A closer look at the all-electric Rolls-Royce Specter

There could be no engine more suitable for a Rolls-Royce than electric motors. CS Rolls himself said in 1900: “The electric car is completely clean and silent. There is no smell or vibration.” Although, wisely, he added that he had infrastructure concerns. After 120 years of trying, no petrol Rolls-Royce has a powertrain as smooth, silent, or responsive as the one in the 2011 Nissan Leaf. Or, perhaps more relevant, the 2015 Tesla Model X—a powerful, heavy car that goes a long way and charges A quick. But that’s changing: Within a year, this gorgeous all-electric Specter will land its first customers. So TopGear asks Rolls-Royce boss Torsten Müller-Ötvös the obvious question: What kept you? His response is emphatic. “Customers have always said: Rolls-Royce should be first, and electric second.”

Rolls-Royce knows these customers intimately. After all, although their numbers are increasing, there are still a great many of them. Müller-Ötvös has been asking them for a decade what they think of electric vehicles. “Compared to where customers are then and now, it has changed dramatically. On average they own seven cars and many already own an electric vehicle. The feedback on electric propulsion in general is very positive.” So Specter doesn’t have to introduce them to the idea of ​​a charging cable instead of a hose with explosive liquid.

Photography: Mark Fagelson

Rolls-Royce even did a pilot project in 2011, a converted Phantom called the 102EX. I still remember driving it. It was a square Rolls-Royce: silent, smooth, damp. “This fits perfectly with what the brand stands for. We are not defined by engine noise or loud exhaust.” But the range of the 102EX fell short as the shipping time was long. “Ten years ago customers weren’t ready to do that. The technology wasn’t at the right level – the battery, the propulsion and most importantly the software. And now it’s at a quality that allows us to build a Rolls-Royce. There’s no compromise. It allows for a bigger car, space “, Sufficient range, adequate charge. Modern software makes it easy and interactive to use. Also, I wasn’t OK with a combustion car conversion compromising.”

To our great joy, Rolls-Royce’s first electric car is a coupe. “A ghost is as important to us as a silver ghost.” Since the 40/50HP Phantom debuted in 1906, he presumably doesn’t say this lightly. “This is the beginning of a new era for Rolls-Royce and it needs a celebration. The fastback coupe is an emotional car.” Its job is to replace the stunning Phantom Coupe, which has been absent from the range since 2016.

The Specter is certainly a full-size Rolls-Royce. I mean, really big. These wheels measure 23 inches in diameter, a size that can make the Range Rover look like a Golf. Will run 320 miles (WLTP) on a charge. Of course, drawdown is important, and BMW’s experience across endless CFDs and tunnel hours has brought it down to a cd of 0.25. Great staffs, but look at how big they are. It still takes a lot of pushing through the air. Then there’s the 2975kg unloaded mass to consider. However, the Specter claims 0 to 62 mph in 4.5 seconds. That’s what the front and rear engines totaling 585 horsepower and 664 lb-ft can do for you.

But most of all, it’s something wonderfully decadent.

In addition to behaving like a Rolls-Royce, the Specter has to look like one. Sure enough, it has the face, greek temple grille and spirit of ecstasy amulet. Except not quite the usual. The grille is the widest ever in a Rolls-Royce. But it’s largely airtight, because there’s no V12 to cool it down, and the priority is to reduce turbulent air resistance. Its carousels are lit up at night as an extra rolling stage. Sitting Peaked, meanwhile, is a fresh interpretation of the image of Eleanor Thornton, leaning more forward in the breeze. Both sides of the split headlights, last seen on the Phantom Coupe. Its upper blades are perpetually lit, and below them the main headlights loom from the smoky, opaque darkness.

Body surfaces are completely confident. Look around at all the cars that have such relatively flat surfaces and some distinct lines. You realize that it’s really hard to do that – they often look weak and fragile. But so are the Specter planes Thus only, and the effect is a car of homogeneous power. The few lines present are knife-sharp, but because of the strength of the surface they look like a solid block of carved metal, rather than just a bent plate. Chrome decor has the same effect, as an engraved and polished block. These doorknobs could have come out of a bank vault.

Go ahead, pull the handle. As per Rolls’ practice, the doors are rear-hinged, so you can get in and out. As with the outside, the inside is really Rollsy. but better. Nobody does it like this. Every Rolls-Royce since the Goodwood era of 2003 has sported this confident simplicity, the kind of furniture that owes little to traditional automotive slang. Owners will recognize the physical climate controls and the iDrive controller. For the first time instruments are shown on screen, albeit still simulating analog ports. But they are color configurable to match the fabrics and leathers ordered by the buyer.

Pretty wild decor in this pictured car, eh? The seats have what Rolls calls a lapel, an upholstery arrow that provides another option for contrast detailing. Doors can be obtained with the “Starlight” perk, and – count ’em – 4,796 small bright spots. Or you can choose large planks of wood. A starlit companion panel covers the passenger side instrument panel as well.

It’s a full four seater. “It’s not 2 + 2,” Müller assures Ötvös. The space is a luxury, and you might want to bring friends. But this is a coupe and it likely won’t be chauffeur-driven. How will the owners use it? With those seven average cars in the garage, this isn’t a commuter car for them. They drive it on an occasional trip, for entertainment, for a night out, or just to “go for a ride.” I once drove a Phantom Coupe to the far end of France in one day. I can’t think of a better car for the job, but still it means no early start is by any means luxurious and many snacks at the petrol station. An actual Rolls-Royce owner would not do that. They would stop at the Hôtel Château de Posh on the way, and of course they would find an electric charger there. They have a charger at home and another at work. And so on. Which means the Specter’s range, about 320 miles from the WLTP, will certainly be more than enough. “Owners never drive one trip from London to Edinburgh. Our cars have never been around to range.” A Rolls-Royce V12 won’t go 320 miles, “and nobody ever asked us for a bigger tank of fuel.”

The battery uses BMW’s latest cell type, but the packaging is uniquely designed to fit the Specter floor. The engines also come from BMW, of the EESM type which uses no rare earth metals and is effective at high speeds. The Specter chassis is a copy of the aluminum engineering unique to Goodwood. Pure electric propulsion was part of the brief when they conceived it, before it was first launched in the Phantom. The Specter uses air springs, resonators to dampen wheel vibrations, adaptive dampers, variable roll stiffness, and four-wheel steering. But it’s not the hardware they’re most proud of, it’s the algorithms that control everything, and until we try it we can’t know how well it’s calibrated.

The price of all this is “between Cullinan and Phantom” which means a third of a million pounds – from there on an upward trajectory for delegated options.

So I asked Müller-Ötvös about the profit. He says he can now make an electric car for the same cost as a V12. Another significant reason why they didn’t do this earlier is that it’s bad enough to sell someone an electric car that makes less money than the V12 they’re replacing. So I suspect the timing of the Specter’s arrival isn’t just about the technology that becomes available. I have more confidence in the engineers at BMW and Rolls-Royce: they certainly could have done it before. They just didn’t need to. As the president points out, Rolls-Royce has been selling more and more petrol cars every year. “There was no need to rush.”

Now is the time. Buyers want an electric car, and you will make money. Most of all, it’s doable by Rolls-Royce standards. In fact, by the looks of it, it’s probably even better than that.

#closer #allelectric #RollsRoyce #Specter

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