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How the Rolls-Royce Spectre defeats the many-headed Hydra of noise, vibration, harshness to emerge as the pinnacle coupe in the world

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One immediate observation which strikes you when approaching it is the enormity of the car. The Rolls-Royce Spectre stands 5 feet 11 inches tall. Walk up closer, next to the top of the front wing, and stand beside it. It meets exactly at your lower rib cage if you are 6 feet tall. The car is long too stretching over 17.5 feet. You’ll certainly want to slide inside which draws you to the forward placed solid metal door handle located just behind the front pillar as the door is rear-hinged into the middle pillar. Growing up my parents owned a Bosch fridge with a ridiculous but haptically satisfying large horizontal metal door handle that you pulled towards you to open it.

The £330,000 Rolls-Royce Spectre follows that design bar the shocking heft needed to open the door which needs a broad arc to open fully. The Spectre’s two doors are the largest fitted to a Rolls-Royce so you will find yourself shuffling backwards a bit.

Bending down slightly and climbing up and onto the front driver’s seat you slide across buttery soft leather that shhhs as you make yourself comfortable. You’ll notice too that you continue to sink into the base of the seat momentarily as the seat back softly caresses your lower spine and then your shoulders when you grip the steering wheel and wriggle to get fully comfortable.

Climbing up and onto the front seat you slide across buttery soft leather that shhhs as you make yourself comfortable

These tiny subliminal messages of ultra luxury comfort are no serendipitous accident. They are carefully stage managed by engineers who understand how crucial the first few seconds experiencing a ultra luxury good must be and how to get it to the point that it feels, what’s the phrase, just so. Doing this takes years of doggedly testing and evaluating different materials so every caress, texture and scent the owner experiences carries one message – this is a car without a peer.

Development of the Spectre testing began in 2021 and according to Rolls-Royce undertook 2.5 million kilometres and broke cover in October 2022. Between the two dates years of wear and tear were simulated. Ask why this £330,000 Rolls- Royce costs so much? All that design, engineering and endless production crafting – that’s why.

Does Madam or Sir crave kerbside drama? It may appear somewhat bad form but secretly, yes okay, it’s probable you do. Depress the brake pedal and the driver’s door silently glides from behind you and into view, closing with a muted thunk. Otherwise, you’ll have to step out again to retrieve the door. Sitting there a conclusion is drawn that you have experienced an ingress into a modern car like no other in the ultra-luxury super coupé space. The fact that this car happens to be fully electric; well we haven’t even got to that part.

The Spectre is Rolls-Royce’s first production EV. Power is prodigious with 584hp and 900Nm of pulling power that successfully eliminates now commonplace catapulting off the line from the tiresome EV playbook. That would be the one passed down from the high priest of instant accelerative gratification. That’s you, Tesla, by the by. The American giant dictated from the start that EVs should be devoid of any personality, look like domestic appliances and pursue the one thing you never want sitting beside you when you trample upon the accelerator – a clutch of queasy passengers.

“You may find it difficult to tell if you’re driving a V12 or an electric car.”

The Spectre simply has better breeding and boy was it on display during my test drive. A front motor with 190kW/365Nm mated and a rear motor producing 360kW/710Nm form a subtle combination propelling the car with dignified insistence instead of brute force from 0-100km/h in 4.5 seconds. It’s a gradual experience this, pulling you forward in a surging wave. A Rolls-Royce spokesperson put it best – “You may find it difficult to tell if you’re driving a V12 or an electric car.” I have to say objectively they had a legitimate point.

Range is a claimed 530km or 329 miles (530km) WLTP and this can be replenished in 10-80% in 34 minutes

Spectre owners have an average of seven other cars at their disposal adding to that several planes as well. This raises the matter of she or he having to grapple with charging cables if the staff are engaged elsewhere. Range is a claimed 530km or 329 miles (530km) WLTP and this can be replenished in 10-80% 195 kW (DC) max in 34 minutes or 10-80% 50 kW (DC) in 90 minutes. This is incidental and the Spectre will most likely be enjoyed on shorter distances as a treat rather than a single car to use every day.

Finally, we arrive at the Spectre’s grandest achievement. Even the best EVs drive in a broadly similar fashion. They propel the vehicle forward with a linear shove that appears fun on the dealership test drive but eventually it dawns on the owner their spanking new EV has all the warmth and idiosyncrasy charm of a preened CNN newscaster.

It slays the many heads of the Hydra that all car makers try but fail to eliminate – noise, vibration and harshness.

On this brief test drive, the Spectre displayed a genuine warmth I’ve not experienced in any EV up to now. Silence is the goal of all Rolls-Royce models but here, in this particular model, it felt more of a Royce than previous Royces I’ve tested before. It slays the many heads of the Hydra that all car makers try but fail to eliminate – noise, vibration and harshness. It is a singular achievement for the team at Goodwood – imposing and yet supremely charming; it is the finest car I have ever driven. Can it lay claim to being the best two door car on sale today? Objectively, yes, it is impossible for a buyer to acquire better.

  • Mark Gallivan, Motoring Journalist

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