What Is It?
For more than a century, the Rolls-Royce name has been synonymous with extraordinary automobiles that possess exquisite luxury, exclusive styling and powerful, quiet engines with impressive levels of performance. Now the company is taking these ideals into the future with the all-new 2024 Rolls-Royce Spectre — the British marque’s first all-electric vehicle.
“Spectre possesses all the qualities that have secured the Rolls-Royce legend,” said Torsten Muller-Otvos, CEO of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. “This incredible motor car, conceived from the very beginning as our first fully electric model, is silent, powerful and demonstrates how perfectly Rolls-Royce is suited to electrification. Spectre’s all-electric powertrain will assure the marque’s sustained success and relevance while dramatically increasing the definition of each characteristic that makes a Rolls-Royce a Rolls-Royce.”
All in on Electric
Rolls-Royce plans to develop a line of exclusively electric vehicles by 2030, and Spectre is the first step in that direction. But the idea of an electric Rolls-Royce isn’t new — about 120 years ago, company co-founder Charles Rolls thought it was a good idea. He had the opportunity to experience his first electric vehicle — a Columbia Electric Carriage — and after his drive, Rolls presciently proclaimed, “The electric car is perfectly noiseless and clean. There is no smell or vibration. They should become very useful when fixed charging stations can be arranged.”
Rolls First, EV Second
When engineers and designers began work on Spectre, their intentions were clear: the new vehicle would be a Rolls-Royce first and an EV second. The result is something purely Rolls-Royce, with a sleek, stylish design that cannot be mistaken for anything else. Up front is the traditional bold grille, although for Spectre it has been restyled to be the widest and most aerodynamic version ever offered. Above the grille flies the famed Spirit of Ecstasy ornament, which has been streamlined for Spectre. With its long, sloping hood and flowing roofline, Spectre is the most aerodynamic vehicle Rolls-Royce has ever produced, touting a 0.25 drag coefficient.
Although the 2024 Rolls-Royce Spectre possesses a two-door GT style, it’s not a small car. At almost 18 feet long, the new EV is slightly bigger than the Rolls-Royce Ghost. Spectre’s size commands the largest doors ever affixed to a Rolls. Measuring almost 5 feet long, the doors are coach style (rear hinged) and made from 100 percent aluminum to reduce weight while not compromising rigidity. A power-assist system helps open the door and, once inside, occupants press a button on the center console to close the door. And when the driver steps in and presses the brake, the driver’s door automatically closes.
From the rear, the new Spectre has a design reminiscent of classic Rolls-Royce models from the 1930s and 1940s. The roofline flows across the rear window and narrows at the back, emphasizing rear shoulders that feature small taillights. And even though the EV’s design is thoroughly modern, these elements pay homage to Spectre’s predecessors.
Rolls-Royce offers Spectre as a single model with a starting price of $420,000. Every Spectre features an elegant interior trimmed in the finest materials as well as heated, cooled, and massaging front seats. That said most customers add some level of customization to their vehicle. For starters, buyers can choose from 15 standard paint colors, nine standard leather colors, two standard wood veneers, and seven carpet colors. But those only scratch the surface, since virtually unlimited color combinations are possible for the new Spectre. Rolls-Royce representatives note that the average price of a Spectre will be closer to $500,000.
Architecture of Luxury
Every Spectre is a singular creation built on the brand’s proprietary aluminum chassis, referred to as the Architecture of Luxury. This new architecture underpins the entire Rolls-Royce lineup — Ghost, Phantom, and Cullinan — and was designed to work with both gas and electric powertrains. (A strong indication that electric versions of these models will be forthcoming, given the company’s stated goal.) The battery is built into the frame, which lowers the vehicle’s center of gravity — as well as the floor of the cabin — for more spacious surroundings. With the battery built into the chassis, torsional rigidity is increased a full 30 percent more than any other Rolls-Royce for improved handling. The 1,500-pound battery also provides sound deadening, which contributes to one of the quietest cabins ever experienced.
A dual-motor electric drivetrain powers the 2024 Rolls-Royce Spectre, with a 255-horsepower motor driving the front wheels and a rear motor making 483 horsepower for a total output of 584 horsepower and 664 lb-ft of torque delivered to all four wheels. Weighing in at over three tons, Spectre is rather hefty, but with so much torque at the driver’s disposal the big car will sprint to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds on its way to a top speed of 155 mph.
Spectre is new enough that the U.S. EPA hasn’t released fuel-efficiency data; however, the company has released an estimated range of 260 miles from its 102-kW lithium-ion battery. When we started the test Spectre, the display indicated a range of 274 miles with a 95 percent charge, while other journalists saw figures closer to 300 miles. The range will vary depending on driving habits and conditions, but the company’s estimate still seems conservative.
We didn’t have the opportunity (or need) to charge the Spectre, and Rolls-Royce claims the EV will go from empty to 100 percent charge on the company’s 22-kW Level 2 home charger in about 5.5 hours. Charging at a maximum of 195 kW on a DC fast charger, Spectre can reach an 80 percent charge from 10 percent in around 30 minutes. Most Spectre customers will have a charging solution at their residence, so Rolls has no plans to partner with a charging company as other EV manufacturers have done.
With the high levels of customization available, every Spectre interior has a different look and unique vibe. But all are awash with high-end materials such as soft leather trim, open-pore wood veneer, and fantastically soft lambswool floormats. Classic round metal vents with a push-button open/close mechanism are a creative juxtaposition to the nicely integrated large infotainment display and simple digital driver display positioned farther back behind a glass panel. Gauges are kept simple, with a speedometer color chosen by the customer to match the interior theme.
Rolls-Royce developed a new infotainment system for Spectre , featuring an improved user interface that is much easier to navigate. For the first time, Rolls-Royce provides wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity. Interaction with the system is accomplished via the touchscreen or center controller, with shortcuts to navigation, audio and communications. Voice interaction is also possible with a Rolls-Royce personal digital assistant named Eleanor. Drivers summon Eleanor via a button on the steering wheel, and the assistant can be asked to find a charging station, tune the audio system, turn on the seat massager, or set a navigation destination.
Designed specifically for Spectre, the front seats have an all-new design inspired by British tailoring. This unique styling allows for considerable customization through colors and designs. The seats in the 2024 Rolls-Royce Spectre are comfortable, offering excellent support and multiple massage options.
The rear seats in a 2-door model are typically unusable; Spectre is a formidable vehicle, which translates to a surprisingly roomy rear seat. The aforementioned large doors provide a wide opening for easy access to the rear seat, so ingress is a smooth maneuver. The interior is all Rolls-Royce, featuring comfortable cushioning with plenty of headroom and legroom. As one might anticipate in a car 18 feet long, two adult passengers would be perfectly happy riding in the Spectre’s back seat. Spectre is clearly a proper four-seat coupe.
The 2024 Rolls-Royce Spectre doesn’t skimp on trunk space. The large opening makes loading luggage a breeze, and the deep space can fit multiple bags — enough for the vehicle’s four occupants to head out on holiday.
As with other models in the Rolls-Royce lineup, Spectre can be equipped with umbrellas that store in special receptacles integrated into the door frame for easy access prior to exiting from the car. Multiple colors are available, so umbrellas can be ordered to match the cabin’s theme.
Star Light, Star Bright
A popular feature on Rolls-Royce motorcars is the Starlight Headliner, which simulates a star field in the ceiling, complete with shooting stars. This stunning feature continues with the Spectre, but is further enhanced with first-ever Starlight Doors, which incorporate LEDs to simulate 5,786 individual stars in each door, enveloping occupants in virtual starlight. In addition to the starlit headliner and doors, an Illuminated Fascia for the front passenger incorporates the Spectre name, surrounded by more than 5,500 stars.
On the Road
Rolls-Royces are known for silent, solid performance, but no previous model can match the new Spectre. Power delivery is exceptionally refined thanks to an easily modulated throttle. Departing a stoplight is smooth as silk, but it’s easy to become complacent — speed builds at a surprising rate, with triple-digit velocity achieved much quicker than expected. Braking is equally smooth with steady predictability. However, when quick maneuvering is required, full throttle alters the car’s trajectory quickly, pushing all occupants back in their seats.
Every electric vehicle is quiet due to the absence of an internal combustion engine, but Spectre is on a different level. With the audio system off, it’s possible to have a conversation in hushed tones while the car cruises at 80 mph. Wind and road noise are practically nonexistent.
The 2024 Rolls-Royce Spectre gets the latest version of the company’s signature Magic Carpet Ride, delivering a motoring experience that remains comfortable and stable regardless of road conditions. The latest iteration of the magic is a result of improved Planar Suspension technology. The system combines data from the navigation system with instant analysis of road surfaces, setting up the suspension, four-wheel steering and all-wheel drive to handle curves or rough roads. The system works admirably — even on extremely poor pavement we barely noticed any bumps in the cabin.
On straight roads, Spectre’s anti-roll bars automatically disconnect, allowing each wheel to move independently to smooth the ride on rough roads. When the system detects a curve, the bars reconnect and the suspension stiffens to provide excellent handling and control on winding roads. When pushed into corners this massive car remains flat with a confident ride, but only to a point. Spectre is still three tons of Rolls-Royce, and if a driver pushes the car too hard, physics wins.
Right for You?
With a price tag similar to what some pay for a house, the Spectre is clearly not for everyone. But for those who can play in the price range, Spectre is an outstanding vehicle. With a sleek design that is every bit a Rolls-Royce and a spacious, luxurious interior to match, Spectre checks the right boxes. Add in its powerful, quiet, and efficient electric powertrain, and Spectre is the Rolls-Royce of choice. Spectre is the first model of a new Rolls-Royce, which explains why 40 percent of pre-orders are new to the brand. But even those in the market for this new Rolls will have to wait: placing an order today means delivery will likely not occur until sometime in late 2025 — good things come to those who wait.
Pros: Elegant styling; powerful drivetrain; ultra quiet.
Cons: Extremely expensive; no automatic climate control.
Bottom Line: With an advanced powertrain and commanding presence, Spectre is poised to take Rolls-Royce well into the future.