You don’t just need to be rich to own a Rolls Royce; you need to be super rich.
And, as this is a level of wealth I won’t be experiencing any time soon, I was delighted to have the chance to sit behind the wheel of the new Rolls Royce Wraith, now available from the dealership in Knutsford.
Rolls Royce dominates the super luxury car market and though it may have a stereotypical image as a ‘mature’ gentleman’s car, there is no such thing as a typical customer says James Warren, communications manager at Rolls Royce Motor Cars.
“People who drive a Rolls are undoubtedly very wealthy,” he said. “But they are also incredibly successful, very focussed and disciplined. They expect the very best.”
The new, two-door Wraith is attracting much younger customers to Rolls Royce (younger and with more than £250,000 to spend on a car, that is).
Individuality is very much an important part of the buying process and almost every single car is unique.
When a lady from Hong Kong requested that her Rolls be the exact same colour as her blusher – Rolls Royce came up with the goods.
“We’ve had lip gloss and shoes in the post and another wanted the car the same colour as his dog, a red setter,” said James. “There’s nothing we wouldn’t consider.”
The detail that goes into making each Rolls Royce is meticulous – even the bulls used to make the leather interior are well looked after. They graze in high altitude in Bavaria, nowhere near barbed wire or insects, to ensure the best leather in the world is used inside the car.
As for driving the Wraith itself, it was more than a little nerve-wracking at first, although you quickly get used to its size.
A smooth and powerful 6.6-litre V12 twin turbo engine, which delivers 624bhp, will take you to 60mph in just 4.4 seconds – amazing for a car this size. It glides along effortlessly and you will enjoy a natural superiority knowing you’re driving the best, most luxurious car on the road.
Other motorists treat you with the utmost respect and there were a few open mouths as I drove the Wraith through Knutsford and Lymm. Some even held up their phones to record it driving past – it is after all, a rare and beautiful sight.
Although there is a steady market in the UK, it is China who buys the most cars from Rolls Royce, closely followed by America and the Middle East. Some of the more famous owners include David Beckham, Simon Cowell, Christina Aguilera and Lord Alan Sugar.
Just to round the day off perfectly, I also drove the Phantom and the Ghost, and while these were equally graceful to drive and completely stunning to look at, the Wraith edged out in front as my firm favourite.
Owning a Rolls Royce is part of an elite lifestyle and once back at the showroom, customers were chatting to bespoke tailor Harris & Howard and sommelier Charles Mitchell Wines as well as expert craftsmen from Rolls-Royce’s bespoke team at Goodwood, who were demonstrating the hand-crafted elements that go into each car.
I may not be part of the super elite, but I am now the proud owner of a personalised, Rolls Royce mouse mat and key ring. The rest I’ll just have to work on.
Follow Catherine on Twitter @CatherineLawler