All hail the most powerful Rolls-Royce ever made. It’s the kind of car that’s brought the average customer age down to 43…
SINGAPORE — The Rolls-Royce that Rolls-Royce calls the most potent ever Rolls-Royce is now in Singapore. That’s a lot of Rolls-Royces in a sentence, but the Cullinan Black Badge is a lot of car.
Rolls-Royce importer Eurokars launched the Black Badge at a closed-door event tonight, where Renee Chua (above), the always lovely managing director, introduced it as the “King of the night.”
A regular Cullinan lists for S$1,268,888 without options or certificate of entitlement, and the Black Badge edition costs around S$150,000 more. Incidentally, here’s a pic of a normal Cullinan, for reference:
Buyers (or “clients”, as Rolls-Royce calls them) tend to have fun with the options catalogue, so Cullinans regularly end up costing more than S$1.8m here. What’s a little extra for the Black Badge goodies?
Whatever it is, the outlay on a Black Badge pack won’t buy you something that’s easily missed. The Spirit of Ecstasy, front grille and various bits of trim trade shiny chrome for a dark chip- and scratch-resistant finish, and the Cullinan has red brake calipers — the first time Rolls has done this, incidentally.
Also impossible to miss are the 22-inch wheels, which mix bling with menace surprisingly well.
Inside you’ll find sporty touches like carbon fibre trim and the Starlight Headliner that turns the ceiling into the night sky. This is the first time the Cullinan gets the twinkly headliner, which is lit by more than a thousand fibre optic cables, and in the Black Badge there’s a shooting star mode that puts on a little show.
The Black Badge gets the same 6.75-litre V12 that powers the Cullinan, but tweaked for more power: 600 hp, if you must know, and 900Nm of peak torque. That’s up from 563hp and 850Nm, if you’re counting.
Compared to the regular Cullinan, the Black Badge has sharper throttle and gearbox mapping, firmer suspension and quicker, heavier steering.
All of which seems mighty subversive in what is meant to be the finest sport utility vehicle money can buy.
Yet, that’s entirely the point of Black Badge cars. They offer all the prestige and luxury of a Rolls-Royce but with some serious attitude.
“This really is a car which is absolutely unapologetic, as it should be,” Sven Grunvald (above), product manager at Rolls-Royce Asia Pacific, said at the launch. “It’s still inherits the whole DNA of Rolls-Royce, but with an edge this time.”
The Black Badge cars both reflect and propel a trend that’s seeing younger people put a Rolls in their garage, too. The brand’s average customer is now just 43, or 13 years younger than when current Rolls-Royce Motor Cars chief executive Torsten Müller-Ötvös took over in April 2010.
“I think we adapted ourselves early enough to a new breed of clients, particularly with Black Badge,” Mr Müller-Ötvös told us.
Rolls-Royce itself is on a hot streak. Last year it sold 5,152 cars, and all-time record number. 40 percent of those were Cullinans, although having satisfied the pent up demand for a Rolls SUV, the car should see its sales tail off this year. But if Black Badge and the Cullinan itself are new blood in the Rolls line-up, it’s clear that they bring new blood through the showroom doors.
“Cullinan is a car which reflects, I would call it, these kinds of easygoing attitudes of younger ones. It’s a practical car that’s usable for all sorts of occasions,” Mr Müller-Ötvös said. “The result shows that the understanding of clients is crucial for us. We listen carefully and execute appropriately.”