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Rolls-Royce launches more powerful Black Badge models

Extra power and stealth aircraft materials for more assertive Ghost and Wraith

Rolls-Royce has used the Geneva motor show to launch its new range of Black Badge cars.

Not unlike Bentley’s Speed range, such treatment sees the Ghost and Wraith benefit from a raft of assertive upgrades, with more power and dark metal detailing in place of dazzling chrome. Even the Flying Lady has become “a high-gloss black vamp”. Their words.

If Rolls is to believed, these cars offer a darker alter ego to their base models, and are for “the risk takers and disruptors who break the rules and laugh in the face of convention”.

They’re rather like the rest of the Rolls range, though, in that they major on the superlatives. For example, they’re daubed in what’s described as the “deepest, darkest and most intense black ever seen on a production car,” all thanks to a painstaking painting process.

Unlike the fabled Ford Model T story, you can still have your Black Badge Rolls in any colour you like, though it would seem rather offensive to eschew the black after they’re gone to all that effort. But when you aim your car at ‘disruptive’ folk…

A dark exterior contrasts with some lurid interior colour choices, with the blue (Wraith) and purple (Ghost) pictured just two examples. It’s the more subtle stuff that will provide boardroom bragging rights, though; note the dashboard trim, which is an aluminium-threaded carbon composite, one that’s also used in stealth aircraft.

The wheels are similarly complex in their construction. Another alloy-carbon composite, they boast 22 layers of carbonfibre. Best give plenty of leeway when you’re parking alongside a kerb.

In comparison, the Black Badge dynamic tweaks are simple, with the 6.6-litre V12 in each car benefitting from a bit of extra shove. The Ghost is upped to 603bhp and 620lb ft, while the Wraith now has 623bhp and 642lb ft, which is roughly enough to bring the moon closer to Earth if you’ve got an appropriate tow rope.

Both cars also have sharper eight-speed automatic gearboxes, which operate through more responsive throttle pedals, while the Wraith gets an overhauled air suspension system, one which apparently provides both driver focus and a ‘magic carpet ride’. Both, you might be thankful to know, get bigger brakes too.

Costs have not yet been confirmed, but given that those convention-hating owners are likely to go wild with the bespoke possibilities, nailing down a typical price is probably rather difficult. Nevertheless, expect a starting point not far from £250,000. The Phantom, lest we forget, is bowing out, so doesn’t get a Black Badge version in its current form.

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