Review: Rolls-Royce Wraith And Rolls-Royce Ghost (Black Badge Editions)
It’s probably safe to say that if you’re in the market for a Rolls-Royce, you’re suitably equipped in the monetary department. One could also argue that you’re of a certain age, and that you’re satisfied with the gargantuan amounts of power and torque that cars like the Ghost and the Wraith offer right out of the box. It turns out, however, that this isn’t always the case.
Rolls-Royce says that a number of younger gazillionaires are buying the Wraith (their most powerful offering) and the Ghost, and that they’re then proceeding to hand them over to aftermarket outfits, for further enhancements in the performance and cosmetic departments. The very thought of these vulgar attempts probably made the folks at Rolls-Royce cringe, and so they decided that they would make special versions of these two cars that came with factory-level power and kit upgrades – the Black Badge editions.
Now, if you consider the fact that the ‘standard’ Wraith has a 6.6-litre V12 engine that makes 625 bhp and a totally unbelievable 800 Nm of torque, you would rightly assume that anyone wanting even more performance was not possessed of a full set of marbles. Nevertheless, the Wraith Black Badge now makes 870 Nm of tyreshredding torque, and has had its gear change pattern and throttle weighting fettled, to offer an even more responsive feel. The Ghost’s engine has received a more comprehensive upgrade, with power and torque figures now at 600 bhp and 840 Nm (up by 40 bhp and 60 Nm respectively). All this wild excess translates to… not a whole lot, actually – and I mean that in a good way.
In a Rolls-Royce, whether you’re in the driver’s seat or luxuriating at the back, you’re literally in a world of your own. There could be a riot raging outside, but you probably wouldn’t notice, such is the Roller’s level of refinement. Even at speeds close to 200 kph, the Wraith and Ghost simply whisper their way along the road, and if they come across any pesky little potholes or other imperfections, it’s almost as if they scare the road into instantly repairing itself – you barely feel or hear a thing. In the Black Badge versions, if you listen very carefully, you’ll probably be able to discern more of a growl from the engine, but that’s about it – you won’t really be able to tell the difference in acceleration figures (which are monumental, by the way – 0 to 100 kph in under four seconds, which is essentially like drag racing a small cottage).
The Wraith and Ghost Black Badge do what it says on the cover – they look very black indeed, to the extent that even the Spirit of Ecstasy on the bonnet is black. The silver and chrome accents on the outside have been kept to a bare minimum, with the enormous wheels (the rims of which are made of 22 layers of carbonfibre) taking up most of the chrome parade. The cabins have bright blue (Wraith) and purple (Ghost) themes respectively, blended with plenty of black, but since these are Rollers, you can option them in literally any colour you want, and ask for various other whims and fancies to be built into the cabin (fun fact – all the wood in a Rolls-Royce you order comes from one tree, so that the patterns match). Naturally, the level of fit and finish is incredible, and sitting at the back is as close to flying business class on the ground as you’ll get.
I’ll wager that the percentage of self-driven Rollers is small, but if you’re in the mood, there’s some fun to be had at the wheel, especially of the Wraith. You simply can’t go wrong with that much power and torque, so the entertainment factor lies mainly in flooring the throttle and making the car streak towards the horizon, all the while cocooned in your Presidential Suite. The brakes on both cars have been uprated, to deal with the extra oomph from the engines, and they come in very useful when you do something as unusual as throwing a Rolls-Royce around a set of corners. It’s astonishing, the manner in which these cars grip the road and power through, with barely a hint of body roll; by rights, they should behave like drunken aircraft carriers. With this level of performance and comfort on offer, straight out of the factory, you’d have to be mildly unhinged to want to modify these cars any further – but if you do, give us a call, since we’d very much like to drive them.