The Rolls-Royce Cullinan
When my contact at Rolls Royce gave us the heads up about the new Black Badge series, I immediately knew it would be my kind of car. Seeing it unveiled at Geneva Motor Show was one thing, but driving it, living with it and experiencing it were all something else.
It was a frosty Saturday morning in London, United Kingdom. Just before Sunrise, I had a truck arrive outside and awaiting me in that truck was the new Black Badge Rolls Royce Wraith. What is that you ask? Well, it’s the dark, mysterious edgy alter-ego to the usual RR motor car you are used to seeing. Aimed at “young men in a hurry” this particular car is set to attract the younger generation and the “New Rich”. Shortly after the driver unloaded the car from the truck and handed over the keys, I jumped in to what is the absolute pinnacle of Style, Performance and Power within the precious Rolls Royce range.
Already the most powerful car in the lineup, the Wraith has been upgraded even further under the hood and in the cabin to create the Black Badge. First let me tell you about some exterior features like the new 21″ wheels, which took four years to develop. They feature 22 layers of carbon fibre cloth which have been folded in three directions to create each spoke. They sit on a black alloy hub made from aerospace-grade aluminium and titanium, which basically makes them look awesome. The RR badge and famous Spirit Of Ecstasy are both blacked out now, along with the radiator grille. This gives the car an edgy bespoke look that is even more rare to see and even more special to be in the presence of. You can have your Black Badge Wraith in any colour you desire, but RR have developed a special, deep paint finish for the new Black Badge series, which they are calling “intense new levels of black” and of course its hand-polished to a perfection only RR are capable of.
If you step inside, you first notice the new Technical Fibre Fascia, which is basically threads of (0.014mm) aluminium painstakingly hand-woven with carbon fibre. This new material is utterly eye-catching and instantly sets a scene that is stunning to the sight and touch. RR also included a new exclusive Black Badge clock with orange-tipped hands, dark chrome air vents to match the noir exterior and of course, the Starlight Headliner. Truly magnificent, we all have to agree.
Moving on to performance, we are sitting in a car with one of the biggest and most powerful engines out there. The 6.6 litre V12 puts out a grand total of 624 bhp and the best upgrade yet? The brand new 8-speed automatic gearbox that helps the car deliver 870 Nm of torque from 1700rpm upwards HUH!? It will hit a limited top speed of 155mph (easily) and get from 0-60mph in 4.3 seconds. How does that sound for a Roller? The weight of the car is 2440 kg but everything feels effortless during the ride, thanks to the incredible air suspension. It’s the “magic carpet feeling”. Just ask Princess Jasmine.
We took the Black Badge up to see our friends at Aynhoe Park – Its a beautiful drive into the Cotswolds countryside and a perfect location for just about any retreat one would desire. The private home is based at the heart of 250 acres of land and has a natural charm with amazing service. Inside you will find wonderful artefacts from around the world and each bedroom has a different character. Take a look at some of the shots we took in the workshop of owner, James Perkins! We strongly recommend you to check out their residence at once and experience it for yourselves.
Driving this car and having the opportunity to test its dynamism was certainly a pleasure. The car is more then capable of sweeping you off your feet should you allow it to. With over impressive handling for a car of its dimensions, the Black Badge Wraith really takes on the corners with ease. It also features an amazing stability control system, which when changed you are able to get even more intense driving pleasure out of the power unit under the hood and the tort chassis. You would normally think that as a driver it would be nice to change gears manually once in a while, but in a Rolls Royce, no matter what style you are driving, you simply cannot fault the intelligence of the transmission. Whether going for a straight sprint, technical cornering, or even power sliding the car through a long corner, there is just continued linear power that keeps coming and coming. It is a wonderful sensation and a surprisingly capable motor vehicle. It should be considering our test car cost around £280,000. You pay for the quality, craftsmanship and engineering that make your car stand out as one of the best in the world, and you will feel this in every ride.
A final quote from our friends at RR:
“Over four hundred hours. Over sixty pairs of hands. Just one aim: to build and craft your Wraith Black Badge to perfection. From the days it takes to achieve the most intense colour of black paint ever seen on a Rolls-Royce, to the years spent developing Black Badge’s unique wheels, each element of your motor car is the result of world-class craftsmanship.”
Need we say anymore?
The Rolls-Royce Cullinan