Formed in Manchester, England, in 1904 by Charles Rolls and Henry Royce with the lofty goal of building “the best car in the world”, Rolls-Royce has indeed long been used as a metaphor for the very finest available when describing any supremely made commodity: “It’s the Rolls-Royce of private planes, yachts, watches,” etc.
Subsequently, it wasn’t long before Rolls-Royce became the preferred automobile for heads of state around the world, further raising the company’s gravitas. From 1931 to 1970, Rolls-Royce owned Bentley automobiles, which also enjoyed a lofty reputation for elegance and prestige.
So profound was the company’s reputation for excellence that a 1987 survey revealed that Rolls-Royce was the second-best known brand in the world, behind only Coca-Cola. Its legacy is further burnished by its development of a variety of innovative airplane engines during World War I and II, including the earliest jet engines. Although its automobiles are still made in England, Rolls-Royce has been owned by BMW since 1998.
Its entry-level offering, if it can be called such a thing, is the Ghost. The four-door luxury sedan is powered by a 563-hp 6.7-liter V-12 with an eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive and steering. Smooth sailing is virtually guaranteed by a camera that scans for potholes in the road and adapts the suspension accordingly.
In addition to the usual amenities expected inside an ultra-luxury sedan, like fine leather, genuine wood trim, Wi-Fi, and a large infotainment and navigation touch screen, the Ghost also features a headliner with tiny LED lights to reproduce the look of stars in the night sky.
Wraith is essentially a two-door derivative of the Ghost. Boasting a 623-hp, twin-turbocharged V-12 and an eight-speed automatic, it is the most powerful car ever produced by Rolls-Royce and goes zero-to-60 in a mere 4.3 seconds. The coupe includes rear-hinged doors, along with all the bells and whistles available in the Ghost.