Since the 2016 Geneva Motor Show, Rolls-Royce has offered more powerful models of the Ghost sedan and the Wraith coupe, marketed under the ‘Black Badge’ name. In addition to a little extra performance, the vehicles display black brand logos, a black ‘Spirit of Ecstasy’ figure and special interior details to match their name. One year later, the new Dawn convertible also followed this trend, with which the traditional manufacturer is targeting younger customers who would like to drive their Rolls-Royce themselves and enjoy the engine power of the V12 engine to the full. After the large SUV Cullinan was added to the model range at the beginning of this year, it was foreseeable for many brand fans that a Black Badge version would follow sooner or later. This now completes the model family.
With the Black Badge models, Rolls-Royce is remembering the Bluebird K3 hydroplane by Sir Malcolm Campbell, which was powered by a Rolls-Royce engine. This record-braking vehicle displayed a symbol that can now also be found in the interior of the Black Badge cars: the reclining figure eight as a sign of infinity, also known among customers as ‘the lemniscate’. On the hydroplane, this sign indicated that it belonged to the class of unlimited engines. With the Cullinan Black Badge Rolls-Royce wants to reach those SUV customers for whom the normal Cullinan model doesn’t yet seem wild enough for a stylish appearance at night. Of course, interested parties can choose from the more than 44,000 different color shades, which Rolls-Royce already has in its range, or have their own paint color mixed according to their wishes. However, it is expected that most customers will opt for the typical black in which the Black Badge models will also be shown at motor shows. This special black consists of various layers of paint and clearcoat and is polished to a high gloss ten times by hand at the factory before being delivered to the new car owner.
On request, a hand-applied coachline along the sides of the vehicle provides a visual contrast. The iconic radiator grille, the side window frames, the boot lid handle, the decorative trims on the side air outlets, the exhaust tailpipes, the logos and the ‘Spirit of Ecstasy’ figure are finished in black chrome, for the first time including the socket of the figure as well. To round off the visual effect, 22-inch forged wheels in an independent design with black paint finish and a polished front sit in the wheel arches. Behind them, for the first time in the brand’s history, are painted brake calipers in red.
Inside, the Cullinan Black Badge uses specially designed decorative elements in visible carbon with a special three-dimensional fiber structure, over which a total of six layers of clear lacquer are sprayed, which are polished to a high gloss by hand after 72 hours of drying time. The roof liner contains 1,344 optical fibers to create a beautiful artificial starry sky at night with eight randomly appearing shooting stars. The color palettes for leather, Alcantara and stitchings are almost endless. From the driver’s seat you can take control of the 6.75 liter V12 biturbo engine, whose exhaust fumes are emitted a little more audibly thanks to a new exhaust system. Compared to the normal Cullinan, the power was increased by 29 to 600 hp (441 kW), while the maximum torque increased by 50 to 900 newtonmeters. The ZF eight-speed automatic transmission and the control of the steered rear axle were also adapted to this.