Rolls-Royce gets sinister with new Black Badge cars

“Black Badge is an attitude to life, an aspect of the Rolls-Royce brand that appeals to those people who are elusive and defiant, the risk takers and disruptors who break the rules and laugh in the face of convention. Black Badge is the alter ego of Rolls-Royce, darker, more assertive, more confident and powerful.”

That’s some fine PR-speak by Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Muller-Otvos. What it translates (very roughly) to is that the new Black Badge models are more powerful, sharper to drive and more sinister than any Roller has even been before. Think of it as the Rolls-Royce equivalent to the Bentley Speed models.

Both the Ghost and Wraith have been given the Black Badge treatment, which starts with much high gloss dark metal exterior trim. Including the Flying Lady mascot, who has apparently become a “vamp.”

The cars pictured here are coated in “the deepest, darkest and most intense black ever seen on a production car surface.” If that’s a bit too much like staring into the void, other colours are available. There’s only one choice of wheel though, made from carbon composite and a forged aluminium hub, attached to the rim with titanium fasteners.

There’s yet more carbon composite inside – in place of veneers – which is interwoven with threads of aircraft-grade aluminium, plus more dark metal trim, a new clock design and a black starlight headliner. Fortunately, you don’t have to have the rather sudden upholstery seen here (blue for the Wraith, purple for the Ghost and both much brighter in real life).

That’s ‘darker, more assertive, more confident’ taken care of, but what about ‘powerful’. Well, the Ghost and Wraith weren’t exactly lacking in grunt to begin with, but Rolls has seen fit to squeeze a few more ponies from the cars’ 6.6-litre, twin-turbo V12 engines. The Ghost musters an extra 40bhp and 44lb/ft of torque for a total of 603bhp and 620lb/ft; the Wraith maintains its 623bhp but gets a 70lb/ft boost up to 642lb/ft.

They also get a recalibrated eight-speed automatic gearbox, better throttle response, bigger brakes and tighter air suspension.

Given that the Rolls-Royce Black Badge cars are aimed at people who push “every boundary to realise their personal vision,” the list price is pretty much irrelevant – they will all leave the factory very heavily optioned. Still, you’ve got to start somewhere, and that will probably be around the £250,000 mark.

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By Only Motors

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