Rolls-Royce revealed its first all-electric vehicle, the 2024 Specter, an ultra-luxury coupe with an estimated 260 miles of range and a price tag that is sure to make even the wealthiest choke on their tea. For those who can afford it, the Specter is expected to make its first customer deliveries starting in late 2023.
The Specter marks the first step toward a fully electrified Rolls-Royce lineup, which the company has said it will achieve by 2030. That stands in contrast to the company’s parent company, BMW, which has yet to declare when it expects to transition to 100 percent EV sales. (Mini, another BMW-owned brand, has also said it would be all-electric by the end of the decade.)
The Specter marks the first step toward a fully electrified Rolls-Royce lineup
In some respects, the Specter is not unlike other luxury coupes from Rolls-Royce: long hood, sleek roofline, pillarless doors — all familiar designs. But a quick glance under the surface reveals the Specter to be unique among the storied British automaker’s lineup thanks to its lithium-ion battery-powered architecture.
But this is more of a design announcement than a full accounting of the Specter’s underlying power train. Rolls-Royce says that most of the relevant specifications, including range, acceleration, and battery capacity, are still “being refined” and that more details will emerge at a later date.
Rolls-Royce also didn’t divulge the price of the Specter but did confirm that it would slot somewhere in between the Cullinan SUV (which starts at $327,750) and Phantom ($458,000). Given the rising price of battery materials and the overall costs associated with building an entirely new vehicle, it stands to reason the Specter will likely land somewhere closer to the Phantom than the Cullinan.
The automaker did say that the Specter is expected to get “up to” 260 miles of range, offer 664 pound-feet of torque from its 577 horsepower power train, and achieve zero to 60mph in 4.4 seconds. That places it somewhere between the Audi E-tron S and Polestar 2 in terms of power and acceleration — and far behind other ultra-quick EVs like the Tesla Model S Plaid, Porsche Taycan, and Lucid Air.
But what the Specter lacks in giddyup, it more than makes up for in over-the-top proportions, high-powered tech, and luxury accessories. The two-door, four-seat coupe will be 214.6-inches long with a 126-4-inch wheelbase — slightly more condensed than the Rolls-Royce Phantom on which the Specter is based. But what it lacks in length, it makes up for in girth: at 81.8 inches wide, the Specter will be among the most expansive models in Rolls-Royce’s lineup.
Zero to 60mph in 4.4 seconds
Indeed, the Specter will ride on the same platform as the Phantom and the Cullinan, the automaker’s SUV, but its fastback-style back end is more like the Wraith. The overall proportions are so, well, indulgent that Rolls-Royce says it was forced to use really big 23-inch wheels, which, sure, improve the stance and ride quality but will ultimately subtract from the desired range. The Specter has the distinction of being Rolls-Royce’s first two-door coupe perched on 23-inch wheels in over 100 years.
To appropriately emphasize that beltline, the front end is capped by the “widest grille ever bestowed on a Rolls-Royce.” There are also a lot of interesting lighting features around the vehicle, including 22 LEDs in the grille and a series of starlight-esque arrays embedded in the door and headliner of the vehicle.
As with all things Rolls-Royce, you should expect an especially comfortable and highly tuned driving experience in the Specter. The EV will be the latest in the automaker’s lineup to feature a suite of features Rolls-Royce calls its Planar Suspension, which the company refers to as its “magic carpet ride.” First deployed on the 2021 Ghost, the Planar Suspension is a combination of hardware and software that enables “precisely defined responses to driver inputs and road conditions.”
The “widest grille ever bestowed on a Rolls-Royce”
In a nutshell, it uses the mass of the vehicle to dampen out small- and high-frequency vibrations from the road. By decoupling the car’s anti-roll bars, each wheel is allowed to act independently, preventing the rocking motion that occurs when one side of a vehicle hits an undulation in the road. When approaching a corner, the Planar system recouples the components and stiffens the dampers while also engaging the vehicle’s four-wheel steering system. Rolls-Royce calls it “effortless control.”
Inside the vehicle, the Specter will run on a digital platform that Rolls-Royce says is the “most connected” in its history. The automaker’s engineers have tested the Specter on 2.5 kilometers of road (1.5 million miles) to ensure the vehicle can respond to data points related to “climate, ground speed, road type, vehicle status and driving style.”
When it arrives, the Specter will do battle with other luxury EVs for the attention of that subset of car buyers with ample bank accounts. Fortunately, Rolls-Royce seems positioned to beat a lot of its competitors to market. Other luxury automakers, like Aston Martin and Bentley, won’t have EVs out until a few years after the Specter is released. And it’s unclear how much crossover there is between Italian sports car makers like Ferrari and Lamborghini and Rolls-Royce’s more sophisticated buyers.