For once, a black-themed special-edition vehicle actually has some depth. And it had better, because it's a Rolls-Royce. The new Cullinan Black Badge is not simply an SUV with black exhaust tips, a black grille, and black trim work, though it does have all three. In addition to a myriad of design treatments, some of which have never been applied to a Rolls-Royce, the Cullinan BB has increased power, a sportier drive setup, and unique features specific to this vehicle.
One of the most significant upgrades between the base Cullinan and the Black Badge is the performance. Rolls-Royce finessed the twin-turbocharged 6.75-liter to make 600 horsepower and 664 lb-ft of torque, both up from 563 horsepower and 627 lb-ft of torque. Zero to 60 takes only 4.9 seconds, and it tops out at 155 mph. The Black Badge also has "intuitive throttle," which makes the ZF eight-speed transmission shift a little more aggressively, and a "low" button on the gear shift opens up a deep-voiced exhaust note.
Furthering the package, Rolls-Royce made changes to the suspension components and settings to ready for lively driving. A higher brake point in the pedal travel and redesigned high-temperature-resistant brake discs help keep the SUV in check. This is also the first time ever a Rolls-Royce has used colored brake calipers.
Said to represent the style of a younger generation, "permanent bespoke" Black Badge vehicles undergo a dark transformation. We say dark, because black is not the only paint option. A white model was also shown at the unveiling and contrasted well with other darkened parts on the SUV. Apparently, each paint job is hand-polished for up to five hours to ensure peak shiny. Rolls-Royce emphasized how big of a deal it was to use a black Spirit of Ecstasy, which changed color thanks to a chemical process, not paint or wraps. The inverted badging, grille surround, side frame finishers, trunk handle, trunk trim, lower air inlet finisher, and exhaust pipes also received black makeovers, and new 22-inch black and silver wheels adorn each corner.
Inside, "The King of the Night," as Rolls-Royce says (guess that title is available after the last season of "Game of Thrones"), has more all-new features. Crafted with a leather headliner and 1,344 fiber optic strands, the Starlight ceiling is introduced to the Cullinan with eight white shooting stars integrated into the pattern. The carbon fiber has been redesigned with aluminum weave and shows off a 3D geometric pattern. In the Black Badge shown here, black leather is paired with a new color called Forge Yellow, one of many available curated options. A final detail is the infinity sign that is seen throughout the interior. This is a call back to Sir Malcolm Campbell's Rolls-Royce-powered Blue Bird K3 hydroplane.
The 2020 Cullinan Black Badge starts at $382,000, but most customers order other bespoke features that tick that price well above $400,000. It is available for order now.