This Is Rolls-Royce Spectre, An Electric Car Like No Other

Rolls-Royce promised something special from its first all-electric car, and the Spectre certainly delivers. First of what the automaker says will be its new age of electric drive, Spectre is neither short on power nor — in keeping with the Rolls-Royce spirit — hyperbole. In fact, this "Ultra-Luxury Electric Super Coupé," as the team in Goodwood, West Sussex, would have it, takes what we've seen from the company and only makes it more bold.

Of all the automakers embracing electrification, Rolls-Royce arguably makes the most sense. Lashings of torque delivered with levels of hush near-impossible with combustion engines make electric motors an obvious fit for a car company that prides itself on discreet excess.

Pair that with a design language that has never been described as subtle, and you have the recipe for something very unusual. Spectre is no sensible sedan or market-friendly SUV. Instead, Rolls-Royce opted to launch its first EV into one of the most demanding categories: a sports coupe.

Long, low, and sporting some serious rims

The result is, frankly, wild. Spectre has the widest Pantheon grille ever to feature on a Rolls-Royce, and the outsized detailing doesn't stop there. There's LED illumination to that grille, a swooping fastback rear, and whopping 23-inch wheels. The automaker says it's the first time rims of that scale have featured on a production two-door coupe from its range in almost a century.

Of course, electrification comes with aero demands, and so Spectre smooths out some of the crisper edges along the way. The grille vanes now have a more flush fit, and even the Spirit of Ecstasy figurine atop the hood is all streamlined.

The result is a car that, at over 214 inches in length, is actually longer than a Cadillac Escalade; it's almost 82 inches wide, too, but less than 62 inches tall, and has a curb weight of just shy of 6,600 pounds. This is no compact coupe.

The Architecture of Luxury gets an electric upgrade

Rolls-Royce doesn't make small cars, of course, and neither does it make feeble ones. Underpinning Spectre is the same "Architecture of Luxury" platform that the automaker has used in Phantom, Ghost, and Cullinan, a platform that was designed with alternative means of propulsion in mind from the outset.

The result is 30% stiffer than any previous car from the company, with a custom channel between the battery and the floor through which Spectre's electronics wiring and climate control ductwork can snake. The battery is underneath that, contributing over 1,500 pounds on its own.

To that, Rolls-Royce adds a new planar suspension system. It can actively couple and decouple the anti-roll bars as the coupe is being driven, adapting to the road surface by allowing each wheel to act independently. That, the automaker says, means less of the rocking motion on ill-kempt asphalt, whereas in the corners the system can recouple, stiffen the dampers, and wield all-wheel steering for more precision in turns.

Lavish and expensive

The drivetrain may be new, but the experience inside Spectre sticks closely to what we've seen from Rolls-Royce before. The huge, rear-hinged coach doors open to reveal a fairly straightforward cabin: not minimalist, certainly, given the automaker's healthy application of different hides, wood veneers, and chrome-finished metals, but far from the in-your-face gadgetry of most EVs. Simple toggle controls for the HVAC, a rotary controller for the infotainment, and a couple of displays focus on the essentials, though there's glitter still in the shape of the Starlight Headliner.

As for performance, 0 to 60 miles per hour is expected to arrive in 4.4 seconds, making the Spectre even faster than a Rolls-Royce Black Badge Ghost. The top speed is 155 miles per hour, courtesy of 577 horsepower and 664 lb-ft of torque. Currently, the automaker is estimating the range to be 260 miles on the U.S. EPA test cycle.

Final figures for the four-seater will be confirmed closer to the launch of the coupe, which isn't expected to begin until Q4 2023. However, the order books are already being opened, with pricing expected to fall somewhere between Cullinan (from around $348,000) and Phantom (from $465,000).