(NEW YORK) — Meet the world’s first “ultra luxury electric super coupe.”
The $413,000 Rolls-Royce Spectre is not be the world’s most expensive electric vehicle (that title goes to the $2.4 million Rimac Nevera hypercar). Nor is it the fastest. Its EPA-estimated range of 260 miles falls short of the industry-leading Lucid Air Grand Touring ($154,000), which gets 516 miles on a full charge.
Yet Rolls-Royce will undoubtedly sell every Spectre, a two-door fastback that seats four, it builds next year at the company’s headquarters in Goodwood, England.
“Demand has been incredible. While we haven’t even shown Spectre publicly, we have more hard orders already than we had in total for Dawn or Cullinan,” Martin Fritsches, president and CEO of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars America, told ABC News, referring to the company’s convertible and SUV models. “We have already seen hundreds of our clients visit the Bespoke design studios in Goodwood to start configuring their Spectre commission.”
Last year, the 117-year-old brand decided it would cease production of its gas-guzzling, 12-cylinder engines and replace its entire lineup with EVs by 2030. The Spectre, the company’s first electric vehicle, will be available starting in late 2023. Bespoke customizations can easily add 20% more in value to the Spectre’s MSRP, Fritsches noted.
The 6,559-pound coupe sprints from 0 to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds and delivers 664 ft-lb of torque and 577 horsepower. Designers gave the Spectre 23-inch wheels along with the widest grille ever put on a Rolls-Royce. Even the brand’s famous Spirit of Ecstasy mascot got a makeover: The figurine was remodeled to have a lower, more dynamic stance that’s also aerodynamic. Moreover, Spectre is the first Rolls to offer Starlight Doors, which add 4,796 illuminated “stars” to the interior.
“Spectre represents the start of our electric era [and] has been under development for many years,” Fritsches said. “The prime directive of this project was to ensure that Spectre is a Rolls-Royce first and foremost and happens to be powered as an electric car second.”
Ivan Drury, director of insights at Edmunds, expects the Spectre to be an instant hit for Rolls-Royce, potentially even exceeding demand for the Cullinan SUV, the company’s top-selling model.
“There will be a lot of hand-raisers and it will be sold out for years,” Drury told ABC News. “The price of these vehicles has no meaning to customers. Rolls-Royce operates on a different level than anyone else — it has guaranteed sales.”
Even a global recession, which some market strategists are predicting this year, would have little if any impact on the company’s future sales, according to Michelle Krebs, executive analyst at Cox Automotive.
“Expensive cars have done very well over the last few years and EVs in general are bought by the most affluent people,” Krebs told ABC News. “The demographic of customers who buy these vehicles are less affected by the economy.”
In 2021, Rolls-Royce delivered a record 5,586 vehicles to clients around the world, a 49% increase from 2020. Rolls-Royce has already sold 4,701 vehicles in the first nine months of 2022, with customer orders extending well into next year, Fritsches said.
The introduction of the Spectre could put pressure on Tesla, the undisputed EV leader, and German carmaker Porsche, which has seen customers rapidly shift to its all-electric Taycan, with sales last year outpacing the brand’s venerable 911 sports car. EVs are the fastest-growing auto segment in the U.S., accounting for 6.4% of the total market, up from 2.6% last year, Krebs said. Tesla has reported a 64% rise in sales this year though its stronghold on the market has started to slip with the arrival of more EVs.
General Motors’ Cadillac division, however, may be Rolls-Royce’s most serious competitor in the ultra-luxe space. Its new $300,000 Celestiq electric concept will lead the brand’s electric future and become Cadillac’s new flagship vehicle, according to company executives. Like the Spectre, the Celestiq will be hand-built, handcrafted and customized to owners’ discerning specifications. It arrives by 2025.
Dan Pund, executive editor of Road & Track, said EVs present a new challenge to high-end automakers: how to stand out when the number of cylinders and driving engagement no longer matters.
“Powertrain is not the differentiating factor anymore — styling now is so important,” Pund told ABC News.
As for Rolls-Royce’s electric ambitions, Pund said customers can anticipate the same level of comfort and luxury they have always sought in the brand.
“It makes sense for them to go electric,” he said. “Enormous torque, smooth, quiet rides — this is what the company is known for.”
Fritsches said the Spectre, much like the marque’s Black Badge models, will keep the company relevant in an industry that’s quickly moving away from gas-powered conveyances.
“We are already seeing newcomers to Rolls-Royce who have been waiting for us to make the commitment to electrification,” he said.
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