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Challenging Tesla: The Last Non-Electric Rolls-Royce

The interior showcases two pieces speaking to the sheer luxury of a Rolls-Royce: 1. The doors contain the biggest single piece of wood in any car. The grain is tilted 55 degrees forward to match ... something. It's an amazing piece of woodwork. 2. The ceiling in my test car had the optional "sky" headliner. It's a leather roof, but with 1,340 (yes, that's not a typo) small fiber-optic edges providing light, representing the stars. Basically, you're looking at a fake sky. This can also be customized to match the stars the way they looked on any given day in history. All of this is hand-made, with each fiber-optic light angled just the right way.

So how does it drive?

The engine is a 6.6 liter V12 with twin turbos, yielding 624 horses and almost as much torque. Obviously, the power here is fantastic as far as an internal combustion engine is concerned.

However, once you have driven an electric car, any regular gasoline car will feel like an ancient tractor in comparison. I just can't get over the fact that even a basic $35,000 Chevrolet Volt -- let alone a Tesla Model S -- easily beats the Rolls-Royce in the smoothness department.

When you floor the accelerator in the Rolls, you wait almost a second, then the engine roars and the transmission downshifts. This is just so inferior to an electric car, which has no delay and a perfectly linear and silent acceleration after that.

The infotainment and related gadgetry is a mixed bag. The Wraith has the best heads-up display I have seen, but then it's mostly downhill from there. The menu system for picking audio sources and related functionality is as big of a mess as in any Mercedes, BMW, Ford (F), etc. One really wonders who comes up with this stuff.

Coming from a Tesla Model S, it's clear that Tesla (TSLA) is 30 years ahead of the industry in terms of in-car infotainment. Whether Rolls-Royce or Mercedes, these people had better wake up and shape up quickly, because they are so far behind.

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