If you thought Rolls-Royce’s SUV couldn’t get any more excessive, think again: the Black Badge Cullinan has arrived with a darker, even more dramatic vision of off-road luxury. Latest in the Black Badge series, the heavily customized Cullinan not only looks different, it coaxes more power from the 6.75-liter V12 engine.
Rolls-Royce launched the Black Badge series back in 2016, a darker, moodier vision of its cars aiming to coax a younger audience behind the wheel. It turned out to be unexpectedly successful. According to the automaker, one in five new Rolls-Royce commissions is a Black Badge model.
With that reception, it comes as little surprise that the Cullinan is getting the Black Badge treatment. On the outside it’s a much stealthier color palette, with multiple layers of paint and lacquer that are then hand-polished for up to five hours. It leaves a smoky luster that pairs nicely with the high-gloss black chrome Spirit of Ecstasy.
The Rolls-Royce badging is inverted, silver on black, and the front grille surround, side frame finishes, trunk handle and trim, lower air inlet finisher, and the tailpipes are all darkened. The grille’s vertical bars remain polished for contrast. New, 22-inch forged alloy wheels in a dark finish are combined with a first for Rolls-Royce: high gloss red brake calipers.
Inside, the emphasis on hand-finishing and unusual materials continues. There’s a new carbon-fiber with repeating geometrical shapes for a 3D-effect, which the automaker is referring to as Technical Fiber. That gets six coats of lacquer and is then hand-polished to a mirror finish.
The Starlight Headliner is available on the Cullinan for the first time, a black leather roof liner with 1,344 individual fiber optic stars. It gets a new shooting star feature, with eight white stars that dart at random across occupants’ heads. To contrast the black, there’s a new Forge Yellow finish for the leather, part of the curated collection of highlight trims. It’s available on the Bespoke Viewing Suite – the fold-out seats in the trunk for the most lavish tailgating – or for the Recreation Module, the cargo cube in the trunk.
It’s not just aesthetics that sets the Black Badge models apart, Rolls-Royce adding more power as well. In the case of the Cullinan Black Badge, that means 29 hp more from the V12, taking it to 600 horsepower. Torque, too, is up, and now clocks in at 663 lb-ft. Hit the “Low” button on the shift selector and the new Black Badge audible exhaust gives a more fitting soundtrack, along with a more aggressive shift pattern for the 8-speed transmission.
All-wheel drive is standard, of course, as is all-wheel steering, but there’s a new, raised braking bite point and decreased pedal travel. The brake disks have been redesigned, too, for better performance. 0-60 mph takes 4.9 seconds, while the top speed is an electronically-limited 155 mph. Rolls-Royce says you could still get 12 mpg in the city, mind, or 20 mpg on the highway, depending on how you drive.
The order books for the 2020 Rolls-Royce Black Badge Cullinan are open now, with the even-more-exclusive SUV priced from $382,000.