Rear detail shot of gold 2023 Rolls-Royce Spectre
2023 Rolls-Royce Spectre

Vehicles

2022 Fall Winter Vehicles 2023 Rolls-Royce Spectre Electric Vehicle, a First for the Luxury Automotive Brand

by Mark Hacking
Closeup of Rolls-Royce Spectre Electric dashboard and steering wheel
View of Rolls-Royce Spectre door and cabin

THE EV REVOLUTION

As legend has it, the Hon. Charles Stewart Rolls, co-founder of the eponymous and famous Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, was an extremely early advocate of electric vehicles (EVs). In the year 1900, he leaned in to the idea of electrification: “The electric car is perfectly noiseless and clean. There is no smell or vibration. They should become very useful when fixed charging stations can be arranged.”

Fast forward over a century and the idea of electrification was resurrected at Rolls-Royce, due in no small part to the fact that parent company BMW was an early adopter of the EV revolution. In fact, as BMW was preparing the i8 and i3 for production a full 10 years ago, the most loyal of Rolls-Royce customers were already being courted with the idea of an all-electric vehicle motoring along the boulevard at the absolute pinnacle of luxury. In 206, the brand introduced the Vision Next 100, later rebranded the Rolls-Royce 103EX.

Now, we finally have confirmation that the brand has adopted electrification with the introduction of the 2023 Rolls-Royce Spectre. Gloriously referred to as “the world’s first ultra-luxury super coupé,” the Spectre has been developed over the course of an astonishing 2.5 million kilometres (over 1.5 million miles) of testing around the world.

While the final figures are yet to be confirmed, Rolls-Royce estimates that the all-electric powertrain will develop 577 horsepower, enabling the coupe to hit 60 mph in 4.4 seconds. Range is anticipated to roll in at around 260 miles, according to EPA testing methodology.

Based on the images alone, the Spectre is an absolute show-stopper, the kind of future-focused design that’s geared to delighting the brand’s discerning clientele. After the reveal earlier this month, we launched a few questions at Anders Warming, Director of Design for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Limited, to get his perspective on the super-coupe.

When asked if there were elements of the brand’s design ethic that were considered “untouchable,” he replied: “When designing this Rolls-Royce motorcar, we feel truly honored to design around the premises that Rolls-Royces of the past give us: Imposing, upright Pantheon front grille, beautiful set-back proportion of the greenhouse—allowing for an impressive dash-to-axle [ratio]—as well as a wonderfully tapering greenhouse, referencing the most influential Rolls-Royce Coupés.”
Front and side view of gold 2023 Rolls-Royce Spectre Electric Vehicle with scenic background

2023 Rolls-Royce Spectre


Closeup of Rolls-Royce Spectre front grill
Closeup of Rolls-Royce Spectre wheel

A NEW GENERATION OF ROLLS-ROYCE MOTORCAR

At the unveiling, brand representatives called attention to the fact that the Spectre was the spiritual successor to the Phantom Coupé, which was produced from 2008-2016, and which inspired the ultra-limited edition Sweptail. The Sweptail was heavily inspired by nautical design and the same is true of the Spectre. “The tapering greenhouse-proportion shows for us a ‘nautical’ proportion, beautifully echoing some most evocative yachts,” says Warming. “Now moving into the era of electrification, we have added a next level of modernity in the design-language, working with even more precise feature-lines and wonderfully sheer surfacing—manifesting a clear visual to underline the future of the brand’s clear commitment to next generation technology.”

The Spectre is the most aerodynamic car ever produced by Rolls-Royce; minute details such as the slicker Pantheon grille that redirects air more efficiently and a wind tunnel-tested Spirit of Ecstasy figurine hold the key here. For sheer drama, though, what’s most striking about the Spectre is the fastback silhouette riding on 23-inch wheels—the largest wheels for a production two-door coupé in close to a century.

The thought of an all-electric Rolls-Royce just makes sense because the classic Rolls driving experience revolves around effortless and silent performance. No one who drives such a car is invested in quarter-mile acceleration times or ear-shattering exhaust notes. So what the Spectre represents is nothing less than a new generation of Rolls-Royce motorcar—one that is even more appropriately engineered to stand the test of time.
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