A very old-school Rolls-Royce coupe is setting new standards today for the historic British brand.
The all-new Wraith is the most powerful and dynamic car in the company's history, with 465 kiloWatts and a 0-100km/h sprint time of 4.6 seconds, and it also picks up everything from a great looking two-door body to a satellite-linked system that pre-selects the right gear for safe cornering.
It is priced from 245,000 Euros in Europe with deliveries in the second half of the year, but that price is likely to blow out to more than $700,000 in Australia in 2014 judging by the $645,000 sticker for the Ghost model that is used as the base for the Wraith.
The Wraith has genuine movie-star looks - most likely in the next Batman flick - and plenty of new-age technology, but Rolls-Royce is clear on its clients. And it's not being remotely politically correct.
"Today we launch the ultimate gentlemen's gran turismo," says Torsten Muller-Otvos, chief executive of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. "Wraith promises the sense of adventure and speed that drove our founding forefather." So, not even the slightest nod to the potential for female sales.
But the Wraith - a name plucked from the history books for a 21st century comeback - is clearly aimed at the world's ultra-wealthy car buyers, who might be shopping it against a new Bentley, or a new helicopter or the sort of holiday that would be a ridiculous dream in suburban Australia. And Rolls-Royce believes almost all of them will be men.
Plenty of women drive Phantoms, and there will be females who crave a Wraith, but it's a very masculine car. That includes the chunky body and a cabin that's predictably slapped with upscale wood and leather. But the real focus is on performance, with 800 Newton-metres of torque on tap, sporty-ish suspension settings and an eight-speed automatic.
Rolls-Royce clearly believes it can compete against Bentley's latest super-quick coupes, but it says it has no sacrificed any luxury. "Wraith is no GT bruiser. Agility improvements have been achieved with absolutely no compromise to the sensation of riding on a bed of air," says Muller-Otvos.
"A more polished, effortless driving experience and even better response brings a new, more dynamic dimension to the famous Rolls-Royce trait, waftability."
Away from the engine room, equipment levels in the Wraith are predictably sumptuous and - thanks to tapping German technology from its BMW owners - Rolls-Royce has added everything from a heads-up instrument display to adaptive headlights and far more user-friendly connectivity.
There is a final signature item common to the Phantom Coupe and convertible, the suicide front doors that Rolls-Royce describes - in another old-school nod - as coach doors, a term that comes from the days when horses and not horsepower ruled the road.