Rolls Royce Ghost Black Badge
Lord Vader, your Rolls-Royce is ready!by Ciprian Florea, on LISTEN 10:06
Rolls-Royce’s recently established Bespoke division has come up with a bunch of exciting vehicles over the last couple of years, taking luxury to a level very few companies can match. Their options list is impressive, exterior and upholstery color combinations are essentially unlimited, while the finest leathers and most expensive veneers are usually combined with innovative materials and fancy accessories. When it comes to luxury, Bespoke is hard to beat. And, the brand-new Ghost Black Badge edition is here to prove just that.
Unveiled at the 2016 Geneva International Motor Show alongside the Wraith Black Badge, the Ghost Black Badge is described as a vehicle that speaks to "young, self-made people that make a bold and edgy lifestyle statement about their lives." It’s a somewhat new approach for Rolls-Royce, which used the Black Badge edition to ditch the Ghost’s glossy image in favor of a darker, more assertive appearance. Forget about massive amounts of chrome and the usual chutzpah, the Ghost Black Badge is as black as they get and features more innovative materials than any of its predecessor.
What’s more, this is the very first Bespoke-made Ghost to get a power boost. After years of making custom sedan with standard engines under the hood, Rolls-Royce finally meddled with the massive 6.6-liter V-12 to give us a Ghost that can give the Bentley Flying Spur W12 a run for its money on the performance front. Keep reading to learn more about that.
Continue reading to learn more about the Rolls Royce Ghost Black Badge.
The first thing that catches the eye when looking at the Ghost Black Badge is the deep and intense black paint. Far from ordinary, this black finish was created using multiple layers of paint and lacquer that were repeatedly hand polished. But, by far, the most impressive feature of this car is the high-gloss black front grille and "Flying Lady" emblem atop the hood. Rolls-Royces are typically equipped with tons of chrome and this is a rather surprising change. A good one if I may add, as it gives the massive limousine a darker and more assertive appearance. The same high-gloss black was used on the window trim, door handles, exhaust pipes, and basically any details that are usually finished in chrome.
The only exterior components that still shine are the wheels.
The only exterior components that still shine are the wheels. These are also new and unique to the Black Badge by both design and construction, being developed over four years. They are made from carbon fiber and lightweight alloy and feature 22 layers of carbon laid in three axes and folded back on themselves at the outer edges. This gives them 44 layers of strength with further sturdiness added by the the 3D forged, aircraft-grade, aluminum hub which is bonded to the rim using aerospace-strength titanium fasteners. Now, this is the kind of wheel design you’d expect from a manufacturer like McLaren. Needless to say, Rolls-Royce has taken the out-of-the-box route with the Black Badge and did a brilliant job. I’m not a fan of large, bloated sedans, but the Ghost looks outstanding in this all-black suit.
Oh, Rolls-Royce says that customers will be able to specify whatever color they wish for the exterior, and this is where I think the folks over at Bespoke are wrong. I get it, Bespoke wants buyers to be able to customize just about anything on their cars, but the Ghost Black Badge is simply too brilliant in black to be offered in any other color.
The dark theme continues inside, where the Ghost Black Badge has received even more attention. What’s more, Rolls-Royce used this model to debut advanced materials and building techniques. First up is the aluminum-threaded carbon-fiber composite seen on the dashboard, center console, and door panels. To create this innovative material, threads of aircraft-grade aluminum only 0.014 mm in diameter are woven together before being bonded with carbon fiber. This surface material then has six coats of lacquer applied and is left to cure for 72 hours. Finally, it’s hand-polished to a mirror finish.
Then there's the Physical Vapour Deposition technology, which was used to darken the air vents on the dash and in the rear of car.
Then there’s the Physical Vapour Deposition technology, which was used to darken the air vents on the dash and in the rear of car. This surfacing method is, according to Rolls-Royce, one of the few ways to color metal "whilst ensuring that the parts will neither discolor nor tarnish over time or through repeated use." Now that’s what I call attention to detail.
But wait, there’s more!
The iconic dashboard clock has been customized as well, receiving orange accents on its hands and "Unlimited" infinity logo, previously used in the Phantom Drophead Waterspeed, on its face. The same logo was embroidered on the upholstery. Speaking of which, the Ghost Black Badge features a two-tone, black and Tailored Purple that’s stunning to look at. And, I’m no fan of purple unless it’s a Plum Crazy/In Violet Mopar.
Customers who would rather have lighter colors in their limo can go with just about any color they desire. Bespoke is willing to supply leather of any color for this model, despite the Black Badge name. It would be a shame not to keep the dark theme, but unlike the exterior, the interior could be specified in other colors as well without ruining the sober appearance.
This is where the Ghost Black Badge becomes even more interesting, as Rolls-Royce increased the output of the massive 6.6-liter V-12 by 40 horsepower and 44 pound-feet of torque. As a result, the mill now sends 603 horses and 619 pound-feet of twist to the wheels, making the Black Badge the most powerful Ghost ever created. It’s worth noting that this is the second Bespoke model to receive a power boost after the Wraith St. James Edition, and the most significant engine update in years.
The Black Badge is the most powerful Ghost ever created.
Rolls-Royce also meddled with the eight-speed ZF transmission for quicker shifting and 20 percent less heft on the throttle during downshifts. Under braking conditions, the transmission downshifts a few rpm sooner, delivering a more spirited drive. Other upgrades include revised suspension and steering systems, new drive shafts, and enhanced Intuitive Throttle Response. Like any other Ghost, the Black Badge benefits from Rolls-Royce’s already iconic Magic Carpet Ride.
Performance figures have yet to be released, but the extra 40 horses and 44 pound-feet should shave a tenth-second off the standard Ghosts 0-to-60 mph sprint. Expect the Black Badge to hit the benchmark in 4.6 seconds, a stunning figure for a vehicle of this size. Top speed likely remained unchanged at 155 mph.
No word on pricing, but look for the Black Badge to command a significant premium over the Ghost’s $250,000 sticker. Given the carbon-fiber wheels and updated engine, it’s safe to assume that this blacked-out limousine will fetch in excess of $300,000.
Bentley Flying Spur Mulliner
While its design might not be as commanding as the Ghost’s, the Flying Spur has what it takes to give the Rolls-Royce a run for its money luxury-wise. Especially if the limousine is ordered via Mulliner, Bentley’s very own customization division. While the exterior remains pretty much unchanged, the interior can be equipped with quilted leather on just about any surface, a refrigerated compartment between the rear seats, new veneers, and sterling silver atomizers to name just a few. Power is provided by a twin-turbo, 6.0-liter W-12 that cranks out 616 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque through an eight-speed automatic.
Read the full review here.
A new arrival in the luxury segment, the Maybach S600 is based on the current Mercedes-Benz S-Class and replaces the Maybach 57, which was discontinued in 2013. The fancy interior of the S600 is wrapped in high-grade leather, real wood, aluminum, and even real sheepskin, while rear-seat passengers can ride in comfortable, full-power reclining seats with a massage function. Motivation comes from an all-aluminum, twin-turbo, 6.0-liter V-12 with 523 horsepower and 612 pound-feet of torque. Charging from 0 to 60 mph takes only 4.7 seconds, an impressive result at 5,304 pounds. Pricing starts from $198,300. Far from cheap, but definitely more affordable than a Rolls-Royce Ghost.
Read the full review here.
In many ways, all Bespoke-made Rolls-Royce cars are impressive. Some feature outstanding paint jobs with details motifs, while other sport fancy interiors crafted in the finest materials available on the market. However, all but one Bespoke vehicle has had its engine output increased, and only by a measly eight horsepower. With the Ghost Black Edition, Rolls-Royce has finally operated a significant power bump on its V-12. For a company that only meddles with its powerplants once a decade, a 40-horsepower update is pretty big news. The fact that the Black Badge also comes with a blacked-out exterior finish makes this Ghost that much more spectacular and proves that Rolls-Royce wants to attract new customers into its showrooms.