MOTORING: A dark, edgy lifestyle statement

Rolls-Royce Sandton recently launched the Rolls-Royce Black Badge in South Africa. This new series comes in Ghost and Wraith only, and what more fitting place to launch the cars than the newly revamped Kyalami race track

‘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. They are driven by a restless spirit. They play hard and they change the world. Technically and aesthetically Black Badge is the alter ego of Rolls-Royce, darker, more assertive, more confident and powerful, and more demanding. With Black Badge we have created the most commanding presence on the super-luxury landscape. It is a truly transformative moment for our great brand,’ enthuses Torsten Müller-Ötvös, CEO of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.

Today’s generation of young, self-empowered, self-confident rule-breakers are just as uncompromising and unapologetic in their choice of living and lifestyle as their predecessors. They follow the road less travelled, live the unconventional life, darkly obsessed by their own pursuits and accomplishments from which they derive a pure adrenaline rush.

The result is Black Badge.

 An alter ego for a new breed of customer

Rolls-Royce Black Badge speaks to the darker, more assertive, confident and demanding aesthetic of these customers. As a truly bespoke response to their desires, the interplay of brand and customer has had a transformative effect on the appearance and substance of Rolls-Royce Ghost and Wraith. The result is Ghost Black Badge and Wraith Black Badge.

The substantive transformation of an icon

The transformation begins with the ‘Flying Lady’ who changes not in design, posture or material, but in colour to represent the owner’s dark obsession. She mutates into a high-gloss black vamp, proudly scything through the night-time cityscape. The Double R badge on the prow, flanks and aft of every Black Badge motor car, inverted to become silver on black while chrome surfaces such as the front grille surround, boot lid finisher, lower air inlet finisher and exhaust pipes turn dark. The multiple layers of paint and lacquer that go into creating Black Badge Black are repeatedly hand polished – the most exacting painting and polishing process ever used for a solid paint colour.

The ‘Unlimited’ infinity logo is also embroidered on the Black Badge’s upholstery as black leather combines with vibrant colours of Tailored Purple in Ghost Black Badge and Cobalto Blue in Wraith Black Badge, delivering a more edgy feel to the cabin.

The final touch? The moody light cast from the black starlight headliner and reflected around the cabin from the polished fascia to create a darkly atmospheric ambiance.

In Ghost Black Badge it is important to ensure rear compartment passengers’ comfort by maintaining Rolls-Royce’s renowned ‘Magic Carpet Ride’. Rolls-Royce engineers used the flexibility of the 6,6-litre V12 engine to make Ghost Black Badge a little more menacing. Subtle engine output modifications see power increase by 40 bhp (30 kW) to 603 bhp (450 kW) and torque by 60 Nm (840 Nm) compared to the current Ghost, whilst upgrades to the eight-speed automatic transmission give Ghost Black Badge an added sense of urgency in how it delivers its power.

Wraith Black Badge is a completely different proposition. Already the most powerful Rolls-Royce in the world at 623 bhp (465 kW), Wraith has always been the most driver-focused car in Rolls-Royce’s model range. However, understanding how driven this new breed of customer is and their wish to push the boundaries of life, Rolls-Royce’s engineering team worked painstakingly to give this most phenomenal fastback coupé a uniquely discernible extra edge.

Again, upgrades to the eight-speed automatic transmission inject a level of added urgency in how Wraith Black Badge delivers its power.

During deceleration or braking, the transmission downshifts a few rpm sooner, providing the extra security of added engine braking and thereby delivering a more spirited drive.

The result is a tauter and slightly more physical driving-focus with significantly increased handling capability, a high degree of steering feedback, and more neutral cornering characteristics. With its speed-dependent steering adjustment, the car delivers a greater sense of security, even at high speeds, as the weight of the steering adjusts to the speed of the car.

Always conscious of the safety of its owners and other users of the road, Rolls-Royce has also upgraded the brakes of both Black Badge models, increasing the diameter of the front brake discs by one inch for a swifter and more direct brake pedal response. As a final safety enhancement, Wraith Black Badge has been equipped with automatic LED headlights ensuring optimum night vision while scything through the dark.

Engine – Wraith Black Badge 6,5 l  V12 Cylinder

Power – 465 kW

Torque – 870 Nm

0–100 km/H – 4,5 Seconds

Price – POA

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