SPARTANBURG, SC – If you have crazy money to spend on a car, Rolls-Royce has a way for you to spend a little more.
Since 2016, the BMW-owned brand for the rich and famous has been offering the Black Badge treatment for those customers who want something edgy. The Wraith coupe and Ghost sedan were the first available in Black Badge trim, followed a year later by the Dawn convertible.
Today, the Cullinan SUV joins the Black Badge family. Unique elements include two-tone rims, carbon-fiber interior trim and smoked chrome on the grille, dashboard clock and the Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament.
Also, the infinity symbol is emblazoned throughout the cabin as a noir expression. Black Badge doesn’t mean the exterior and interior will be all black, leaving room for Bespoke customization.
Management in Goodwood, U.K., grimaced at the thought of a darkened Spirit of Ecstasy, but product planners made a convincing argument: Aftermarket tuners have been giving the Batman treatment to Rolls-Royce cars for years, and soccer star David Beckham even did it to his car in 2006.
Young billionaires love the darkened, brooding look, so Goodwood gave the green light for Black Badge as a way to attract more youthful customers who want ultra-luxury as well as upgraded performance.
The Cullinan Black Badge gets a stiffer suspension and bigger brakes, and the tweaked 6.75L V-12 boosts output to 600 hp (up from 563 hp), plus an extra 37 lb.-ft. (50 Nm) of torque. The exhaust gets a bit more rumble but remains “dignified,” as described by a product planner.
Also standard in Black Badge is the Starlight headliner (see photo below), which uses 1,344 fiber-optic cables woven into the leather overhead to emulate a starry sky. Now that feature gets even better by triggering eight light points in sequence, creating a shooting-star effect.
One in five Rolls-Royce cars are sold as Black Badge, and the treatment adds $50,000 to the sticker. Starting price for the Cullinan Black Badge is $382,000, but with additional options the average transaction prices are expected to be about $430,000. It takes three to four months to build a Cullinan.
The Black Badge Cullinan was displayed for journalists attending this week’s BMW Test Fest in Spartanburg, SC.