GENEVA – Rolls-Royce unveils its most powerful and dynamically styled model ever, featuring a modern character meant to draw a new generation of buyers to the brand.

The Rolls-Royce Wraith, making its world debut at the auto show here, combines a progressive, almost revolutionary, fastback design with a powerful 624-hp V-12 to better position the brand against its more performance-built and driver-oriented rival Bentley.

The new flagship can reach 60 mph (97 km/h) in just 4.4 second despite its considerable mass, using the combination of its V-12 and an 8-speed ZF transmission. That compares with 4.7 seconds for the smaller Rolls-Royce Ghost.

A bold design statement, its strong lines and taut body panels are combined with dramatically raked rear glass, marking a major departure for the brand. The dynamic design is further accented by the Wraith’s deeply recessed grille, wide rear track and 2-tone paint.

Coach doors open to reveal a sumptuous interior, complete with the softest Phantom-grade leathers and expanses of wood, called Canadel Panelling.

Named after the famous cove in the South of France where Sir Henry Royce and his design and engineering teams spent their winters, this contemporary and tactile finish sweeps through the interior, cosseting four occupants in a space bathed in light and warmth.

The interior ambiance is complemented by the car’s Starlight Headliner, a bespoke feature available beyond Phantom models for the first time. It features 1,340 fiber-optic lights hand-woven into the lining to give the impression of a starry night sky.

The Wraith marks the debut of Satellite Aided Transmission technology that uses navigation data to monitor what’s ahead, then selects the proper gear based on how the car is being driven. Corners, motorway junctions and roundabouts all are anticipated in advance, meaning the Wraith constantly is poised to deliver on its promise of performance.

“The BMW Group is reconfirming its full commitment to the future of Rolls-Royce,” says Rolls-Royce Chairman Harald Krüger, calling the Wraith “a magnificent addition to the product range.”

In Europe, the Wraith will be priced at about €245,000 ($319,000). First deliveries will be made to customers in fourth-quarter 2013.