That’s what the Rolls-Royce Cullinan Black Badge is capable of doing to your system with its magnificent presentation of the dark side of luxury
Words Aninda Sardar
I first met Hal Serudin of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars when I was working as a Senior Correspondent for a magazine in the Sultanate of Oman. The occasion was the launch of the RR Phantom in the country by the marque’s sole representative there, Al Jenaibi Automobiles. Over the course of an excellent Arabian lunch of shawarma, shuwa, pita bread, hummus, falafel, tabouleh and fish biryani Hal and I got talking about the brand and how in spite of retaining all that is classical in the world of RR the marque has been able to keep itself relevant to the times it lives in. I also remember what he had told me when I had asked him about competing brands. His response had been that an RR client – not customer mind you – doesn’t think of another car when he’s considering a Roller, the choice is between a yacht, a summer villa and the Roller. It’s rather difficult to not remember Hal’s words as I look at the price of the new Rolls-Royce Cullinan Black Badge – `8.2 crore to start off with. But what exactly is the Black Badge?
The first time the world saw the Black Badge was 2016 at the Geneva Motor Show when Rolls-Royce Motor Cars took the covers off this permanent Bespoke family of cars. The first RRs to get the Black Badge were the Ghost and the Wraith in the same year that it was unveiled. Just a year later, in 2017, the Dawn also got a Black Badge, and now the Cullinan, which was launched in 2018 has got a Black Badge. It was this Rolls-Royce Cullinan Black Badge that was showcased to the marque’s Indian clientele at an exclusive preview last month.
“Black Badge reflects the desires of a distinct group of Rolls-Royce clients: men and women who take risks, break rules and build success on their own terms. Indeed, before we launched the Black Badge in 2016 the idea of creating a product that would satisfy this subversive cohort – that is highly dynamic and wilfully rebellious in aesthetic – caused a great deal of internal debate. However, once the marque’s designers, engineers and craftspeople began pursuing this dramatic alter ego, it became clear that these motor cars could not only exist comfortably beneath this revered and historic brand but they would define a new space within the super-luxury market. In this spirit, the time has come for Rolls-Royce’s boldest and darkest expression of Black Badge yet. The King of the Night, Black Badge Cullinan,” said Torsten Müller-Ötvös, chief executive officer, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.
6.75-LITRE TWIN-TURBOCHARGED V12 THAT WHISPERS UNDER THE BONNET (NEVER HOOD FOR AN RR) OF THE SILVER BADGE
For petrolheads who say, what’s so special (?), here’s some data to mull over. The Cullinan Black Badge sports the same 6.75-litre twin-turbocharged V12 that whispers under the bonnet (never hood for an RR) of the Silver Badge. Rolls-Royce engineers however have tweaked the massive motor to release 29 extra horses taking the peak output to 600hp. Meanwhile the maximum torque has been raised by a full 50Nm to take the total twist force available to a tarmac tearing 900Nm available from a lowly low 1700 turns of the crankshaft. Nought to 100km/h comes and goes in just 4.9 seconds as the dark knight wafts towards an electronically governed 250km/h top speed. To give a slightly badass edge to all that sophisticated and regal RR peerage, the engineers have completely changed the exhaust system with one that announces the Cullinan Black Badge’s arrival with a deep and bassy tone that is called basso profundo in RR speak.
THE CULLINAN BLACK BADGE’S APPEAL LIES IN ITS OFFER OF MAJESTY AND REGAL LUXURY
Like all cars to wear the RR badge on the grille before it, the Cullinan Black Badge’s appeal lies in its offer of majesty and regal luxury. So in addition to the signature black of the Black Badge, clients can opt from a staggering 44,000 ready-to-wear paint options. If they are still not satisfied or desire even more exclusivity they can commission an entirely individual Bespoke hue for their Cullinan. After several hours of work and several coats of that paint and lacquer on top, each Cullinan Black Badge is hand polished ten times! What marks a Cullinan Black Badge apart from its Silver Badge sibling is also probably among the top five most recognisable mascots in automotive history – the Spirit of Ecstasy. In the case of the Black Badge, she is presented in high gloss black chrome that extends up to the base plate for the first time. Meanwhile the double R badge on the flanks and elsewhere, which has for many years been black on silver has now been inverted to be presented in silver on a black background.
RR’S COLOUR AND TRIM DESIGNERS HAVE CREATED A BRAND NEW FORGE YELLOW COLOUR FOR THE LEATHER FOR THOSE WHO LIKE THE INTERIORS TO CONTRAST DRAMATICALLY
The wildly dark theme is carried on inside by the Cullinan’s Technical Carbon veneer, which is in essence a naked weave carbon-fibre finish that has repeating geometric patterns to produce a 3D effect. The lavish leather seats are hand woven with 1,344 fibre optic lights to cast a low light over the seats, intensifying the cabin ambience. While the usually array of Bespoke colours are available to RR clients to create the cabin they will own, RR’s Colour and Trim designers have created a brand new Forge Yellow colour for the leather for those who like the interiors to contrast dramatically with the vehicle’s exteriors. In typical Roller fashion, subtle red tips have been added to the needles on the clock and the instruments to hint at the Black Badge’s dynamic nature. If this isn’t class, what is?