There's a chilling moment in Robbie Williams's official biography, Feel, when the writer, Chris Heath, asks the pop star's father about his son's success, and Williams Snr admits to sometimes being star struck. It's a startling admission but gets to the dark truth about celebrity. We all think we'd be immune to its power, but when we get into its orbit, it is, like Tolkien's fictional ring, difficult to resist. And the same is true of Rolls-Royces.
I went to collect the Wraith from the Rolls-Royce factory in Goodwood in sceptical mood. And managed to remain largely unimpressed throughout the tour, as I was told, among other things, that every car is polished for seven hours by four people before it leaves the factory and that the leather for the interiors comes from a special herd of cows that is kept at high altitude in Austria to minimise the risk of mosquito bites that might tarnish the leather. But then I got behind the wheel, drove around with some friends, and lost my frigging mind.
The fact that my previous test drive for MT, the Dacia Logan, was the worst car I have ever driven, may have been a factor. But people around me fell for it even harder. A friend who hates cars (and life) so much that she owns a Citroen Picasso C4 asked to be taken to the shops in it. A driver of a bigger and more expensive Rolls-Royce Drophead coupe clocked it, and reversed half-way down a London street to ask me about it. Kids in Birmingham whooped and asked me to rev the engine at the lights, not realising that one does not rev Rollers.
Even the negative reactions were compliments really. Someone told me that the back was too reminiscent of recent Bentleys. Which is like criticising a portrait because it reminds you too much of Lucian Freud's work. A relative spotted that some of the features, such as the head-up display, the boot lock and the sat nav, were the same as in his BMW. That is no bad thing, given these BMW features are in themselves of Rolls-Royce quality.
Then there were those who argued the Wraith fails in its ultimate mission to be more of a driver's car than other Rollers. Which is true. You can't really hear the engine. You waft rather than proceed. But it wouldn't be a Rolls-Royce if it didn't detach you from the road, and from reality, in this way.
Engine 6.6 litre V12, twin-turbo, petrol
Transmission eight-speed automatic
Fuel consumption 20.2 mpg (combined cycle)
CO2 emissions 327 g/km
Power 624bhp @ 5,600 rpm
Torque 590 lb/ft @ 1,500-5,500 rpm
0-62 mph 4.6 seconds
Top speed 155 mph