Rolls-Royce Spectre has redefined luxury in the grandest way possible. Wherever it goes, jaws drop, children giggle with delight, and onlookers are left speechless until they muster the courage to strike up a conversation. It’s a sight to behold. When it comes to igniting the passion of social impact supercars and high-flying hypercars, Spectre stands at the forefront. After spending an hour behind its wheel, the desire for hyperbole was tamed, and I can confidently say that the Spectre is the best car to accompany us on our earthly journeys.
Once again, wherever it goes, jaws drop, children giggle with delight, and onlookers are left speechless until they muster the courage to strike up a conversation. It’s a sight to behold. In the realm of social impact supercars and high-flying hypercars, its level of excitement is unparalleled. After an hour of riding the wave, the desire for hyperbole was tamed, and I can confidently say that the Spectre is one of the finest cars to grace our planet.
Grand Entrance Spectre clarifies the purpose and function of Specter, placing it in a special category. As for the beginnings of Grand Entrance, it involves touring the neighborhood, taking the car to the golf club, and perhaps a half-hour drive for off-site client meetings or office errands. And this is a free-spirited description of the car’s versatility.
Specter isn’t a long-distance touring car, regardless of any stories about lightning-fast charging stations in rural areas. It shines best when tackling the “Electric Highway” between Los Angeles and San Francisco, where you’ll truly feel its magic like a Megalon. Specter will not likely become your daily driver. Its operational theater is more than 100 miles away from your operational home, preferably less, reserved for special occasions when the Grand Entrance is needed.
Rolls-Royce’s owners will need both physical and financial resources to push the boundaries of battery-electric propulsion. Specifically, Rolls-Royce owners may need a stable with five or even ten cars, some of which will have internal combustion engines, to ease range anxiety when traveling to multiple locations or hundreds of miles away.
A lap of 300 miles? Take the V12 Cullinan or Ghost. The owners will have a garage that can easily accommodate charging systems, so there’s no need to stand in line for fast charging at heavily used Electrify America stations. And they’ll have a vast forecourt with a hefty forklift to adjust Specter’s three-ton total mass, making it one of the largest SUVs ever built.
Driving Spectre will require a mindset similar to that of an airborne explorer in a more advanced spacecraft: harness your energy source, tread lightly on the environment, push the boundaries of refined culture, and understand that terrestrial travel will be controlled with some difficulty. Grand Entrance’s desired outcome.
In terms of length and width, Spectre is more spacious than any Rolls-Royce or luxury car I’ve ever driven, with carpeted aisles and a 1,500-pound skateboard battery pack that helps muffle the noise entering the leather-clad cabin. The world is observed through nearly silent bubble bulbs in the windscreen’s extensive spread and the fantastic arches of the side glass. Specter is almost like an extraterrestrial interstellar spacecraft for touring the Earth.
The HVAC fan creates the only interference in Spectre’s Zen Garden of mental quiet. Once the inner sanctum has been chilled for a minute to the hum of maximum A/C, set the fan to “soft,” and the HVAC is just right, almost white noise. Beyond that, tire punctures can be heard, and occasionally the sounds of a tire iron hitting a joint or a screw when a 23-inch Pirelli road expands. HVAC noise is the loudest thing here.
Drilling down several minutes below the surface, and anyone can immerse themselves in the Rolls-Royce soundtracks, which are deeply steeped in the clangorous battles of ancient cans of brass or the constant grating of Gregorian chants, much like us. It’s a show that reminds you of the musical score of “Vikings” when things are about to get unpleasant: UM. The intensity of the noise increases and decreases with throttle position. But once you’ve harmonized with it, well, eerie silence is the desired sensation, and anyone can cancel out any “soundtrack” that distracts from the Spectre experience.
With Specter, my week brought warm California weather to an unusually moderate degree, and the HVAC stayed true. On days with temperatures above 95 degrees, cooling down a traditional car can take quite some time. Specter did it… verbally… in moments. After the HVAC’s initial unusual performance, the feat was repeated multiple times under rigorous observation. My car may have a special Riyadh HVAC system.
Claimed range of 260 miles? Okay, but not lightning-fast. If you run it with the AC on and enjoy brisk acceleration, the range diminishes considerably. Instead, it’s more of a Rolls-Royce regenerator braking system. On the return leg of my second-favorite mountain descent, beneath the twin lower links of the rear suspension, Specter failed to regain any range from FreeWay’s internal ramp of less than 60 miles. Yes, nearly 60 miles in about 20-25 miles of continuous downhill driving. I was a bit anxious about regaining range quickly on the uphill climb, where temperatures were close to 100F, and AC was a necessity, but the regen saved the day. It’s not a luxury car if you have to turn off the AC and break a sweat, whether you’re sitting on cream and cashmere thrones or not.
If I used “B” mode on the mountain, which brings a regen level that allows full one-pedal driving, I might get even more range. However, all-electric cars require some getting used to when it comes to the heavy regen—unless you work on a billboard on the side of a steep hill—picking up a little speed and applying the regen brake becomes a bit of a challenge. Aggressive regen can give the car a jolt, a characteristic that no Rolls-Royce seeks. And as we all know, the freeway is flat and fast, whether it’s cars or pistols. The B setting only really works well on downhill freeways with predictable traffic.
Rolls claims that the Spectre will accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 4.4 seconds, and my playtime supports that number. The Spectre’s Rolls acceleration is impressively unobtrusive. If a driver pins the throttle to the ground on the Spectre’s big wheels at 70 miles per hour, with a deep stab of the throttle, it nudges forward slightly.
It’s unbearable to compare it to other cars, as it’s understood that only supercars accelerate this way, and with them, there’s always a rapid rush of speed and a screaming exhaust note, adrenaline coursing through the veins. In the Spectre, occupants are five paces ahead of the car in moments, and the driver and passengers move forward at their leisure. It’s a unique experience.
The only downside to Spectre that’s common to all Rolls-Royces: is it’s very large, both in overall length and wheelbase, both longer than a Cadillac Escalade or a Lincoln Navigator. Parking should be described as best approached militarily, hence the need for a vast forecourt and a wide driveway. Parking Assist Button, which provides a Plan View with sensors, audible signals, multiple camera views, and overhead shots, is on the center console, where your right hand naturally falls. In tight quarters, the 3-point turn becomes a 5- or 7-point turn.
And unlike large trucks that can be judiciously placed at a proper angle, it’s very difficult to tell where this car starts and ends, it’s tough to gauge the corners. Over time, a person becomes accustomed to it, but I’ve never parked the car without assistance. Think of Spectre as a beautiful, high-speed electric train, where the most joy is singing along on near-straight tracks, and then beautifully guiding it towards a designated parking place at the end of the drive, where passengers can disembark.
BMW and Rolls engineers should consider more aggressive rear-wheel steering at less than 10 miles per hour. An old friend who used to command big-block V8 yachts could bring his twin-screw, big-blocked, 70-foot yacht into a marina’s tightest slips without touching the side and by gently pivoting on the spot, jostling the water’s surface with careful use of the throttles. Specter needs to be capable of pivoting and crabbing. It’s not a car for your funky beach pad, which is perched on a narrow strip of land, sans shoulders, and with a very tight garage door. Specter can work at Newport Beach, from Pepperdine to the seafront in Malibu’s Balthazar, thanks to a broad forecourt, handling it without any trouble. But the Lido Island in Newport or Emerald Bay in Laguna might unnerve it, proving to be a nerve-wracking ordeal. Spectre Rancho Mirage will serve best, from Bob Hope or Frank Sinatra Boulevard, traveling gracefully with beauty.
On a grand scale and in true American fashion, there’s no complaint about the Spectre’s battery electric infrastructure. The Spectre is everything Rolls-Royce should be, and then some. For city and nearby outings, I would choose the Spectre with its dual-motor electric powertrain on top of the Rolls-Royce/BMW 12-cylinder twin-turbo. I’m a fan of internal combustion.
Other considerations? On such a massive scale, weighing more than three tons, I’m not sure if Rolls’ chassis can hold up, and the ultimate grand entrance machin
e, a Specter 4-place convertible, could break the roof. Maybe the chassis can’t support the open design, maybe the roof needs to be fastened down all at once. But a Spectre Drophead will be the ultimate electric luxury car.
Rolls-Royce’s lofty financial images don’t matter; people don’t come to it but have a warm admiration for it. They won’t consider you as an opulent ruler. During a photoshoot in the mountains, with the heat of radar with sensitivity, an old-timer stopped his pickup truck with his packed truck to comment on the beautiful paint and recognized it as an external design influenced by the 1940s Aero Coupes.
The Spectre is accessible, and a great conversation starter. BMW has revived Rolls-Royce in the distance, and it has been portrayed beautifully, cool, and straight to the Grove. On a Friday evening, heading to the golf club for dinner with my daughter in the back, I heard the following from the rear seat: “Dad, can we keep this? It’s the best car yet.”
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