The new generation of folks with seriously fat wallets has a taste for things which look more dynamic and reflect their personality. No wonder then that even traditional brands like Rolls-Royce are dishing out things which match their liking. Their newest, the Cullinan SUV has joined the luxury carmaker’s Black Badge range, which until now, included the Ghost, the Wraith, and expanded to the Dawn in 2017.
An alter ego of the Cullinan, this Black Badge version is coded with the mathematical symbol that represents a potential infinity, which is placed discreetly within the motor car’s interior. This marking, known also as the lemniscate, was applied to Sir Malcolm Campbell’s record-breaking Rolls-Royce-powered Blue Bird K3 hydroplane, denoting that it belonged to an insurance class reserved for boats with unlimited and therefore infinite engine power. No wonder Rolls-Royce selected this hallmark for the Black Badge.
Finished in the Black Badge range’s signature black, Rolls-Royce offers 44,000 ‘ready to wear’ paint options or can even commission an entirely individual, bespoke colour. To achieve the most comprehensive surface finish process ever applied to a solid paint colour, multiple layers of paint and lacquer are meticulously applied and hand-polished 10 times at Goodwood. On the prow of the motor car lies the defining expression of Black Badge. The Spirit of Ecstasy mascot, presented in high gloss black chrome. For the first time, this finish extends onto its mounting plate, creating the darkest Black Badge yet.
This treatment extends to the other symbols of the Black Badge – the ‘Double R’ badge on the front, flanks and aft invert to become silver-on-black, the front grille surround, side frame finishers, boot handle, boot trim, lower air inlet finisher and exhaust pipes. While they appear black, the vertical grille bars remain polished, reflecting the blackened surfaces that surround them to add a frisson of movement that hints at the motor car’s dynamic intent. All of this is further dramatised b yall-new 22-inch forged alloy wheels, reserved exclusively for Black Badge Cullinan.
The marque’s colour and trim experts blended comfort, bold aesthetics, advanced materials and precise, meticulous craftsmanship. This is embodied by the Black Badge Cullinan’s Technical Carbon veneer. In the spirit of Sir Henry Royce’s founding philosophy, “When it does not exist, design it”, a collaboration between the marque’s designers, engineers and craftspeople saw the creation of a new luxury material. Inspired by masterpieces of urban architecture, a naked-weave carbon-fibre finish has been developed to create highly accurate repeating geometrical shapes. Each leaf of Technical Carbon is finished with six coats of lacquer before being left to cure for 72 hours then hand-polished to Rolls-Royce’s hallmark mirror finish. This process takes 21 days and is only deemed complete once every piece is inspected by a craftsperson to ensure complete reflective uniformity across each of the 23 pieces within the car.
The Starlight Headliner’s presence in the Black Badge Cullinan intensifies the cabin’s ambience by casting a low light over the lavish leather seats. Presented in fine Black leather, it has been handwoven with 1344 fibre optic lights. A true reflection of the sky at night, it incorporates eight brilliant white shooting stars that dart at random, predominantly over the front occupants. The Infinity lemniscate motif is embroidered into the fold-down rear arm-and this simple but potent symbol is also incorporated in the illuminated treadplates and engraved on the brushed and darkened steel clock case. Red-tipped clock hands and instrument display needles match the shade of the brake callipers to serve as a reminder of the motor car’s dynamic abilities.
A ‘Low’ button on the gear selection stalk, unlocks the Black Badge Cullinan’s full suite of technologies and amplifies the motor car’s 6.75-litre twin-turbocharged V12 through an entirely new exhaust system. The twin-turbo V12 has been tuned to generate an extra 29 PS, taking the total output to 600 PS. The addition of a further 50NM of torque brings the total to twisting force to 900NM. The Black Badge Cullinan benefits from a bespoke, ZF-sourced, 8-speed transmission and throttle treatment that builds the typical Rolls-Royce experience. Changes to suspension components and settings ensure the Black Badge Cullina strikes a great balance between dynamism and refinement.