massive size that may not aid in efficiency but certainly gives the car an incredible sense of presence. The fastback tail, however, likely helps smooth out the airflow — but perhaps more important, just looks damn good.
Speaking of range, buyers should plan on seeing around 260 miles from each full charge of the giant battery mounted inside the "Architecture of Luxury" chassis, according to Rolls-Royce estimates. (Note, however, that's based on the conservative EPA cycle, not the optimistic WLTP one used abroad.)
Acceleration should be appropriate for a Roller: brisk, but not explosive. The brand tuned the Spectre to ride and go much like the gas-powered Ghost Black Badge, so Rolls says to expect a 4.4-second 0-60 time just like that sedan. (That's in spite of the frankly remarkable 6,559-lb curb weight.) Credit the electric motors making 577 hp and 664 lb-ft — slightly less power and exactly the torque as the Ghost Black Badge.
A Roller's interior is defined by elegance, style and customization — with the latter sometimes conflicting with the first two traits, depending on the tastes of the buyer. The Spectre aims to take the bespoke nature of the brand even further. For example, while Rolls-Royce models have long offered the so-called Starlight Headliner, which offers a constellation of LEDs in the ceiling to simulate the night sky, the Spectre also offers Starlight Doors — which bring almost 5,000 more points of light to the interior.
Rolls-Royce's cars are, almost by definitely, quiet — they're meant to be cocoons that isolate you from the cold, harsh world. Delivering quiet is something electric cars excel at; the Ford F-150 Lightning, for example, is almost as quiet on the open road as a Mercedes-Benz S-Class. So you can expect the interior to be about as muted as an underground library patrolled by a strict librarian.
Sleek as it may be, the Spectre's body style represents a contracting market segment; people, sadly, don't buy two-doors the way they used to. So it's not surprising that this coupe will be far from the last EV to come from the carmaker. Rolls-Royce has pledged that its entire line will consist of electric vehicles by 2030, much like Bentley, so it seems fair to expect EV versions of Rolls-Royce sedans and SUVs to follow soon enough.
If you're among the folks who've already plopped down an order for the first EV Roller, you can expect to receive your order sometime starting in the fourth quarter of next year. If you haven't placed an order yet, though, you'll likely be waiting at least another year for yours. Assuming, of course, you have enough digits in your bank account; Rolls-Royce hasn't specified pricing, but says it will come in "between Cullinan and Phantom," which start around $350,000 and $465,000, respectively. Figure around $400,000 to start.
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