Rolls-Royce Spectre pictured testing in the sunshine on latest leg of proving programme
Luxury brand’s EV moves to Cote D’Azur for latest stage of testing ahead of 2023 launch
The two-door grand tourer is the first all-electric car in the marque’s history and is currently undergoing what its engineers describe as the most rigorous testing regime in the brand’s history - a 2.5-million kilometre (1.5-million mile) programme of testing in a variety of environments around the globe.
After completing hundreds of thousands of miles of winter testing in the hostile near-Arctic environment around Arjeplog, Sweden, the luxury electric coupe has moved closer to its natural habitat, with 388,000 miles of driving on test tracks and public roads in Provence, in the south of France.
The two-phase testing has seen the electric grand tourer covering ground around the Côte d’Azur, taking on many of the twisting coastal roads and sweeping autoroutes on which the production model is expected to find itself.
Alongside the on-road testing the Spectre has been undergoing rigorous testing at BMW’s Autodrome de Miramas proving ground. The former grand prix circuit is now a 1,200-acre state-of-the-art testing facility designed to help engineers tune every facet of the Spectre’s character using everything from tight handling circuits to its banked high-speed bowl used to test long-distance high-speed performance.
The testing, which will replicate 400 years of use for the average Rolls-Royce is intended to make sure the marque’s first EV - dubbed the most important car in its history - lives up to its reputation for creating the ultimate luxury vehicle.
Among the key focuses for engineers has been the car’s suspension. Using the Spectre’s new electronic capabilities and updated hardware, new suspension technology has been developed to ensure the Spectre maintains the brand’s famous “magic carpet” ride. Using camera and satellite navigation data, the system is able to decouple anti-roll bars on straights to smooth out poor surfaces then re-engage them in advance of corners to keep the car stable.
The Spectre is based on the same all-aluminium platform as the Phantom, Ghost and Cullinan but is the brand’s most rigid model yet and features a massively upgraded and decentralised electronic “brain” which will control every element and function of the car.
While powertrain details remain under wraps, Rolls-Royce has revealed more details about the car’s design, including the use of the largest “deep draw” body panels in Rolls-Royce history. Each single side panel, which runs from ahead of the A pillar to behind the tail lights, is almost four metre long and each of the two doors is more than 1.5 metres.
Torsten Müller-Ötvös, CEO of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, commented: “It is no exaggeration to state that Spectre is the most anticipated Rolls-Royce ever. Free from the restrictions connected to the internal combustion engine, our battery-electric vehicle will offer the purest expression of the Rolls-Royce experience in the marque’s 118-year history.
“This latest testing phase proves a suite of advanced technologies that underpin a symbolic shift for Rolls-Royce as it progresses towards a bright, bold, all-electric future. This will secure the ongoing relevance of our brand for generations to come.”