Rolls-Royce first introduced its Black Badge models in 2016, which were aimed at “young, self-empowered, self-confident rule-breakers” and speak to the “darker, more assertive, confident and demanding aesthetic of these customers.”
While Black Badge models are based on existing offerings, they are re-engineered to characterise the alter ego of Rolls-Royce, one that is bolder in terms of performance and design. This has proven to be highly successful for the brand, as more than 27% of commissions worldwide bear the infinity symbol, the icon of the Black Badge.
It’s no surprise then that the second-generation Ghost would receive the Black Badge treatment, and it has now been launched in Malaysia by Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Kuala Lumpur. To get the big question out of the way, the starting price is RM1.8 million, and that is before taxes and options, mind you. This example you see in the photos comes loaded up with options to RM2.4 million before taxes are factored in.
The Ghost Black Badge is identified by several distinct cues, most notably the colour of the Pantheon grille and iconic Spirit of Ecstasy bonnet ornament. Rather than just painting these items black to suit the theme, a specific chrome electrolyte is introduced to the traditional chrome plating process that is co-deposited on the stainless-steel substrate to produce a darkened finish. To achieve the mirror-black chrome finish, these components are then polished by hand.
While most Black Badge customers choose black as the primary body colour, Rolls-Royce offers 44,000 “ready-to-wear” options, or if you’re extremely particular, an entirely unique bespoke hue based on a sample provided for analysis.
The car unveiled today is painted white, providing an even greater contrast against the other black-hued elements like the single-piece side window frames, front fender badges, rear taillight frames and front apron garnish. You’ll also notice the optional coach stripes that run the length of the vehicle, which are hand applied by Mark Court, the only person in Rolls-Royce tasked with this duty.
Another standout feature are the 21-inch wheels, which have a design unique to the Ghost Black Badge. Zoom in on them and you’ll notice that the barrel of each wheel is made from carbon-fibre, specifically 22 layers laid on three axes, then folded back on themselves at the outer edges of the rim to form a total of 44 layers, with a lightly tinted lacquer applied to ensure the weaves are visible.
This serves to provide greater strength and likely helps reduce weight a little, with a 3D-forged aluminium hub bonded to the rim using aerospace-grade titanium fasteners. As per Rolls-Royce tradition, the floating hubcap completes the look of the wheels, ensuring the double R monogram always remains upright.
Moving inside the Ghost Black Badge, the standout feature is undoubtedly the trim pieces adorning the dashboard, steering wheel and other areas. These components feature carbon-fibre – unconventional for a Rolls-Royce – and have a three-dimensional effect when viewed.
Another example of time-consuming craftsmanship, the effect is created by first pressing multiple wood layers onto the interior component substrates using black Bolivar veneer for the upper most base layer.
This process forms a dark foundation for the Technical Fibre layers to be introduced, whereby leaves woven from resin-coated carbon-fibre and contrasting metal-coated thread are perfectly aligned and laid out in a diamond pattern by hand. Each component is then cured for one hour under pressure at the boiling temperature of water before being sandblasted to create a keyed surface for six layers of lacquer that is sanded and polished, again, by hand, before it is installed.
Much like the exterior, other elements of the interior like the air vents have also been darkened using a process called physical vapour deposition, which colours the metal in a way that it maintains its finish over time. As all Rolls-Royce commissions are bespoke, customers can personalise the interior space however they see fit, including fitting the optional Starlight Headliner.
Beyond the visual aspects, the Ghost Black Badge also gets a few mechanical enhancements, including larger air springs that firm up the suspension to keep the vehicle more stable when cornering.
The brand’s familiar 6.75 litre twin-turbo V12 is still in place here, but it has been uprated to deliver 600 PS (592 hp), or 29 PS (28 hp) more than a regular Ghost. Same goes for peak torque, which has been increased by 50 Nm to 900 Nm. A ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive system are paired with the mill, and there’s still rear-wheel steering.
To get the most out of the revised powertrain, the Ghost Black Badge comes with a “Low” mode, which is essentially Rolls-Royce’s take on sport mode. When activated via a button on the gear selector stalk, all 900 Nm is available from just 1,750 rpm, gearshifts are increased by 50% when the throttle is depressed to 90%, and you get a raspier engine note thanks to new exhaust system.
“Black Badge is the alter ego of Rolls-Royce, an alternative to a segment of super-luxury customers who value the bold and non-conformist. We are witnessing highly successful entrepreneurs who are more diverse than ever before, coming from non-traditional industries. They are innovators, trailblazers — and above all — those who dare. Black Badge is their code of luxury,“ commented Anas Zawawi Khalid, director of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Kuala Lumpur.
GALLERY: 2022 Rolls-Royce Ghost Black Badge official launch photos
The post 2022 Rolls-Royce Ghost Black Badge launched in Malaysia – dark theme, more power; fr RM1.8 million appeared first on Paul Tan’s Automotive News.