2022 Rolls-Royce Black Badge Ghost
Elegance and performance combined
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ATTORNEYS WILL TELL YOU THAT
when a brand reaches the upper echelons of success, its trademark can attain a secondary meaning. The name “Rolls-Royce” achieved that success decades ago, so a product tagline that says “the Rolls-Royce of [fill in the blank]” tells the consumer that the product is extremely well designed, is made of high-quality materials, will stand the test of time, and will be the best there is. (Note: If that product is made by someone who doesn’t have a license from Rolls-Royce to use the name, that will not be a very long-standing or conflict-free marketing campaign.) Throughout its storied career-since its founding over 115 years ago – Rolls-Royce has earned a well-deserved reputation as the creator of the most elegant and well-built of cars, many of which are still on the road today.
Of course, I knew that when I was offered a loan of the latest Rolls- Royce model, a Black Badge Ghost edition, I was in for a treat. I would get to drive a beautiful car that was well made, fun to drive, solid, high- performing, and reliable. I experienced that, and then some.
The Ghost is one of four Rolls-Royce models for sale today – the other three being the larger and more imperial Phantom (an elegant and B-I-G four-door sedan, often chauffeur-driven), the Cullinan (the most sophisticated of SUVs), and the Spectre coupe. All are distinctive and stunning and achieve their purposes beautifully. The Ghost is the four-door sedan that is often driven by the owner, not a chauffeur, and is the smallest of the current Rolls-Royce sedans, though it’s by no means a small car. It is roughly the size of a BMW 7 series sedan (six inches longer but almost the identical height and width), but the two don’t share looks, interiors or even power plants. The Black Badge Ghost is the “bad boy” of Ghosts, as the Black Badge package (at $43,850) brings with it a blacked-out and illuminated grille, black rims, black Spirit of Ecstasy (the hood ornament), and a handful of other noir delights.
When the car arrived, I was immediately struck by its imposing presence. The car exudes quality and stature and, with “mine” being a stunning gray with shiny black trim, it looked at once classic and modern, which may be the motto of the Black Badge Rollers. Where once the shiniest of chrome was “de rigueur,” now dark trim, a dark grille (which is beautifully illuminated), dark wheels, and dark window
surrounds abound. I should have suspected that my Rolls was going
to be a performer when I saw that the color was called “Burnout Grey.” (What, you thought Poupon Grey would be more fitting?)
But wait, there’s more. The Black Badge also bumps the horsepower and torque above those specs in the standard Ghost, and Rolls-Royce states this will move the stately sedan from 0-60 mph in under 4.5 seconds. That is a remarkable feat: The car weighs in at about 5,600 pounds, yet the acceleration could beat most hot rods from the 1960s. (Two other differences are that the Rolls also handles and stops!) All Ghosts sport a twin-turbo V-12 motor but, at 592 horsepower, the Black Badge puts out about 30 horsepower more than the standard Ghost power plant.
The base price (a difficult choice of words, as nothing about this car is “base”) is $393,500, but mine was the beneficiary of a very liberal ordering clerk and had options totaling about $93,000. With destination, handling, and gas guzzler taxes, the window sticker was $492,250.
I suspect that most Black Badge owners drive theirs as I did, as the car is so responsive and — surprising to many – handles really well. The mileage may vary (as they say), but I was getting about 15 mpg. (If that’s really important to you, check out my upcoming article on the Rolls-Royce Spectre, the all-electric beauty that’s just been announced.) Some of the special features on my car are included in the Black Badge package, such as lambswool foot mats (my wife’s favorite), but most — such as high-gloss interior veneer, contrast stitching for the R-R insignia on the headrests, body-colored grille, etc. – really seem mandatory if one were to buy a Rolls-Royce.
My week with this beauty came to an end much too quickly. I enjoyed driving it on a short trip to Newport Beach as well as on the roads and freeways around Los Angeles. I was comfortable driving and parking the Black Badge and was grateful for the numerous cameras, which produced a terrific view of front, back, and side. But mostly, I enjoyed the pure luxury of driving a gorgeous machine that felt safe, comfortable, responsive, and elegant everywhere I went.
Thank you, Rolls-Royce, for over a century of luxury, class, elegance, and beauty on four wheels.