Targeting "today's generation of young, self-empowered, self-confident rule-breakers," Rolls-Royce has introduced the Black Badge line of premium luxury cars that replace chromed brightwork with black-tinted shiny bits while delivering even more power.
Young dotcom gazillionaires and signing-bonus-rich athletes aren't interested in the traditional genteel, country club notions of prestige, but they do appreciate the storied Rolls-Royce legacy, so the British marque wants to provide style more in keeping with younger buyers' tastes.
"‘Black Badge’ is the alter ego of Rolls-Royce, darker, more assertive, more confident and more demanding, creating the most powerful presence on the luxury landscape," explained Torsten Müller-Ötvös, CEO of Rolls-Royce. "It is a truly transformative moment for our great brand.”
The result are a $347,000 Ghost four-door and $350,000 Wraith two-door that provide a more sinister stance thanks to blacked-out chrome trim, gloss black wheels and a shiny black hood ornament.
Inside, look for dramatically woven strips of aluminum and carbon fiber in place of the usual woodgrain material. To darken the bright air vent registers in the cabin, Rolls employed physical vapor deposition technology because the resulting shiny black components won't tarnish or discolor over time.
Rolls-Royce engineers tweaked the Ghost's 6.6-liter V-12 powerplant for an additional 40 horsepower, bringing its output to 603 hp. As the most powerful Rolls-Royce ever, the Wraith already churns out 624 hp, so there wasn't much more to be had. In its case, peak torque is boosted an extra 30 lb.-ft. for even more effortless acceleration.
Both car also enjoy tauter air suspension, beefier axles and a recalibrated eight-speed automatic transmission to convey the Black Badge cars' sportier attitude, along with its sinister image.