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Rolls-Royce outs $770K Cullinan Black Badge

Black Badge treatment creates faster, more dynamic Rolls-Royce Cullinan SUV

8 Nov 2019

THE Rolls-Royce Cullinan SUV has received the British ultra-luxury marque’s sporty Black Badge treatment, delivering more power and heightened dynamics to go with the moody, murdered-out styling.


Priced from $760,000 before on-road costs compared with $685,000 driveaway for the common-or-garden Cullinan, the Black Badge is almost twice as expensive as a Lamborghini Urus.


In fact, a budget sufficient for the Cullinan Black Badge could procure a Bentley Bentayga W12 with enough left over to secure a Maserati Levante Trofeo as well.


As usual, Rolls-Royce was keen to supplement the new model’s pricing confirmation with a footnote that all of its vehicles are bespoke and that “actual pricing is dependent on customer specification”.


Similar to existing Black Badge versions of the Ghost limousine, Wraith coupe and Dawn convertible, the transformation goes deeper than aesthetics with a retuned 6.75-litre twin-turbo V12 engine pumping out 21kW more power and 50Nm more torque for hearty totals of 441kW and 900Nm.


With its more urban focus, pushing the ‘low’ button on the Cullinan Black Badge’s gear selector activates a louder setting for its new bi-modal exhaust rather than locking it in second gear for off-road work. However, the centre console ‘off road’ button is maintained.


Recalibrated throttle and transmission response “creates a sense of urgency” that is tempered by a higher bite point on the brake pedal, backed by improved brake disc ventilation while revised suspension components and settings “ensure an appropriate balance between dynamism and refinement”.


All of this, according to Rolls-Royce, results in “an extremely well-mannered tourer at low speeds and a vivid driver’s device when pressed”.


In addition to being the first Black Badge variant based on the bespoke Rolls-Royce ‘architecture of luxury’ platform that debuted on the Cullinan and will underpin at least a whole future generation of Rolls-Royce models, the Cullinan is the blackest Black Badge yet.


Rolls-Royce expects the majority of Cullinan Black Badge customers to go for a colour scheme befitting its name, applied and polished by hand at the company’s Goodwood headquarters in what is claimed to be “the most comprehensive surface finish process ever applied to a solid paint colour”.


As shown in the accompanying images, Rolls-Royce claims this finish “serves as the perfect canvas upon which to throw a contrasting hand-painted Coachline into stark relief”.


Chrome finishes are kept to a minimum, reserved for thin spars on the huge black grille – topped by an all-black Spirit of Ecstasy ornament and plinth – and the Rolls-Royce script on otherwise black badges applied to the nose, tail and flanks.


Airy two-tone forged alloy wheels in 22-inch diameter and unique Black Badge design enable the red-painted brake callipers – a Rolls-Royce first – to shine through their spokes as a hint to the model’s more performance-oriented intent.


Inside, the black theme continues with the infinity symbol reserved for Black Badge models scattered around the cabin along with 23 pieces of genuine carbon-fibre trim providing visual texture with its exposed weave but tactile smoothness due to a painstaking 21-day preparation and polishing process.


A leather headliner incorporating 1344 fibre-optic lights representing the night sky includes eight animated shooting stars and doubles as mood lighting over the otherwise suitably dark interior.


Similar to the black exterior’s suitability to contrast pinstriping, the Black Badge cockpit is also described “as a stage to create dramatic high contrast colourways” and a new Forge Yellow leather trim was created to suit.


Finishing the interior effect are red-tipped clock hands and instrument dial needles that “serve as a discreet reminder of the motor car’s dynamic prowess”.


Rolls-Royce describes this latest Cullinan variant as a completion of the Black Badge family, suggesting it has no intention of applying the treatment to its Phantom flagship limousine.


According to VFACTS, 14 Cullinan deliveries have been reported in Australia year-to-date. Sales of other models are simply recorded as coupe/convertible (17 units) and sedan (nine units), meaning it is likely to be meeting expectations as the company’s most popular single model here.

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