Rolls-Royce Wraith combines sport and luxury

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An all-new model, the two-door Rolls-Royce Wraith, has been designed to give the brand a sportier feel.

When you hear the name Rolls-Royce, you likely thing of luxury, but sporty? An all-new model has been designed to change the image of the Rolls-Royce brand.

The Rolls-Royce touches include plush carpeting, soft leather, splashes of plated metal, and of course, the legendary spirit of ecstasy hood ornament up front. But the new two-door Rolls-Royce Wraith is a little different; it's a sporty car.

Forget all that upper crust, "pass the Grey Poupon" stuff. The Rolls-Royce Wraith was built to perform. In fact, when Rolls-Royce introduced the car to the automotive media, they used a racetrack.

This modern Rolls-Royce was built for an exclusive clientele, people who probably don't bat an eye at its nearly $300,000 base price. There are options, of course, but standard under the hood is a twin-turbo V12 churning out over 600 horsepower.

A sloping roof line backs up the engine's power with dramatic looks. The two large doors are hinged at the rear. And since they could be a little hard to close, press a button and the car does it for you; just one of those little touches of automotive pampering.

For many years, Rolls-Royce and Bentley were part of the same company. The Rolls-Royce being the sedate luxury car, while the Bentley got the performance edge. Well these days, Rolls-Royce is owned by BMW, a company that knows a thing or two about making high performance cars. And they've decided they should apply that knowledge to their ultra luxury brand as well.

And people spending nearly $300,000 for a car these days expect performance. Rolls-Royce can't let Bentley have all the high-speed fun.

But both ultra luxury brands are doing very well right now. Rolls-Royce's sales are up 33 percent this year worldwide. Bentley has some boasting to do too, its sales in the first half of 2014 were up 23 percent. And in terms of sheer volume, Bentley leads by a wide margin.

With big money cars doing so well, Mercedes-Benz is reportedly going to top its own S-Class next year with an ultimate sedan that could reach the $1 million mark.

In the meantime, Rolls-Royce is shedding its former stuffy square image, one corner at a time.


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