Rolls-Royce Spectre EV signals excess but isn’t a guzzler

The Rolls-Royce Specter is the automaker’s first production electric car, proving that even gold-plated luxury cars don’t have to be inefficient.

Because despite the Rolls tradition of excess – and that it’s a two-door car that’s over 214 inches long – the efficiency is actually pretty good at 2.9 miles per kWh on the European WLTP test cycle. For context, the GMC Hummer EV is in the 1.5 mph range, although its size excludes it from official ratings.

With deliveries beginning in Q4 2023, the Specter will also deliver an estimated 260-mile range on the EPA test cycle when equipped with 23-inch wheels. Rolls didn’t disclose the size of the battery pack, though, saying only that it weighs 1,543 pounds — almost a quarter of the Specter’s 6,559-pound curb weight. It offers a lot of soundproofing, Rolls noted.

That’s a staggering weight for a two-door, four-seat coupe, especially considering the Specter uses an aluminum space-frame architecture. It’s an adapted version of Rolls’ current petrol models, but the automaker claims a 30% increase in rigidity thanks to the use of the package as a structural member and some steel reinforcements, which probably don’t help with curb weight.

A drag coefficient of 0.25 makes the Specter the most aerodynamic Rolls production car ever. That’s not quite as low as the Lucid Air, Mercedes-Benz EQS and Tesla Model S, which sit at 0.20 to 0.21, but Rolls also opted for a more traditional shape with a strong resemblance to the Wraith coupe, which essentially replaces the Specter. It even retains that coupe’s suicide doors.

A twin-engine all-wheel drive produces an estimated 577 hp and 664 lb-ft of torque. This should allow 0-60mph in 4.4 seconds, Rolls estimates, while top speed is capped at 150mph.

However, the Specter is more about comfort than performance. Rolls addressed this with what they call a planar suspension system, an electronic roll stabilization system that can pull data from more than 18 sensors to read the road surface and monitor vehicle status, as well as information from the suspension settings navigation system.

On straight roads, the system can decouple the anti-roll bars, allowing each wheel to move independently for a smoother ride that negates the vibration or rocking motion that typically occurs when only wheels on one side hit a bump, Rolls said. Using the navigation system to anticipate turns, the system can re-pair the anti-roll bars, stiffen the dampers and engage an all-wheel steering system for dramatic cornering.

The interior is typically Rolls-Royce, with high-quality materials and a high degree of personalization potential. As with other Rolls models, the headliner can be equipped with illuminated “stars”, on the Specter they now extend to the door panels.

The Specter has been a long time coming. Rolls first hinted at an electric car with the Phantom 102EX prototype about a decade ago. This project went nowhere and was replaced by a plan for plug-in hybrids. But then, in 2016, the company seemingly reverted to an electric vision.

Rolls-Royce is now set to go fully electric by 2030 as part of parent company BMW’s ambitious electrification plan. There was a notable synergy with the aerospace company Rolls-Royce, from which the car business was spun off in 1973 and which is also experimenting with electrification.

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