That Old Black Magic: Rolls-Royce Black Badge Wraith

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Unknown-4Photo Credit: Rolls-Royce

Beautiful. Fast. Mysterious. Exciting. Sumptuous. Exclusive. Thrilling. Luxurious. This sounds like a recipe for the newest Hollywood release, but these superlatives, and so many others, apply so aptly to the wonderful Rolls-Royce Black Badge Wraith.

Unknown-15Photo Credit: Rolls-Royce

What does “Black Badge” mean? It denotes the model range of Rolls-Royces which have increased power, more sensitive steering, more dynamic suspension and a special, darker look, available not only in the two-door fastback Wraith but also in the four-door Ghost and the two-door convertible Dawn. And how does Black Badge manifest?

Unknown-10Photo Credit: Rolls-Royce

While not completely blacked out, the Black Badge model has stunning dark chrome (which sounds like an oxymoron but looks terrific in person) and a minimum of shiny chrome accents. The front grille, the bumpers, and even the iconic Spirit of Ecstasy on the prow are chromed with a tinge of black.

The 21-inch wheels are carbon alloy composite, sporting black with chrome trim, and they make the Black Badge Wraith stand out markedly from its brethren in the Rolls-Royce stable, which are shod with more traditional wheels. The engine is the same as with the standard Wraith. With about 625 horsepower and over 600 pounds of torque, even the Wraith’s weight, the car is a performer, with 0-60 times quoted in the mid-four-second range (memo to the 1960s – this cruiser could blow the doors off of most muscle cars) and a top speed of 155 MPH (no doubt that’s electronically limited as this car has way more oomph than that).

Unknown-12Photo Credit: Rolls-Royce

Not to sound too gushy here but I’ve never driven a Rolls-Royce that I didn’t love, and that includes the 1912 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost which I drove many years ago and which now is on display at the Petersen Automotive Museum. The fit, finish, quality of materials, the thought which goes in to the design, operation and the maintenance (long before the word “ergonomic” was even coined) of a Rolls-Royce always lead to a wonderful driving experience which is equally enjoyable for the passengers. “This car feels so much like a car created by ____”, said no one ever.

Unknown-8Photo Credit: Rolls-Royce

The base price is about $315,000. The Black Badge package on the Wraith is $45,000 but, luckily for me, the order desk for “mine” didn’t just stop there. Adding special black paint, the twinkly starlight headliner (you must order that for yours), the special bespoke audio system, and a handful of other must-haves, the sticker hit $416,105. Given the power, the ride, the bank-vault-like feeling of driving this car – a mysterious mélange of performance and isolation from the real world – it really feels like it should cost a lot more than that.

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