Rolls Royce Cullinan joins Black Badge Family
Ultra-luxe brand Rolls Royce recently rolled out the Black Badge Edition for the Cullinan, completing the model lineup.
First launched in 2018 as a silver badge guise, the Rolls Royce Cullinan, the latest version completes the Black Badge line alongside the Rolls-Royce Wraith and Ghost introduced in 2016 followed by Rolls-Royce Dawn in 2017.
Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive Officer, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars said that “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."
" Indeed, before we launched Black Badge in 2016 the idea of creating a product that would satisfy this subversive cohort – that is highly dynamic and wilfully rebellious in aesthetic – caused a great deal of internal debate. However, once the marque’s designers, engineers and craftspeople began pursuing this dramatic alter ego, it became clear that these motor cars could not only exist comfortably beneath this revered and historic brand but they would define a new space within the super-luxury market. In this spirit, the time has come for Rolls-Royce’s boldest and darkest expression of Black Badge yet. The King of the Night, Black Badge Cullinan.”
Back in 2016 at Geneva Motor Show 2016, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars presented Black Badge.
This highly successful alter ego is codified by 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. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars selected this hallmark for Black Badge to reflect its own unrelenting pursuit of power.
While clients can draw on the marque’s 44,000 ‘ready to wear’ paint options or commission an entirely individual Bespoke hue, it is anticipated that many will opt for Black Badge’s signature Black. Multiple layers of paint and lacquer are meticulously applied and hand-polished 10 times at the Home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood, West Sussex, representing the most comprehensive surface finish process ever applied to a solid paint color.
On the prow of the motor car lies the defining expression of Black Badge. The Spirit of Ecstasy mascot, which has taken many forms throughout the marque’s history, is presented in high gloss black chrome. For the first time this finish extends onto its mounting plate, creating the darkest Black Badge yet.
This transformation pervades the other symbols of Black Badge. The ‘Double R’ badge on the front, flanks and aft invert to become silver-on-black, while chrome surfaces such as the front grille surround, side frame finishers, boot handle, boot trim, lower air inlet finisher and exhaust pipes are darkened. 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.
The Rolls Royce Cullinan Black Badge sits on 22-inch forged alloy wheels, reserved exclusively for the model.
The gloss black and polished design also creates the perfect stage for the marque’s first ever coloured brake caliper. The high gloss Red paint has been specifically developed to withstand the rigours of elevated temperatures generated by the motor car’s uprated braking system while still offering a perfectly smooth finish befitting of Rolls-Royce.
This ethos is perfectly embodied by 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 that produce a powerful three-dimensional effect.
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.
Starlight Headliner has joined historical Rolls-Royce iconography such as the Spirit of Ecstasy, Pantheon Grille and ‘Double R’ monogram. Its presence in Black Badge Cullinan intensifies the cabin’s ambience by casting a low light over the lavish leather seats. The fine Black leather, handwoven with 1344 fibre optic lights, it is a true reflection of the sky at night and incorporates eight brilliant white shooting stars that dart at random predominantly over the front occupants, subtly acknowledging the motor car’s owner-driver appeal.
Black Badge clients often use interior space as a stage to create dramatic high contrast colourways, so for Cullinan Rolls-Royce’s Colour and Trim designers created a bold new leather colour, Forge Yellow, to offer as part of the brand’s curated collection. As with all leather colours, this can be commissioned for the motor car’s Viewing Suite or incorporated into the design of a highly Bespoke Recreation Module tailored to the client’s exacting specification.
A final touch completes the interior seating: the Infinity lemniscate motif is embroidered into the fold-down rear arm-rest as an elegant reminder of the power contained within.
Overall design, engineering
Key to the visceral thrill of Black Badge Cullinan is the Architecture of Luxury, Rolls-Royce’s proprietary all-aluminium architecture that debuted with Phantom. The sub-structure not only delivers extraordinary body stiffness but its flexibility and scalability allowed Cullinan to be fitted with all-wheel drive and four-wheel steering in its silver badged guise. These dynamic features have been comprehensively exploited and re-engineered for Black Badge while retaining the peerless quality of ride that has driven Rolls-Royce’s success.
The Architecture of Luxury has been engineered to meet size and weight requirements of different propulsion systems. When the driver presses the ‘Low’ button situated on the gear selection stalk, they unlock Black Badge Cullinan’s full suite of technologies. This is asserted by the proud amplification of the motor car’s 6.75-litre twin-turbocharged V12 through an entirely new exhaust system, announcing its arrival with a deep, authoritative basso profundo.
It was deemed unnecessary to make changes to the engine’s ample internal capacity, however the flexibility of the twin-turbo V12 has been exploited to generate an extra 29 horspowers creating a total output of 590 horsepower. The sense of a single, infinite gear has also been sensationalised with the addition of a further 50NM of torque, bringing the total to a 900NM.
The powertain is matedto a ZF 8-speed gear box and both front and rear steered axles work collaboratively to adjust the levels of engagement depending on throttle and steering inputs. Changes to suspension components and settings add to the suite of dynamic technologies that ensure an appropriate balance between dynamism and refinement. The result is an extremely well-mannered tourer at low speeds and a vivid driver’s device when pressed.
To bolster confidence when exploiting Cullinan’s alter ego, the braking point has been raised and pedal travel decreased. Redesigned brake disc ventilation also allows consistency in these changes while braking at elevated temperatures.
Black Badge Cullinan is now available to commission.