Truly Rolls Royce Motor Cars Limited is at the apex of world’s luxury when it comes to automobile. FUNKE OSAE-BROWN, who was in Abu Dhabi recently to experience the cars, says they come with no ordinary power.
Travelling on a business class ticket from Lagos to Doha, and from Doha to Abu Dhabi tells of the class that the Rolls-Royce Motor Cars brand is known for. My flight from Doha to Abu Dhabi touched down at the airport at 3am local time. At the arrival hall, a porter was awaiting my arrival holding a pager with my name printed on it. He led me to a waiting car. The man behind the wheel got out to open the rear passenger seat for me while he puts my luggage in the car booth. Call it VIP treatment and you won’t be wrong. That is what Rolls-Royce Motor Cars does to all its clients, pampering them all the way. Unknown to me that was just a tip of the iceberg of what awaits me.
Journeying from the Abu Dhabi International airport to the hotel takes me into a unique beautiful scenery of the city of Abu Dhabi. It tells of the modernity that is fast blending with the cultures of an ancient civilisation. Perhaps it is symbolic of the trajectory of the Rolls-Royce brand since it was founded in 1911, a brand that has grown through the ages.
Before long we arrived at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, at the Grand Canal, overlooking the great mosque, Sheikh Zayed grand mosque. And my expedition into a world class treatment began.
Test-Driving Rolls-Royce Ghost SII
After a brief introduction of the Rolls-Royce cars, Wraith and Ghost Series II, by Brett Soso, regional director, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Limited, Middle East, Africa, Central Africa and South America. We were ushered into the large frontage of Ritz Carlton Hotel where seven Rolls-Royces cars were parked. Two journalists were paired to a car. I was paired with Jenny, an Editor with Etihad Inflight Magazine. We had earlier been told by our instructor, Ian Cox, senior drive instructor for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Limited, that we will have about four stops before we reach our final destination, Qasr Al Sarab desert.
And so we took our positions inside the car as we drove out in a convoy of seven Rolls-Royce cars with our lead instructor in a different car ahead of us. He was communicating with us via a central walkie-talkie that was connected to all the cars.
I joined other journalists from the UAE and South Africa to have a first-hand drive of the beautiful cars, Wraith and Ghost Series II. It was the ‘No Ordinary Power’ lifestyle experience drive organised by Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Limited in Abu Dhabi. The monotone lyrical copper colour of the exterior finish of the Rolls-Royce Wraith ahead of us dazzled in the bright Arabian afternoon sun as we drove out of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Grand Canal, Abu Dhabi. Truly, the copper detailing captures the rays of the sun that gives a crystal shimmering visual performance.
Jenny and I shared the driving experience. She was the first to drive the Ghost Series II. As she drove on, I took my time to experience the very luxurious interior furnishing. As I sat in the passenger’s seat next to her, I could feel the softness of the lamb’s wool floor mat beneath my feet as I took off my shoes. It was a great way to truly indulge my feet.
The design at the front comes with a lot of poise and verve. It was a great way to experience the luxurious interior furnishing of the Ghost Series II which comes with soft, supple leather and treasures.
After about ten minutes’ drive, I took over the wheels from Jenny. I was initially, hesitant to do more than a hundred kilometres per hour but after some prodding from Cox, our instructor, I stepped on the pedal doing 160 kilometres per hour without feeling it.
Truly, the Ghost Series II comes with no ordinary power. It was dramatic yet graceful on the road as I drove on in the hot Arabian sun. It comes alive on the road with its cutting-edge technology. And true to the words of Soso earlier that Saturday afternoon before the commencement of our drive, “Ghost is one of the most advanced cars ever built. It was launched in 2009. It has been the corner stone for us. It allowed us improved on ourselves in the past years as a result of the feedback we got from customers. We had to make some changes. It is a business car, the ultimate entrepreneur’s car. It is really something special. It is the most powerful Rolls-Royce car ever produced.”
To best enjoy the luxurious feel of the Ghost and its essence, it is better to drive it than to be driven. It is about its simplicity, its signature levels of luxury, its Ghost extended wheelbase forge a hushed path of serenity that reveals it is a no ordinary power car.
For me, Ghost is effortless on the road, its simplicity, and detailed interior give it that timeless elegance, purity and appeal. Driving the Ghost gave me that sense of being in control. I was particularly taken in by the comfort of the seat in the Ghost. The seats are carefully carved to provide comfort and keep one refreshed even after a two and a half hours journey through the desert.
Its dynamic interior especially the redesigned seats with thigh support is carefully created to enable owners be in a perfect position, regardless of their height or size, to have an effortless driving experience.
In addition, what I find fascinating about the Ghost Series II is the silent engine which makes it possible for me to hear the distinct note of the music playing. The soft gentle air oozing out of the AC vents, Ghost and R signature logos embossed on the clock and dashboard are some of the minute details I love about the car. It gives a sense of personalisation that is at the heart of a bespoke car.
Experiencing the Wraith
Getting into the Wraith clearly shows that it is an automobile designed to change boundaries. Undoubtedly, Wraith challenges perceptions as it offers one the most dynamic driving experience ever. It was my first time to truly experience a Rolls-Royce car.
Sitting behind the wheel shows that the Wraith is truly created to be bespoke. Designed in two forms, the first inspired by Film and the second inspired by Fashion.
“Wraith hosts the most powerful Rolls Royce engine ever,” says Brett Soso, regional director, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Limited, Middle East, Africa, Central Africa and South America., while telling the group about the car. “Wraith is an imperceptible force. To close with the words of Sir Henry Royce: “Take the best that exists and make it better.”
Wraith inspired by Film is about Rolls-Royce’s extended heritage in film. As it is the tradition, Rolls-Royce motor cars have taken leading roles in movies since the advent of filmmaking. It has in films like Goldfinger (1964), The Yellow Rolls-Royce (1964), The Thomas Crowne Affair (1968) and The Great Gatsby (1974) to name a few.
No doubt, the Wraith is a true hero car that hints subtly at the film features through a number of unique bespoke touches. For instance, the essence of the Wraith Inspired by Film is revealed in the silver screen through a unique two-tone Silver and Jubilee Silver paint scheme, whilst a solid-silver hand-cast Spirit of Ecstasy plays the femme fatale to the leading man, as he follows in her wake on an unexpected adventure every time he takes the wheel.
One of the unique features of the Wraith is that the coach doors open to reveal the hero’s interior life, which is more colourful than its exterior suggested. The Anthracite leather interior accented with Casden Tan exudes confidence and power like a modern super-hero’s costume, whilst its steely character is suggested by a pin sharp aluminium band shooting through the Maccassar Ebony open pore panelling.
According to Soso, Wraith is the most powerful Rolls-Royce ever made as its performance complements the drama of exterior styling as a shorter wheelbase, wider rear track and 624 bhp/465 kW derived from the twin turbo V12 and a 0-60mph of 4.4 seconds (0-100kph, 4.6 seconds) give expression to the car’s dynamic looks.
I was easily taking in by an exquisite and engaging interior. The black high grade leather with copper bullets on the dashboard suggests an intimacy between the car and the driver. It gives that sense of ownership and sense of belonging. It is an unspoken yet intimate feeling. “It is a first for Wraith,” Soso says before the commencement of our drive.
With Wraith Inspired by Film you can make a powerful statement of style and luxury. In addition to the good interior, what I find fascinating about the Wraith Inspired by Film is bespoke Starlight Headliner on the interior car roof. It gives the impression of a live movie theatre, a magical atmosphere or just admiring a real life starry sky at night. Also fascinating is the personalise headrests on which owner’s initials or a preferred motif can be engraved.
The beauty of the Wraith inspired by Fashion is in the attention to details like the bespoke tailors on London’s Bond Street. Wraith Inspired by Fashion blends the power, style and drama of Wraith with the allure of haute couture. A fresh take on classic monochrome styling, this captivating look is all about eye-catching contrasts, ultra-luxe fabrics and couture-inspired detailing.
Custom-made features of the interior evoke the elegance of high fashion. Drawing inspiration from the catwalk, fine tailoring, and materials typical to the fashion industry, the design tells of a mastered tailoring involving welting and the highly complex craft of seamless stitching. The interior comes with a choice of three accent colours that enables you to customise the headrests, steering wheel and part of the leather interior.
On the road, both the Wraith and Ghost Series II are strong, confident and drive smoothly. Their balance is remarkable. Turning the wheel comes with a smooth feel giving you the confidence that you are in control. The bespoke leather firmly stitched on the steering makes you have an unbelievable firm grip on either car.
Five star experience at Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara
As we near the Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara the beautiful view of the desert juxtaposed against a line of Rolls-Royce cars shows we are at the pinnacle of world’s super luxury brand. I drove through a line of road snaked in-between a large oasis of sand dunes. At a point, I was gripped by fear of skidding off a bend, but the power of the Rolls-Royce car would not be compromised even in such a situation.
Later that night, we were treated to an unspoilt Arabian night dinner in open tents at the resort. It was a great way to experience and savour the local cuisine dished in traditional clay pots under starry Arabian sky.
In the morning, I indulged myself in the 60-minutes Anantara signature. What a wonderful way to lose myself in a truly Arabian luxury? After this, I went on a short walk to take in the sheer beauty of the towering dunes.
We wrapped up the trip with a 45-minutes helicopter ride from Qasr Al Sarab to the city of Abu Dhabi. It was a perfect way to enjoy the scenic beauty of the desert. A large expanse of sun dunes lay below as we flew across the desert. The brownish sand blends perfectly with the mid-day sun rising across the desert below.