South Africa

Rolls-Royce Cullinan gets 'rebellious' Black Badge treatment

Rolls-Royce Cullinan gets 'rebellious' Black Badge treatment

Some time in 2019 I was treated to a Rolls-Royce experience outside the realms of the prim etiquette normally associated with the world’s most luxurious cars. A Phantom II in a sideways drift and a Cullinan scrambling up an off-road obstacle were a clear message that a new dawn had emerged.

In truth the transformation took place a while back in 2016 with the introduction of the Black Badge, laying a more youthful, hip and defiant texture on the Ghost, Dawn and Wraith model ranges.

“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, the subversive cohort so to speak,” said Torsten Müller-Ötvös, CEO Rolls-Royce Motor Cars when revealing the rebellion at the Geneva 2016 motor show.

In the same spirit, the latest product to wear the Black Badge, which isn’t necessarily painted black, by the way, thanks to 44,000 paint options available, is the Cullinan SUV. However the brand anticipates that many will opt for a more intense black paint offered for the brand’s first foray into the SUV segment.  

Paint colour aside, it’s a nearly total exterior blackout as chrome surfaces including the front grille surround, side frame finishers, boot handle, boot trim, lower air inlet finisher and exhaust pipes are darkened. Even the Spirit of Ecstasy mascot is presented in high gloss black chrome which extends onto its mounting plate.

A sparkle of brilliance is given by silver-on-black “Double R” badges, bespoke 22-inch alloy wheels, and the marque’s first-ever red coloured brake caliper. 

No cost is spared in turning the Cullinan “BB” interior into the ultimate space of sporting splendour. Twenty-three pieces of a newly developed naked-weave carbon-fibre polished to RR’s mirror finish standards and red-tipped clock hands and instrument display needles evoke a sportier but lavish disposition to an interior fitted with all the enviable amenities which include the RR signature starlight headliner.

Again, there’s no pressure for customers to settle for a totally black interior in the face of a near infinite choice of interior palettes. The striking combination of Forge Yellow and black, which is a specific curate for the Black Badge, is also available.  

Mechanically, the Cullinan Black Badge uses the same 6.75l V12 attached to an eight-speed auto gearbox but has been enhanced for more bass and power to the tune of 441kW and 900Nm (compared to the standard car’s 420kW and 850Nm).

The drivetrain and chassis too are re-engineered for more spirited attitude. The Black Badge Cullinan is now available to commission.