New luxury derivatives from the German heavyweights


Bentley and Rolls-Royce released new models at the Geneva Motor Show.  Whilst both were once the epitome of British engineering and quality, these days both are owned by the German manufacturers Volkswagen (Bentley) and BMW (R-R).

Bentley’s Flying Spur is an extended wheelbase, four-door version of the Continental GT coupe that is designed to sit below the company’s flagship Mulsanne, offering similar levels of back-seat luxury but with a more sporting twist, so you will not look out of place if seen in the driver’s seat, when the chauffeur has his day off.

R-R Wraith.R-R Wraith.

The performance comes from the VW derived 6 liter, twin-turbo W12 engine that produces 460 kW and 800 Nm of torque and, in combination with its eight-speed gearbox and all-wheel-drive transmission, can run from 0-100 km/h in 4.3 seconds.

BMW, however, presented the Rolls-Royce Wraith, which is apparently the most powerful car they have ever made.

The Wraith, on the other hand, is a two door version of the company’s Ghost limousine with a unique fastback design, lower roof line and heavily raked windscreen.

Not only is it more sporty in its profile, the Wraith is powered by an upgraded version of the Ghost’s 6.6 liter twin-turbo V12 that produces 465 kW and 800 Nm – 45 kW and 20 Nm more than in the sedan.  Rolls-Royce claims the car can cover the 0-100 km/h in 4.4sec – which is 0.3sec quicker than the Ghost.

Rolls-Royce says the Wraith is even more sporting having the world’s first satellite aided transmission.  The eight-speed gearbox uses GPS data to read the road ahead and, using sensors to determine the driver’s driving style, pre-selects the most appropriate gear.  It says the system monitors corners, roundabouts and motorway junctions to ensure the car is “constantly poised to deliver on its performance”.  (Not sure that I like this foray into further electronics, but since I’ll never own one, I shouldn’t worry.  Dr. Iain)

The four-seater cabin is accessed by ‘suicide doors’ (rear-hinged).  As always, the occupants are then ensconced in half a herd of cows and forest (Canadel wood paneling) and a roof lining that features 1340 fiber optic lamps to give the impression of a glittering, starry night.

I have no idea of the price in Thailand, but in Australia, the Flying Spur is expected to cost about $450,000, while the Wraith will command at least $700,000 (21 million THB on straight currency exchange, and now add on the duty, taxes and multiply by your birthday and you will get close to the Thai price).