Rolls-Royce Spectre EV First Drive: Understated Luxury

For now, the team has worked hard delivering a car that stops, steers, and handles in a way that defies its mass. The Spectre gathers momentum with impressive if not scalp-tickling alacrity, and asks the driver to make only a touch more effort when it comes to fast corners than a Rolls Ghost. It’s not a sports car, clearly, but it does everything with an imperious, overwhelming sense of confidence.

Wunder confirms that they could have extracted considerably more power from the batteries. But other than generating cheap headlines or creating fodder for childish YouTube drag-racing videos, what would have been the point? The Spectre sits above all that stuff, and is more than swift enough. 

Hybrid Interior

A digital instrument display has made it into a Rolls-Royce for the first time.

Photograph: Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

There are also no switchable driving modes beyond the one set by Rolls, with only the regenerative braking function altering the way it feels and offering easy one-pedal driving. That’s triggered by pushing a little B button on the slender drive-controller column stalk. An active rear axle and all-wheel drive ensure foolproof handling. The steering is effortless but linear and precise.

Similarly, the interior is light on visible technology. Not for Rolls a Mercedes-style Hyperscreen or even the “curved glass” multimedia display favored by BMW. True, a digital instrument display has made it into a Rolls-Royce for the first time, and there’s a touchscreen, but there are also rotating discs, big rotary knobs for the climate control—and while everyone else is trying to hide their air vents, the Spectre’s huge steel items are right there, loud and proud. 

The Spectre boasts the brand’s “starlight” headlining inside, as well as its own proprietary audio system.

Photograph: Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

The rear-hinged door closes when you press the brake pedal, and Rolls’ “starlight” headlining—with 4,800 individual light sources—can now be extended into the leathery expanse of the door panel trim. Interestingly, the company is confident enough to have its own proprietary audio system, with the speaker and subwoofer locations fixed at the body-in-white stage. 

Indeed, the Spectre conjures character from every corner. WIRED will return to try the finished product, although the gains still to be made are marginal. No one will ever accuse a Spectre owner of flying under the radar, but this car is shaping up to be an elegant, elevated, and curiously discreet luxury EV. Especially when it comes to the technology that underpins it.

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