It’s a happy surprise when you encounter something that blows your previous expectations out of the water. Such is the case while piloting the 2024 Rolls-Royce Spectre, for the benchmarks in the world of electric vehicles have been completely upset by the folks at Rolls-Royce. The Goodwood-based auto manufacturer understands what a complete luxury experience is and how that fits in an all-electric future.
All other high-end EVs on the market emphasize two seemingly important characteristics: quick 0–100-km/h sprints and long-distance ranges. The Rolls-Royce Spectre features acceptable figures for both, with a 4.5-second dash to highway speeds and a range of about 418 kilometres. The stats are not world-leading, but the automaker doesn’t need to highlight such abilities. Rolls-Royce knows that its customers have other cars or modes of transportation available for long-distance travel and even high-powered exotics to pilot when they want to get somewhere quickly.
Instead, the Spectre whisks you away in silence and confidence rather than with squealing tires and a breakneck pace. It recalls the automaker’s co-founder, Charles Rolls, who said in 1900, “The electric car is perfectly noiseless and clean. There is no smell or vibration.” That is as true today as it was 123 years ago, and it helps direct how the brand’s first EV should be: silent, clean, smooth.
With five-foot-long doors and a profile as long as a full-size SUV, the Spectre is graceful on the road, hitting all those points referenced by Rolls. Its design is clean thanks to some of the largest body panels fitted to a Rolls-Royce. It also packs a wide grille and 23-inch wheels. Clean can mean something obvious in the world of EVs, but here it defines the exterior design. Two-tone personalization and the impressive palette of paint finishes make the car eye-catching and special—motoring around in it attracts admiring stares. The cabin is elegant, avoiding such automotive industry tropes as plentiful screens for many controls. There’s a real dashboard, rather than one composed entirely of screens, and the controls are tactile and responsive.
Like the Spirit of Ecstasy popping out of the long hood, the Spectre exhibits plenty of showmanship. The starlight headliner shows a speckled starscape, a gorgeous piece of wow in any modern car. This approach now extends to the door panels, giving occupants the sense of journeying through tranquil outer space when driving at night. The Spectre also offers an array of sophisticated Canadel wood panelling on the interior surfaces.
As other EVs try to pack new and innovative technology into a car, the Rolls-Royce has just a few unique highlights, such as the digital gauge cluster setup, which features a minimalist art deco design. This area is usually densely packed with information, but the Spectre only presents the most relevant stats. Too much data is overwhelming, so this helps project a calm aura, which is personalized with custom dials that match the interior tans or exterior finishes.
Furthering the feel of the Spectre is how it rides. The wheels glide along the road, absorbing bumps and imperfections, which is surprising, given the limited sidewall. The trick here is that the Spectre has anti-roll bars that disconnect while driving down a straight road, ensuring the wheels act independently and preventing any roughness from reverberating into the cabin. Four-wheel steering helps the large coupe feel nimble and manoeuvrable.
As Rolls predicted, the ride is noiseless. Much of that is the nature of electric powertrains, but the cabin is so well insulated that it feels like a vault. Rolls-Royce’s customers have previously requested some form of audio feedback that might prevent disengagement or motion sickness. As a result, the Spectre includes an adjustable Rolls-Royce sound, but I found the car to be at its best when this was disabled.
Another adjustable element is regenerative braking. Some EVs boast a one-pedal driving setup, which emphasizes energy recuperation. In the Spectre, this can help extend the driving range, but you have to get used to how quickly the vehicle decelerates compared to the normal setting.
The Rolls-Royce Spectre is an important benchmark as it represents the first step toward the coachbuilder’s all-electric future. By the end of 2030, all the vehicles coming out of Goodwood will be electric, so this first stride had to hit right.