Did you ever wonder just what it feels like to drive a Rolls Royce ?
Earlier this year I fulfilled a long held dream by doing just that. To launch the many developments and refinements in the 1994 models Rolls Royce toured several of the cars around the country and I was able to drive both a Rolls Royce Silver Spur 111 and a Bentley Brooklands in one spectacular day.
Just sitting behind that most famous mascot of all, the Rolls Royce Silver Wraith, is a very special experience. All of the normal standards by which one judges cars have to be discarded for a Rolls Royce, they are quite incomparable, setting their own standards of refinement which make the usual superlatives redundant, the cars still being handcrafted by small teams of dedicated car makers for whom only the highest quality is good enough.
Powered by a further incarnation of the massive 6.75 litre V8 engines, the latest developments reflect an investment of many millions in virtually redesigning the engine and it's electronic management system to produce 20% more power - as usual described as adequate - yet with an 18% reduction in fuel consumption, massively powerful yet barely audible, a cathedral-like hush broken only by the occasional creak of a leather seat as one moves position.
The advances in the engine department are matched by new refinements to the super smooth 4 speed automatic gearboxes which now have the ability to learn your driving style and adjust the up changes accordingly.
Every conceivable luxury can be found in the voluminous interior, acres of finest quality hide and real wood discreetly hiding the latest features such as the massive new airbags.
With worldwide sales of 1300 each year, rising steadily, the company is now moving back into profitability after the lean 80's and, as part of the re-re-organisation, the Bentley and Rolls Royce marques have been separated still further, away from the dark, badge engineering, days of the '60s and '70s.
Rolls Royce remains a perfect choice for the most fastidious traditional owner who requires the best while the Bentley offers equal standards blended with the fine handling and sporting abilities for the more sporting owner, abilities that hark back to the great Bentley heritage of years gone by when the cars beat the world's best in all forms of motor sport.
These are cars which defy all of the normal criteria and for the coming year are better than ever, cars that leave one gasping at their abilities, for Rolls Royce and Bentley simply go beyond any other car to be the best car money can buy, an entree into a barely glimpsed other world.