Given the smooth, effortless and near-silent operation of electric vehicles, it's a wonder Rolls-Royce hasn't added one to its lineup yet, but the situation is about to change.
The automaker on Tuesday revealed the Spectre, a large, fully electric coupe that's billed as the spiritual successor to the Phantom Coupe and due to start deliveries in late 2023.
Pricing hasn't been released, but Rolls-Royce said the price tag will reflect the vehicle's positioning between the Cullinan SUV and Phantom flagship sedan. The Cullinan starts at about $325,000 while the Phantom starts at about $465,000.
The Spectre is based on Rolls-Royce's own aluminum space-frame platform that debuted in the Phantom and underpins every model in the lineup. However, the Spectre's platform is around 30% more rigid than in other models, thanks to steel reinforcements and a battery that doubles as a structural element.
Rolls-Royce hasn't revealed the capacity of the battery but said it weighs about 1,543 lb, or almost a quarter of the Spectre's 6,559-lb curb weight. The automaker also said the battery should deliver 260 miles of EPA-rated range when the Spectre rides on 23-inch wheels.
Rolls-Royce also hasn't detailed the powertrain, though power is expected to come from a dual-motor, all-wheel-drive setup. Rolls-Royce said to expect something in the vicinity of 577 hp and 664 lb-ft of torque. This should be enough for 0-60 mph acceleration in 4.4 seconds, Rolls-Royce estimates, while the top speed is confirmed to be capped at 155 mph.
A car like the Spectre is more about comfort than outright performance, and Rolls-Royce has catered to this with what the automaker calls the Planar suspension system. This is an electronic roll stabilization system that uses data from various sensors that can read the road surface, as well as information from the navigation system. On straight roads, the system can automatically decouple the anti-roll bars, allowing each wheel to act independently. This results in a much smoother ride as it negates the vibrations or rocking motions that can be experienced when only one side of the vehicle hits a bump or rough patch, according to Rolls-Royce.
When approaching corners, which can be identified by the navigation system, the anti-roll bars are recoupled, the dampers stiffened, and the four-wheel-steering system adjusted for vehicle speed, all to ensure that entering and exiting the corner is made as smooth as possible. More than 18 sensors monitor things and make adjustments to systems like the suspension, steering, braking, and power delivery for smoothest cornering.
On the outside, the Spectre features a more aerodynamically efficient shape than your typical blocky Rolls-Royce, which makes sense given its electric powertrain. Drag is a huge killer of range, and even the design of the traditional Spirit of Ectasy hood ornament was tweaked to improve aerodynamic efficiency. The hood ornament is joined at the front by split headlights and an illuminated version of the Rolls-Royce grille.
The body of the Spectre is mostly aluminum, with some panels the biggest ever fitted to a Rolls-Royce. For example, there's a side panel stretching from the A-pillar all the way to the taillights, measuring approximately 157.5 inches in length, or the bulk of the Spectre's full 214.6-inch length. Likewise, the pillarless coach doors are the longest in Rolls-Royce history, measuring approximately 59 inches long.
The interior follows familiar Rolls-Royce themes but adds new elements, like the illuminated “stars” now extending beyond the headliner to the doors as well. There's also a new seat design with lapel-like sections that can feature accent colors. Of course, many more elements of the cabin can also be personalized.
Rolls-Royce is committed to EVs and said every model in its lineup will be electric by 2030.