As if a regular Rolls-Royce wasn’t special enough, the British luxury car maker has announced two new ‘Black Badge’ limited editions of the Ghost saloon and Wraith coupe. The models get a power boost, plus black detailing and exotic cabin materials, and become permanent bespoke editions in the range. Both are being displayed at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show.
Rolls’ CEO Torsten Muller-Otvos describes the new Black Badge designation as “the alter ego of Rolls-Royce; darker, more assertive more confident and powerful, and more demanding”. The badge will be used for a “permanent Bespoke series of motor cars” made by the firm in the years to come.
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The exterior design changes for the Black Badge models include the iconic Spirit of Ecstasy bonnet ornament, which “mutates into a high-gloss black vamp”. The badging and chrome detailing are also transformed with a new, darkenr shade.
Unique and lightweight composite carbon-fibre alloys have also been added, featuring 22 layers of carbon fibre and developed over a period of four years. Both models get hand-polished paint that results in, Rolls-Royce says, the “deepest, darkest and most intense black ever seen on a production car”.
Inside, you’ll find unique "aerospace-grade aluminium-threaded carbon-fibre composite" used as a material on the dash and around the cabin. There’s also a new black and orange clock design, embroidered leather upholstery and black headlining with the ‘starlight’ LED inlays. The infinity symbol (the mathematical symbol representing the infinity concept of time) also appears on the dashboard clock and is embroidered into the seats.
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The changes aren’t limited to the aesthetics, however, as engineers have coaxed more power out of the familiar 6.6-litre V12 in the Ghost and Wraith. The former gets an extra 40bhp to bring the total to 594bhp, with 60Nm extra torque giving the Ghost a total of 840Nm. The Wraith, already the most powerful Rolls in existence at 614bhp, gains an additional 70Nm of torque.
The Wraith Black Badge also gets a retuned air-suspension set-up to improve agility, and new driveshafts to handle the extra grunt. Both models feature a retuned eight-speed automatic transmission that is said to be more responsive and allow a downshift on less throttle input. Finally, the brakes have been upgraded with bigger front discs and a more direct pedal response.
Rolls-Royce says the new range targets a new type of customer. With the launch of the Ghost and Wraith in the past few years already bringing a younger customer to the British brand (Rolls estimates the two cars have brought the average age down by 10-15 years), the Black Badge models are designed to appeal to a different buyer such as young, successful entrepreneurs who would never have considered a Rolls in the past.
Rolls-Royce also says the Black Badge cars appeal to those who want a bespoke Rolls with added power compared to more 'run-of-the-mill' Rolls-Royces; previously, these buyers may have drifted towards other brands like Bentley.
No pricing has been released for the Black Badge models yet, but a source told Auto Express to expect a price rise of around £28,000 for the model series. That would mean the Ghost would cost around £210,000 and the Wraith in the region of £220,000.
Get all the latest news from the 2016 Geneva Motor Show here...