Rolls-Royce Wraith using a GPS-based system to change gears

Article by Christian Andrei, on March 22, 2013

A GPS-based system on the upcoming Rolls-Royce Wraith can help in shifting its ZF eight-speed automatic transmission based on satellite data that can detect changes in road conditions. This fastback is expected to make its debut in the last quarter of 2013. This system can distinguish the altitude, grade and road curves for a number of miles in front. CEO Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes said that the gearshift patterns are controlled to make sure that the car is in the right gear and maintains power.

In addition, data from the navigation system can be used to optimize the gear changes by forecasting the next move of the driver. Mueller-Oetvoes said that for instance, the car realizes that the car will have to shift down because it will exit the autobahn in 100 meters.

A Rolls-Royce engineer who was working for BMW's Formula One team had developed the satellite-aided shifting technology. Mueller-Oetvoes said that Rolls-Royce is the first to get the system but it may appear in future BMW vehicles.

The 6.6-liter V-12 engine of the Wraith is capable of delivering 624 hp, about 61hp higher than the output offered by Rolls' Ghost sedan. The Wraith is built on the same platform that was used on the Ghost sedan. But with its length of 5268mm (207.4 inches), it is shorter than the Ghost by 127mm. The wheelbase, which measures 3111.5mm, is shorter by 183mm.

He also said that the U.S. will be the Wraith's biggest market but he didn’t make any predictions about sales. Typically, the U.S. makes up 30% of the brand’s global sales. In fact, it was the biggest market for Rolls-Royce last year. Rolls-Royce had sold 3,575 units last year.

Of this figure, Ghosts made up around 3,000 units while the rest were range-topping Phantom sedans. He estimates that the Wraith will be the brand's No. 2 highest seller. Rolls-Royce said that in Europe, the Wraith will have a price tag of 245,000 euros ($319,000) and will start deliveries in the last quarter of this year. This car will go on sale in the U.S. this November.

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