Rolls-Royce. Founded in UK in 1904 by Charles Stewart Rolls and Sir Frederick Henry Royce, there’s something about a Rolls that will forever resonate. The Spirit of Ecstacy on the ‘nose’ announcing your arrival while leading into the future. The simple feeling of luxury and comfort that permeates each vehicle they manufacture!
When the Daytona Group officially brought the Rolls-Royce into South Africa, as well as Aston Martin and MacLaren, they hosted a Best of British Day at the Killarney Country Club and, while everyone was in a rush to sign up to drive the MacLaren MP4-12C, my ride of choice was the Rolls-Royce Ghost. Unlike the previous incarnations, for example, the Phantom, the Ghost I feels like the car you drive yourself, as opposed to giving that pleasure to your driver. I also attended the launch of the Ghost II and, although I didn’t get to drive that one and I loved the upgrades to it, the Ghost I remained my Rolls of choice.
We are living in a rapidly evolving world and, as we embrace the things that give us pleasure, it is important that those who produce those products and services, particularly within the world of luxury, keep up with us.
The Rolls-Royce Black Badge is Rolls’ way of not only keeping up, but leading the way by creating ‘an alter ego’ to the Wraith and the Ghost with a “darker, more assertive, more confident and powerful, and more demanding” design aesthetic running through all aspects of the vehicles.
The Alter Ego
The Double R logo and the Spirit of Ecstasy have both received the ‘Black Badge’ treatment with the logo in silver on black on most surfaces while, wherever it is on chrome, such as the front grille surround or exhaust pipes, it is simply ‘dark’.
The Spirit of Ecstacy on the Rolls-Royce Black Badge, while maintaining posture and design, is now high-gloss black to reflect the overall dark aesthetic.
The paint job – it feels really wrong to describe it as that – is black, or as they put it, “the deepest, darkest and most intense black ever seen on a production car surface.” If you, however, would prefer something else, you can specify both your exterior colour and your interior leather colour. I once asked a friend about how much a Ghost went for and his response was, “If you have to ask, you can’t afford it.” That said, looking through the many interior leather options, I reckon I would go for a blood-red with a black exterior, Ghost Black Badge.
The Rolls-Royce Black Badge Launch
The launch of the Rolls-Royce Black Badge was held at Kyalami Race Track and, to be honest, the assumption was that we would be driven around the track after the pre-requisite intro and presentation from representatives of Rolls-Royce and the Daytona Group.
They actually let us drive ourselves in the Wraith Black Badge. The Ghost Black Badge was on display, not for driving, but the Wraith was available for controlled laps – two, to be exact. For a car that weighs over two tonnes, it is surprisingly nimble – although, obviously, not Tinkerbell nimble. You do feel you can throw it into the curves a bit as it gently growls, albeit it not too loudly, and I did smile as I willed it to go faster on the back straight, before the speed warning started beeping loudly.
It is the kind of car you get for the character, design, luxury and edge. It isn’t the kind of car you get if you are going to be trying to dice at the traffic lights. It is a Rolls-Royce for younger generations without losing the stature of the Rolls. I think my new favourite Rolls is the Ghost Black Badge, finally knocking the Ghost I off the top perch.