I allow myself a small smile as I pull up to the lights, I can almost feel the irritation of the young Lamborghini driver as I roll up alongside him, writes Scott Armstrong.
He of course expected to be the star attraction, cruising around the streets of Downtown Dubai, the Burj Khalifa staring down on us from its lofty vantage point.
A crowd of passing tourists gawp at us, he revs his engine loudly for a moment, waiting for the lights to change. Then as red blinks to green he turns his head briefly, locks eyes with me before nodding his respect and then screaming off.
I don’t chase, I don’t need to, if anyone was taking score I have already won.
Instead I glide forward choosing my own path. The tourists in my rear view are still trying to frame selfies on their smart phones before I disappear from view. It seems I’ll be playing the starring role on a few Instagram accounts later.
I guess they can be forgiven for mistaking me for a movie star, I am after all driving a Rolls-Royce Wraith ‘Inspired by Film’ limited edition, a car possessing all the grace in motion of a 1930s Hollywood idol on the red carpet.
This Wraith maybe inspired by the Silver Screen but it doesn’t need a camera crew to capture its magic, this is a live show on an epic scale. The two-tone silver and jubilee silver gives the car the sleek look of Daniel Craig’s suited and booted James Bond in Skyfall.
Inside I have almost as much tech as Bond has enjoyed over the past years, including heads up display speedometer and sat-nav projected onto the windscreen, a collision alert system and even the steering wheel vibrates if I begin veering out of my lane. The satellite assisted automatic gearbox, which instinctively knows where I am and ensures I’m always in the right gear, is something any spy involved in a chase would welcome.
The interior of the Wraith is as lavish as any captured on screen, resembling more the stunning yacht Bond sailed into Venice in Casino Royale. The Maccassar Ebony open pore wood trim that sweeps from the front and into the rear seats completes that look. And of course the tailoring of the leather seats is as impeccably cut as any of the super-spy’s suits.
Somewhat surprising then that 007 has never driven a Rolls-Royce in any of his film adventures to date, but the Wraith ‘Inspired by Film’ could change that with insiders at the car company calling it ‘the Rolls-Royce James Bond would choose’.
Certainly if MI6 come calling, the Wraith would be on my list of suitable company cars for such a profession.
The dramatic lines of the Wraith’s fastback body, combined with the always surprising two carriage doors, means entrance to the most luxurious of locations is assured. Not even the most jobsworth of security staff would challenge the arrival of its occupant.
This is confirmed to me in the real world environment as I pull up at the five-star Ritz-Carlton Dubai in Jumeirah. Here top-hatted staff greet ‘our’ (me and the car) arrival with admiring glances, before the valet proudly parks the car directly outside the main entrance. When I chose to come and go, I won’t be waiting.
That is the ‘Rolls-Royce effect’, wherever it arrives, no matter how glamourous the occasion, the vehicle commands respect, in fact it earns respect, as do you as its driver.
That confidence is as much a part of the Wraith ‘Inspired by Film’ as its 6.6 litre twin-turbo V12 engine, the assured attitude as expertly engineered as any physical part during the 450 hours it takes to create the fastest Rolls-Royce to date (which notches up 0 to 100kph in 4.6 seconds).
The 624bhp delivers acceleration as thrilling as any high speed pursuit committed to celluloid, true power drives this 2360kg athlete forward like a pro-boxer.
While movies rely on the crescendos of orchestral scores to add pace and excitement to what is happening on screen, the Wraith carries its own dramatic soundtrack under the bonnet. No mewling kitten desperate for attention (like some supercar engines) putting your foot down here unleashes a commanding deep growl akin to Liam Neesam’s Aslan the Lion.
Like an A-list Hollywood actor turning down roles and only selecting those assured of critical acclaim, choosing the Rolls-Royce Wraith says a great deal about its elite owner. Even at the bespoke luxury end of the market there are an array of options which could be cast as your leading lady of the roads, ultimately it’s whether you have the self-belief to take to the world’s stage with the ‘Spirt of Ecstasy’ by your side.
While many dream of auditioning, only a very few earn that starring role.
Engine / cylinders / valves: V / 12 / 48
Power output @ engine speed: 624 bhp / 632 PS (DIN) / 465 kW @ 5600 rpm
Max torque @ engine speed: 800 Nm / 590 lb ft @ 1500-5500 rpm
Transmission type: Eight-speed automatic / 8HP90
Top speed: 250 km/h / 155 mph (governed)
Acceleration: 0-60 mph in 4.4 sec
Acceleration: 0-100 km/h in 4.6 sec
Acceleration: 0-1000 m 22.4 sec
Fuel consumption urban: 21.2 ltr / 100 km / 13.3 mpg
Fuel consumption extra urban: 9.8 ltr / 100 km / 28.8 mpg
Fuel consumption combined: 14.0 ltr / 100 km / 20.2 mpg