There’s no missing Spectre when you see it on the road - it's a beautiful thing with its signature split headlights - and of course the grille - marking it out as a Rolls Royce.
At just under five and half metres long, just over two metres wide and close to 1.6m tall it's a car that is best described as being ‘generously proportioned’.
Its Pantheon grille is the widest ever fitted to a Rolls Royce, but its no longer there to cool a V12 - its job now is to help with aerodynamics. The iconic Spirit of Ecstasy was redesigned for Spectre, it has a lower stance and more aerodynamic profile and was perfected over 830 hours of design modelling and wind-tunnel testing.
The tail lamps are set into the largest single body panel ever produced for a Rolls-Royce and the seamless roofline also adds to Spectre’s exceptional aerodynamics, helping to contribute to the 0.25 drag coefficient, the lowest yet for a Rolls-Royce.
Rolls Royce Spectre Interior
Let’s take a moment now to talk about these pillarless coach doors! They’re almost 1.5 metres in length, are laser-welded and are made from 100% aluminium to reduce weight. And of course they’re power activated, to open them you simply pull the handle and when you’re ready release it and they stop opening.
Once inside, there’s no need to manually close them either. All you need to do is press the brake pedal. It's like magic. Almost.
It doesn’t feel as spacious in here as you might imagine given its exterior size. That's mainly down to the battery mounted underneath, which allows for a lower seating position and a deeper dashboard. It has a lovely cocooning feel but at 5ft 4 I’m right on the maximum of the seat height, which isn’t ideal if you are smaller in stature.
What is ideal though is the level of craftsmanship you see in the interior - it's on another scale. For the first time on a series production Rolls-Royce, customers can opt for Starlight Doors, which incorporate 4,796 softly illuminated ‘stars’. Not your thing? Then there’s also a range of hand-crafted woods for you to choose from.
The celestial theme continues with Spectre’s Illuminated Fascia. Developed over the course of two years taking more than 10,000 collective hours - yes really - it incorporates the Spectre nameplate surrounded by a cluster of over 5,500 stars - and it’s completely invisible when the car is not in operation. And like those stars in the headliner it looks utterly incredible at night.
Inspired by British tailoring, there’s an all-new front seat design which has lapel sections that can be optioned in contrasting or matching colours to the main base.
And for the first time, clients are able to extend their Bespoke commission into the digital realm; by selecting the colour of the instrument dials to complement the car’s colour scheme. Another example of how Rolls is embracing its both its history and its future in this car.
Of course many owners will spend some of their time sitting in the back here and it's a lovely place to be. It's snug for sure, and getting out isn't the easiest, but two adults will be comfortable.
Rolls Royce Spectre driving and performance
The Spectre starts in silence - and pulls away noiselessly. That serene drive continues and makes me wonder why on earth Rolls waited so long to go electric. When it comes to that instant electric torque, the engineers have resisted the urge to go full on, so Spectre is more restrained than it could have been. That means there are far quicker EVs, but this is all more dignified. The figures still stack up pretty well and it really shifts when you nudge the accelerator though.
Despite the fact that it weighs in at just under three tonnes, it can still accelerate from 0-62mph in 4.5 seconds. Helping you on the way are two electric motors - front and rear. The motors, which were co-developed with BMW, produce a combined output of 577bhp and 664lb ft.
There's lots of the hardware helping you on your way too - adaptive dampers, active roll bars, the Planar suspension, and four-wheel steering - is familiar from other Rolls models.
At the heart of it is a development of the brands bespoke platform. This aluminium space frame - which houses its 102 kWh battery - makes it the stiffest car Rolls Royce has ever produced. And stiffness in the body is a good thing as it lets the suspension get on with doing its stuff more efficiently.
In another first Spectre is also the most connected Rolls-Royce in history, described as ‘Rolls-Royce in ultra-high definition’. Each of the car’s thousands of drivetrain and chassis characteristics were tested and refined during an extensive testing programme.
The result is a smart suspension that reads the road ahead and processes the vast amounts of data it collects to respond quickly to input from the driver or changing road conditions.
All of that means the ride is smooth, calm and comfortable and adapts to what the road throws up. I’ve been on slower roads today so haven’t had the opportunity to push harder, but it handles corners well staying composed, while the steering is light and accurate. Which makes it feel surprisingly nimble and manoeuvrable driving around town.
However; it's not perfect. Those gorgeous - and vast - optional 23 inch alloy wheels may look spectacular but they do throw up a fair bit of noise on poor stretches of road, which does have an impact on the overall serenity.
On smoother surfaces its incredibly serene and the way the battery positioned underneath the car acts as a sound buffer reducing the noise levels from the road below. Too quiet for you? There are artificial sounds you can turn on if you like that kind of thing - but for me, silence and calmness really sums up what luxury so I’m giving them a miss.
Rolls Royce Spectre battery, efficiency and brakes
Powering Spectre is its 102kWh lithium-ion battery, made using cobalt and lithium from strictly controlled sources in Australia, Morocco and Argentina: while the battery cells are produced using 100% green electricity.
Like everything else its been extensively tested to extensively in temperatures ranging from -40°C to +50°C and has a sophisticated on-board thermal management system to keep its temperature regulated.
Charge times from 10-80% take 34 minutes at a DC fast charger where it can draw a maximum charge rate of 195kW, while a 50kW DC charger will take just over an hour and half. But don’t expect to see many Spectres queuing for the chargers on a bank holiday weekend, the company says it expects the majority of its owners to do their charging at home.
I'm afraid I need to grumble about efficiency. When it came to deciding on the range Rolls Royce did a lot of work with existing clients to figure it out and the result - those official 329 miles - apparently goes beyond these requirements. You see its clients have an average of more than seven cars in their garage to choose from and they drive on average just 3,500 miles in their current Rolls-Royce per year.
But we didn't get anywhere close to the official range in our test in conditions which were just about perfect, while using B mode. Our recorded average of 2.5 m/kwh gives around 250 miles, so expect even less in winter. That total may be plenty, but it does rule out any romantic notion of driving to your villa in Nice so easily.
Over 1.5 million miles of testing have gone into getting it road ready and the engineers are so confident in its set up that there are no other driving modes to play around with. Although you do get a ‘B’ mode which bumps up the brake regeneration for one-pedal driving - something I love about electric cars. But sadly I think they’ve missed a trick with it, it doesn’t give full one pedal driving and you also can’t control the level of regeneration on offer.
It’s also quite harsh when you initially lift off to slow down, which seems to go against the whole smooth, refined vibe of the overall driving experience. Rolls Royce say they went down this route on purpose as its new technology for its customers but as someone who loves it I wish they’d really gone for it.
Rolls Royce Spectre Verdict
This is a stunning car, without doubt. Is it worth three times as much as the BMW i7, with which it shares so many parts? The numbers would suggest not, but the beauty of Rolls Royce ownership is being able to choose a product which is truly unique and made with true craftsmanship.
I just wish the company had been a little more honest with the efficiency and that the brakes had a little more polish to them. But they are very small niggles in a car which will become a true flagship for electric vehicles.