We’ll say it. Rolls-Royce struck gold with its Black Badge range

Rolls-Royce never fails to impress. That much is clear after the British luxury brand released another special edition model at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, adding to the seemingly hundreds of SE models unveiled to the public this year. This one is different, though. It’s a special edition Rolls-Royce Dawn that’s wearing the Black Badge name. This one, ladies and gentlemen, is the Rolls-Royce Dawn Black Badge.

For those who are unfamiliar with the name, Black Badge is what Rolls-Royce describes as a “permanent Bespoke family of motor cars” under the Rolls-Royce brand. It’s essentially made up Rolls-Royce models that have been transformed into better representations of a specific model’s full potential. The line was introduced at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show when the British automaker brought with it the Ghost Black Badge and the Wraith Black Badge. Now it’s the Dawn’s turn to get the same treatment, and just like the two models that came before it, this one is peppered with extra features, added amenities, and an all-around sense of bespoke engineering that has come to define Rolls-Royce in recent years. The availability of the Dawn Black Badge is unique in its own way too since Rolls-Royce isn’t planning to roll out a specific number of models wearing the name. That’s because if anybody wants one, he or she will have to ask Rolls-Royce to build one for them.

Continue after the jump to read more about the Rolls-Royce Dawn Black Badge

What makes the Rolls Royce Dawn Black Badge special

2017 Rolls Royce Dawn Black Badge Exterior High Resolution Wallpaper quality
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2017 Rolls Royce Dawn Black Badge Exterior High Resolution Wallpaper quality
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The color is a “deeply intense shade of black” that was accomplished by putting in multiple layers of paint and lacquer.

There’s so many points to cover, so we’ll go in order. Let’s start with what Rolls-Royce did to the exterior of the Dawn Black Badge. The first thing to remember here is that in keeping with this juiced up, bespoke theme the company started with the Ghost Black Badge and the Wraith Black Badge, no stone was left unturned in giving the Dawn Black Badge the same kind of attention. Take, for example, the black paint finish on the convertible. Apparently, this isn’t just typical black paint. The color, as Rolls describes it, is a “deeply intense shade of black” that was accomplished by putting in multiple layers of paint and lacquer, all of which were applied fastidiously before getting hand-polished. The automaker even describes the process as “the most exhaustive painting and polishing process ever used for a solid paint color.” It’s hard to notice in photos because, in the end, black is black whichever way you look at it. But hey, it’s the effort that counts, right?

2017 Rolls Royce Dawn Black Badge Exterior High Resolution
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2017 Rolls Royce Dawn Black Badge Exterior High Resolution
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Move past the laborious painting process and the rest of the exterior upgrades pop up. Over in the roof, the canvas that was used also featured a similar shadowy black shade. The convertible’s rear deck also gets in on the intense black treatment and not surprisingly, so do the front grille, the exhaust, trunk trim, and the Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament, all of which were finished in dark chrome highlights. A particularly interesting easter egg in this creation is the “Double R” logo. Turns out, Rolls-Royce inverted the colors on the logo specifically for the Dawn Black Badge in order to highlight the alter-ego personality of the Black Badge line.

How does it compare to the Rolls-Royce Ghost Black Badge and the Rolls-Royce Wraith Black Badge?

2017 Rolls Royce Dawn Black Badge Exterior High Resolution Wallpaper quality
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Rolls Royce Wraith Black Badge
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Rolls-Royce Ghost Black Badge Rolls-Royce Wraith Black Badge

Apart from being three distinct models, there really isn’t that much of a difference between the Dawn Black Badge and the two other Black Badge models that came before it. All three models come with the same deep and intense black paint finish. Not at all surprising considering that the name attached to the three models does have “Black” in it. Granted, Rolls-Royce didn’t say what kind of wheels it fitted into the Dawn Black Badge, but both the Ghost and Wraith versions carried what the company described as “composite carbon fiber, lightweight alloy wheels that are exclusive only to the Wraith and Ghost Black Badge Editions.” According to Rolls, creating those wheels, which features 22 layers of carbon fiber and a 3D forged, aircraft-grade aluminum center hub, took four years to complete.

2017 Rolls Royce Dawn Black Badge Interior High Resolution
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2017 Rolls Royce Dawn Black Badge Interior High Resolution
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2017 Rolls Royce Dawn Black Badge Interior High Resolution
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Step inside the interior of the Dawn Black Badge and prepare yourselves to drown in excess black leather

Step inside the interior of the Dawn Black Badge and prepare yourselves to drown in excess black leather. It’s literally everywhere in the cabin, so any break in the monochromatic treatment is a welcome addition. Fortunately, Rolls-Royce knows that itself so it decided to add bright Mandarin orange highlights on various sections of the interior to bring some much-needed jolt of personality into the proceedings. Another exclusive addition to the Dawn Black Badge is the dark finish on the air events, something Rolls-Royce was able to accomplish through a coating method called Physical Vapour Deposition. I’m not pretending to know what that means, but the automaker says it helps create a dark finish that will “never discolor or tarnish,” presumably ensuring that at least one design element of the Dawn Black Badge will remain intact for a long time. Last but certainly not least is the presence of the infinity logo that comes embroidered into the convertible’s rear waterfall. The embroidered image of the logo is a nod towards Sir Malcolm Campbell, one of the most distinguished early customers of the British automaker who also happens to have invented the Infinity logo.

As provocative as the exterior and interior of the Rolls-Royce Dawn are, one of the real highlights of the Dawn Black Badge is its 6.6-liter bi-turbo V-12 engine. The engine itself isn’t the main selling point here, but rather the tweaks and upgrades that Rolls-Royce made to squeeze out more power out of the engine. Imagine that. All told, the Dawn Black Badge is capable of producing 593 horsepower and 620 pound-feet of torque. Those are impressive numbers but what few people realize is that the numbers are actually much higher than they are compared to the standard Dawn. All told, the Black Badge version of the Rolls convertible has 30 more ponies and 45 pound-feet of torque more than its standard counterpart. Sadly, the increased power does not play itself out in the car’s performance times, as well. The Dawn Black Badge’s acceleration to 62 mph still sits at 4.9 seconds while top speed remains electronically limited to just 155 mph.

2017 Rolls Royce Dawn Black Badge Exterior High Resolution
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Regardless of how it performs, the fact that it has more power on tap means that there’s more power to squeeze around. That kind of strategy was also on full display when the automaker unveiled the Ghost and Wraith Dark Badge models. Both models also experienced gains in power, but neither amounted to increased performance times. For a quick look at how much power all three Black Badge models received, check out the table below.

Model Power (standard) Power (Black Badge) Torque (standard) Torque (Black Badge) 0 To 60 MPH Time Top Speed
Rolls-Royce Dawn Black Badge 563 horsepower 575 pound-feet 593 horsepower 620 pound-feet 4.9 seconds 155 mph (electronically limited)
Rolls-Royce Wraith Black Badge 623 horsepower 590 pound-feet 623 horsepower 641 pound-feet 4.4 seconds 186 mph (electronically limited)
Rolls-Royce Ghost Black Badge 563 horsepower 575 pound-feet 603 horsepower 619 pound-feet 4.7 seconds 186 mph electronically limit)

I’m not a big fan of the Rolls-Royce Dawn Black Badge. What now?

As ridiculous as it sounds, I don’t see the point of all this black madness, power upgrades notwithstanding. The good news is that, like I said in the start, Rolls-Royce has rolled out a lot of special edition models in the past few years. Two that come to mind provide good alternatives in the event you’re not sold on the Black Badge.

One of them just happens to be the complete opposite of it. It’s called the Rolls-Royce Dawn “Inspired by Fashion” and as you can plainly see, it’s all dressed up in white, as in an Andalucian White body finish in the exterior and Arctic White leather in the interior. The dashboard also received a Piano White finish, complete with aluminum particles and a bespoke clock with a silver on silver effect to it. The result is staggering, maybe even more so than the Dawn Black Badge. The only thing that breaks from all the whiteness of the Dawn Inspired by Fashion Special Edition is the car’s soft, fabric roof, which was offered with a choice of three colors, specifically Mugello Red, Cobalto Blue, and Mandarin.

Now if you want your Rolls-Royce Dawn with a little bit more color to it, the Dawn Porto Cervo. It’s dressed up in an Emerald Green paint finish and features numerous exclusive styling cues to the beautiful seaside city of Porto Cervo, Italy from which it takes its name from. It’s arguably one of the most beautiful special edition models I’ve seen in a long time, and the nautical theme surrounding it only adds to its wondrous appeal as a true Rolls-Royce masterpiece.

2017 Rolls Royce Dawn Inspired by Fashion Edition
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2016 Rolls-Royce Bespoke Porto Cervo Dawn Exterior High Resolution
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Rolls-Royce Dawn “Inspired by Fashion” Line Rolls-Royce Dawn Bespoke Porto Cervo

Press release

At the Geneva Motor Show in March 2016, Rolls-Royce presented a truly transformative moment on the luxury landscape – the introduction of a permanent Bespoke family of motor cars called Black Badge, designed in response to the differing lifestyle requirements of a younger, more dynamic patron of luxury.

Since its introduction, Black Badge has done much to attract a new generation of Rolls-Royce customers to the marque. As a result of overwhelmingly positive customer demand for Ghost Black Badge and Wraith Black Badge, the time is now right to add a new chapter to the Black Badge story.

The 2017 Goodwood Festival of Speed will celebrate machines so beyond measurable limitations, they have changed the landscape in which they operate – an entirely fitting stage on which the third chapter in this truly transformative story can unfurl – the global debut of Dawn Black Badge, the most uncompromising expression of open-top luxury in the world.

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The Black Badge story
Since it was launched in 2016, Black Badge has become the most commanding presence on the super-luxury landscape. Its authentic Bespoke engineering and design approach has answered the demands of those customers who have said “Build us a Rolls-Royce like no other”.

Black Badge is Rolls-Royce’s response to a small and select group of clients who have asked the marque for motor cars with specific, focused characteristics that reflect their different take on life, success and the luxury they consume. These people choose to define themselves differently from their wider social group; a subset within a subset.

For over a century such individuals, possessed of a dark and restless spirit, have been drawn to Rolls-Royce’s unique allure. Luminaries including Sir Malcolm Campbell, Howard Hughes and Muhammed Ali have all shared the marque’s founding philosophy; an uncompromising refusal to accept the status quo and a constant yearn to innovate, create and advance.

2017 Rolls Royce Dawn Black Badge Exterior High Resolution Wallpaper quality
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Their restless spirit was also shared by the marque’s co-founder; himself one of the great disrupters of his day. The Honourable C.S. Rolls was a man in a hurry. Not satisfied with fundamentally altering the road-car landscape, he sought more and pursued his appetite for advancement and adventure in the air; a passion that would ultimately lead to his untimely demise aged just 33.

It is this indomitable spirit that, since the launch of Black Badge, has captivated so many of today’s young owners, who are drawn to Rolls-Royce in the knowledge that no other luxury house is possessed of the vision and flexibility to meet their demands both in design and engineering terms. Indeed, Black Badge serves to amplify the inherent characteristics that have driven so many new, younger patrons of luxury to the marque.

In conceiving Black Badge versions of Wraith, Ghost and now Dawn, the marque’s Bespoke designers and engineers drew upon their instinctive understanding of the unique lives of these extraordinary men and women to create both design and engineering treatments that perfectly amplify the inherent values of these great Rolls-Royces.

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Dawn Black Badge
Created to satisfy overwhelming demand from a new breed of Rolls-Royce patrons, Dawn Black Badge stands as the most luxurious, social and sensual space from which to take in the night air. This most glamorous, uncompromising expression of open-top luxury is given a new and darker sensual dimension through its suite of Black Badge engineering and design treatments.

The Dawn Black Badge at the Festival of Speed is presented in a deeply intense shade of black. Multiple layers of paint and lacquer have been fastidiously applied and hand-polished in a process that amounts to the most exhaustive painting and polishing process ever used for a solid paint colour. The result clothes Dawn’s sensuous lines in the deepest, darkest and most intense black to ever grace a production car surface. The roof, which opens in a ‘Silent Ballet’ to allow in the sounds of the night, is also only available in black canvas, whilst the rear deck is finished in black leather.

In creating Black Badge, Rolls-Royce’s Bespoke designers have sought to create true signifiers of this more assertive alter-ego for the marque. Dawn gets this same treatment.

The Spirit of Ecstasy – itself a mascot that has taken many different forms throughout the marque’s history – transforms into a high-gloss vamp, finished in a perfectly executed black chrome. This transformation to a darker aesthetic extends to certain chrome surfaces including the front grille surround, boot lid finisher, exhaust pipes and air inlet finisher. The effect is an authentic transformation that speaks of a bolder, more confident sensibility. Finally, the ‘Double R’ signifiers on the Rolls-Royce badges are inverted in colour, confirming the creation of a true alter-ego of the marque.

2017 Rolls Royce Dawn Black Badge Interior High Resolution Wallpaper quality
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This bold, edgy design ethos extends beautifully into the interior – an exquisitely appointed staging point for patrons who seek to discover the night’s elements with the roof down.

Evoking Sir Henry Royce’s founding philosophy to ‘design what does not exist’ – a collaboration between the marque’s design and engineering departments has seen the creation of a new luxury material. Inspired by Rolls-Royce’s aviation heritage and echoing advanced production techniques for stealth aircraft, a beautiful and highly innovative new treatment for the car’s surfaces has been conceived.

Its construction displays every hallmark of Rolls-Royce’s fastidious attention to detail. Threads of aircraft grade aluminium, a delicate 0.014m in diameter, are woven together and then bonded in carbon fibre. Surfaces are then finished with six coats of lacquer before being left to cure for 72 hours and hand-polished to Rolls-Royce’s hallmark mirror finish. The result is a highly contemporary finish, perfectly attuned to the darker more menacing aesthetic today’s patrons of luxury demand.

This exquisite expression of noir informs every conceivable detail. For example, innovative production techniques such as Physical Vapour Deposition, a highly technical surfacing method, perfectly darkens the air-vents throughout the interior in a manner that will never discolour or tarnish.

Reflecting the marque’s Bespoke philosophy, Dawn Black Badge also plays host to a new interior palette break-up. Higher levels of exquisite Black leather are accented boldly with Mandarin highlights, including a strip of orange highlight which encircles the cabin at hip-height, evocative of the sunset before the passengers are immersed in darkness.

A final touch, again, in a nod to one of Rolls-Royce’s great pioneer patrons, Sir Malcolm Campbell, finishes the rear interior space. His famous ‘Infinity’ rating logo beautifully embroidered into the car’s rear waterfall, gives a subtle nod to a man very much possessed of the restless spirit that so defines the Black Badge attitude.

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Truly Bespoke Engineering
Like its stablemates Ghost and Wraith, the distilled essence of Dawn is amplified through the engineering that underpins the Black Badge philosophy. In the case of Dawn, the engineering substance that leads to more spirited driving is accentuated by the creation of an entirely new exhaust system, that when deployed by the press of the ‘low’ button, celebrates Rolls-Royce’s hallmark V12 engine with a menacing bass baritone, announcing its arrival with authority rather than hysteria.

The exhaust tone adds an aural dimension to a suite of engineering enhancements. Indeed, Black Badge stands as a truly Bespoke collaboration between design and engineering, answering the demands of a new breed of patron of luxury who seeks a more spirited, involving driving experience which retains the peerless quality of ride that has driven Dawn’s success. To achieve this, the engineers have exploited the flexibility of Dawn’s magnificent 6.6 litre twin-turbo V12 to generate an extra 30bhp over the car’s already ample 563bhp, bringing the total to 593bhp. That hallmark sense of one infinite gear is also given bolder expression with the addition of a further 20NM of torque available from 1,500rpm, bringing the total to 840NM.

Fundamental changes to the transmission and throttle strategy give Dawn an enhanced feeling of urgency without diminishing its position as the world’s most luxurious open-top tourer. Indeed, the drive-train, ZF 8-speed gear box and steering-rack are so intuitive that they work together to create a more spirited drive depending on throttle and steering input. The result is a perfectly stately Rolls-Royce touring experience at low speeds and a highly engaging drive when the driver seeks to ‘push on’. Fundamental changes to suspension settings and components also ensure an appropriate balance between Rolls-Royce comfort and driver focus, felt in flatter cornering at high speeds.

The increased urgency of Dawn Black Badge has led to the development of new brakes with an increase in diameter of one inch. During deceleration, a fundamental remapping of the transmission strategy leads to downshifts a few rpm sooner under braking, offering engine braking when driving in a more spirited manner.

The steering-rack has also been quickened and engineered for more feedback. Speed-dependent adjustments also embolden Black Badge drivers as they enjoy an added sense of security and feel derived from increased steering weight at high speeds.

Dawn Black Badge is now available to commission.

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