Review: Rolls-Royce Spectre

From £332,055

The arrival of the Rolls-Royce Spectre finally fulfils the ambition of company co-founder Charles Rolls. In 1900 he drove an electric car from the Columbia Electric Carriage Company and immediately saw the appeal of a car that is noiseless and clean. He always strived to make a Rolls equally as quiet, but for more than 100 years, had to rely on fossil fuels to power the luxury models. Even the original mascot was called ‘Whisper’ a nod to the quiet and effortless way a Rolls would drive.

The name follows the theme of other models throughout history, such as Phantom and Ghost, but Spectre is unlike any of its predecessors in being the first fully-electric model from the marque. The company has been experimenting with electric cars for over a decade but today the global market is changing and the time is right for the car Rolls originally envisaged.

Rolls-Royce Spectre – Exterior

When Spectre was first revealed towards the end of 2022, director of design, Anders Warming, explained to us that the approach was to make it a Rolls-Royce first and an electric car second.

To that end, there is a degree of familiarity with the exterior design, but to maximise driving range, aerodynamics became a key focus. This includes the famous Spirit of Ecstasy mascot which required over 800 hours of work to make sure she cuts through the air as cleanly as possible. She adorns the widest pantheon grille in the company’s history and there are dramatic-looking headlights.

Buy new: Rolls-Royce Spectre

Buy used: Rolls-Royce Spectre

The side profile features sculpted lines designed to convey a feeling of movement and while we are in the realms of design speak, the lower line aims to make Spectre look like a yacht riding on the water. All this flows into a coupe rear profile that does its best to hide the car’s 5,435mm length.

Speaking of size, it sits on the massive 23-inch wheels complete with the weighted double-R logo that remains vertical at all times. All of this translates into a vehicle that has the kind of presence you’d expect a Rolls-Royce to have.

Rolls-Royce Spectre interior cabin

Rolls-Royce Spectre – Interior

The real sense of occasion comes when you step inside though. First, you have to open the widest doors of any Rolls ever made at 1.5 metres, enough to be described less as doors and more as a wingspan. Once inside you are greeted by the very best in handcrafted luxury, from the exquisite dashboard to the sumptuous seats.

Those seats have been inspired by British tailoring and feature the ultimate in materials and personalisation. Above the occupants is the option of a starlit headliner that features in other models but for the first time this intricate piece of design extends to the door panels and dashboard.

Rolls-Royce Spectre interior dash

On the passenger side of the dash is a panel with 5,000 stars surrounding the Spectre name, all of which goes dark when the car is switched off. There’s a focus on the physical, too, with plenty of buttons and switches, although the link with BMW is most evident in the infotainment display, albeit with bespoke Rolls-Royce graphics.

Those who wish to sit in the back will find plenty of leg and headroom, despite the tapered coupe roofline. There’s enough space for those extra touches of luxury like champagne flute holders and other items. It’s not as spacious as a Phantom but like the Ghost, the Spectre is a Rolls-Royce for those who like to drive as much as be driven.

> Effortless, swift and superbly built: Read our review of BMW i7

Rolls-Royce Spectre – Performance and economy

For that, the engineers have incorporated more BMW technology. This includes the company’s Gen 5 battery packs which have a usable output of 102kWh (120kWh maximum). They are linked to two electric motors, one up front that produces 255bhp and one on the rear axle generating 483bhp. The combination equates to 577bhp with 900Nm of torque instantly on tap. What this all means in terms of performance is the ability of the 2,890kg Spectre to hit 62mph in just 4.5 seconds and go on to a limited top speed of 155mph

Pull away and progress is rapid, so much so that you need to keep your eye on the speedo. Fear not if you don’t though because various alert systems will bing and bong to point out the error of your ways and at one point we thought other cars were beeping at us, only to find there’s a discreet horn sound for some misjudgments.

It’s well worth investigating the multitude of settings and switching some things off, just in the interest of maintaining the whisper-quiet ride of course. But as you’ll read further on, performance is not what it’s all about.

It’s also not about economy, after all, this is a Rolls-Royce. The company claims a consumption figure of 2.6-2.8mi/kWh which in itself isn’t great and is going to be on the optimistic side, but few owners are going to be checking how efficiently they are driving. They might find it a little difficult to reach the maximum claimed 329-mile range though. Fortunately, the Spectre can be topped up at a fast charger at speeds up to 195kW so no owner will have to endure sitting between a Kia E-Niro and a Tesla Model 3 for too long.

Rolls-Royce Spectre – Handling

Handling always feels like a rather crass thing to discuss when it comes to a Rolls-Royce but to heck with politeness, discuss it we shall. We picked the car up from the brand-new showroom in Sunningdale and took it to some lovely Berkshire roads. Firstly, there’s no getting away from the fact that Spectre is a massive car.

The large steering wheel is fine when wafting along the motorway but adds to the feeling of heft when trying to thread something weighing nearly three tonnes and being over two metres wide through rural and village roads. The steering wheel may be the one thing that you can’t change on the car, but shortening the diameter by an inch would make a world of difference, especially if you do want to enjoy the 576bhp and 900Nm on offer.

We completely understand if you don’t though and then you’ll find the clever active suspension copes admirably with delivering the kind of magic carpet ride you expect of a Roller. The dashboard is high and you feel wrapped in that incredible interior, the Spirit of Ecstasy leading the way ahead of you. Like a yacht, Spectre floats along most road surfaces, barely feeling any of the bumps and if you suddenly need to bring it to a halt, the impressive Chauffeur Stop engineering ensures it comes to a stop without the slightest sense of the nose dipping. It is not only luxurious but it’s clever, too.

> Review: Porsche Taycan

Rolls-Royce Spectre – Verdict

It might have taken over a century to fulfil the ambition but Spectre is an electric Rolls-Royce that Charles Royce would be very proud of. The combination of luxury and engineering has come together in a package that has all the hallmarks of the famous marque but for a new era. Even its flaws fail to detract from the real sense of occasion it delivers. Now all eyes will be on Bentley to see just what it can come up with when its first full EV hits the market in 2026.

Rolls-Royce Spectre – Tech specs

Price: from £332,055
On sale: Now
Battery Capacity: 102kWh (usable)
Maximum Power: 576bhp (255bhp front, 483bhp rear)
Torque: 900Nm
Transmission: Single speed
0-62mph: 4.5s
Top Speed: 155mph
Dimensions: L/W/H 5,453/2,080/1,559
Boot Capacity: 380 litres

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The Rolls-Royce Spectre delivers a combination of luxury and engineering that has all the hallmarks of the famous marque – but for a new era. It’s simply superb.
Show More

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Performance

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Range

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Comfort

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Dynamics

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Fast Facts

Price

£332,055

Battery Capacity

102 kWh

WLTP Range

329 miles

Maximum Power

573 bhp

Torque

900 lb-ft

0-60

4.3 secs

Top Speed

155 mph

Boot Capacity

380 litres

Pros and Cons

Exquisite interior luxury
Ultimate in ride comfort
Zero emission opulence
Wide doors make getting in and out tricky at times
Large diameter steering wheel not great for dynamic driving
Boot space less than luxury rivals
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