New Cars

Rolls-Royce courts the rich renegades with Black Badge Ghost and Wraith


For the disrupters only; squares need not apply

So, Rolls-Royce has officially gone insane. This week it introduced two cars with a black Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament that it’s calling the Black Badge series. The company says it’s for “people who are elusive and defiant, the risk takers and disrupters, who break the rules and laugh in the face of convention.” Basically, the company went all “Dark Knight” on us: a grittier, more brooding take on what a Rolls-Royce really is.

The company says this new dark treatment is for “today’s generation of young, self-empowered, self-confident rule breakers” that are “just as uncompromising and unapologetic in their choice of living and lifestyle as their predecessors.” Those predecessors, Rolls reminds us, include Sir Malcolm Campbell, Howard Hughes, Keith Moon, Yves Saint Laurent and “our own Charles Rolls.”

Has anyone told these guys that today’s kids don’t even want to drive, let alone are able to afford a Rolls-Royce. Maybe this is for the Silicon Valley set?


For those disrupters, those stereotype breakers, those privateers, Rolls-Royce presented the Ghost Black Badge and the Wraith Black Badge.

“Technically and aesthetically ‘Black Badge’ is the alter ego of Rolls-Royce Wraith and Ghost; darker, more assertive, more confident and powerful, and more demanding,” said Torsten Müller-Ötvös, chief executive officer, Rolls-Royce. “With Black Badge, we have created the most powerful presence on the luxury landscape. It is a truly transformative moment for our great brand.”

We can’t get enough of this stuff.

The Flying Lady who changes neither in design, posture nor material, but in color to represent the owner’s dark obsession. She mutates into a high-gloss black vamp, proudly scything through the night-time cityscape.”

OK, OK, we’ve had enough. Let’s talk about the car that goes with this press release.

Black Badge cars will come with the black hood ornament, obviously, along with lightweight, carbon fiber wheels and “the deepest, darkest and most intense black ever seen on a production car surface.” Ahem. Rolls then notes that the Black Badge cars can actually be ordered in any color.

Black Badge caretakers — no one owns a piece of art, man, only God can own that — will be treated to aerospace-grade aluminum-threaded carbon fiber inside the cabin along with darkened air vents and orange hands on the analog clock. A “moody light cast from the black starlight headliner” completes the package.

The Ghost Black Badge gets the company’s 6.6-liter V12, now making 603 hp and 620 lb-ft of torque. The eight-speed automatic has “an added sense of urgency in how it delivers its power.” So, a sport mode? Rolls says this Ghost still delivers a soft ride, with “just that little bit of extra driver focus.”

The Wraith, on the other hand, gets 51 extra pound-feet of twist and a total of 623 hp. Like the Ghost, the Wraith gets changed transmission programming to offer a quicker feel. It upshifts later and downshifts earlier in the rev range.

So, you rebels, you young, self-absorb — we mean self-empowered — disrupters, your Rolls has arrived. The Wraith stickers for just over $300,000 and the Ghost will set you back about the same. Adding the darkness will surely bump that price up, but that’s fine. Cash in your bitcoin, sell your shares in Waze, throw the status quo out of your balcony window; you’ll be the most distinguished disrupter on the block.

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