The Rolls-Royce Wraith has debuted in Australia with confirmation that local cars will feature the brand’s innovative new satellite navigation-linked automatic transmission.
While previously unconfirmed for our market, Rolls-Royce Asia Pacific general manager Dan Balmer confirmed the Satellite Aided Transmission (SAT) technology would be available in Australia after a detailed investigation of the country’s GPS data found it suitable to support the new system.
“We did an extensive research campaign across the world, [and] there are markets that will not get SAT because that data is not good enough,” Balmer said.
“When we met [in March] at that time we were researching Australia, and that data was good, so we’re glad to bring that feature as part of the car to Australia.”
SAT has been developed by Rolls-Royce as an add-on to the car’s ZF eight-speed automatic transmission. Using road map and topological data, Rolls-Royce says SAT can anticipate the driver’s next move and select the most appropriate gear for the terrain ahead, which it says leads to a “more polished, effortless [and] dynamic” driving experience.
Balmer confirmed the data-based nature of the technology meant Rolls-Royce did not need to perform physical tests in Australia to be confident it would work effectively on our roads.
“We can test the feature itself anywhere in the world,” he said.
“There’s a level of confidence in that data that, as good as it is, it will clearly work very well.”
Unveiled earlier this year at the Geneva motor show, the Wraith is the most powerful Rolls-Royce in the iconic British brand’s 109-year history.
A 465kW/800Nm 6.6-litre V12 launches the 2360kg two-door four-seater from 0-100km/h in 4.6 seconds and on to an electronically limited 250km/h top speed. Combined cycle fuel consumption is rated at 14.0 litres per 100km.
The Wraith’s $645,000 starting price puts it perfectly on par with the Ghost, Rolls’ ‘compact’ four-door sedan with which it shares its basic underpinnings.
The pricing makes it almost $200K more expensive than arguably its closest rival, the 460kW/800Nm twin-turbo 6.0-litre V12-powered Bentley Continental GT Speed, yet Rolls believes the Wraith represents a unique value proposition and could become its top-selling model both in Australia and internationally in 2014.
Rolls-Royce Asia Pacific regional director Paul Harris uses the analogy of a wardrobe to describe the Wraith’s position in the current line-up.
“Phantom is the special occasion tuxedo – it comes out every now and again for those red carpet moments; Ghost is the everyday business suit; and for us, Wraith really is the sports jacket,” Harris said.
“Wraith is the car we believe the honourable Charles Rolls would have chosen to drive were he alive today.”
Wraiths delivered to Australia will come standard with adaptive headlights, head-up display, voice-activated email and text messaging, 18-speaker audio system, and Spirit of Ecstasy rotary controller with touch-sensitive pad allowing occupants to draw letters with their fingers to navigate the 10.25-inch central infotainment screen.
Standard safety includes night vision with active illumination function to light up potential hazards, adaptive cruise control, and a 360-degree top-view camera system.
While exclusivity is ensured with a vehicle like the Wraith, Rolls-Royce’s Bespoke program allows owners to experience it on an entirely different level, with personalisation limited almost literally only by one’s imagination.
Rolls-Royce anticipates Australia will become one of the largest Wraith markets in the Asia Pacific region.
The first local customers will take delivery of their vehicles during the final quarter of this year.