Rolls-Royce has done the unthinkable by bringing out an edgy performance line called the ‘Black Badge.’ It was first done on the Wraith and Ghost, but now they are bringing the same concept to their mega drop top, the Dawn.
The Dawn is the convertible for the ultra rich folks of the world. It’s massive, like all Rolls-Royces are, and it’s about as luxurious as a cabriolet gets. Yet even with that Rolls Royce has given this gentrified Dawn a sinister twist, all in the effort to attract a younger crowd. Seriously. The brand that has made millions on the wealthy older generation that savors the experience of silence over performance is now looking to attract essentially the exact opposite type of clientele.
With a new emphasis on performance, the Black Badge Series is taking over as a go-to alternative for those looking for something a little less formal, and a little more sinister. The real question is does it check the boxes that the younger folk will be looking for? Being of that dreaded generation that falls under the title Millennial, I will happily accept the challenge of dissecting the new Black Badge series.
Let us analyze from the outside inwards. If you are fishing to compliment the English brand you can always utter the obvious, ‘You can’t miss a Rolls Royce.’ It rings true. They are massive in both size and style, demanding your attention with their presence. Seeing one on the street is like happening on a Yacht that is parked downtown, it steals your attention without hesitation. In stock trim they are gaze-worthy, yet in Black Badge form, they are utterly mesmerizing. The exterior has been ‘blacked out’ to a legendary extent, with just enough polished metal to keep it classy. If Al Capone was reincarnated as a car, this would most certainly be it.
The interior keeps up the true gangster trend. Full of luscious black leather with a dab of orange detailing, the Black Badge manages to be subdued while maintaining that same level of class as before. The interior trim is finished like any other Black Badge, using a combination of razor thin carbon fiber and aluminum wound together. After six coats of lacquer, the interior is polished to a mirror-like finish. The only thing this interior lacks is a place to hang your tommy gun, it’s that classic. The Dawn even has suicide doors, the trademark of a classic mob made car.
The Black Badge Dawn isn’t simply an aesthetic upgrade either. It’s a performance upgrade as well. The twin turbo 6.6-liter V12 gets a small but noticeable bump, gaining 30hp and 15ft-lbs of torque. The power sounds impressive at 593 hp and 619lb-ft of torque, until you factor in that the Dawn weighs an astonishing 5,700lbs. Even still the mega vert will stride to 60 in just 4.3-seconds. Yet if you have the kind of money where you can afford such a prestigious car, you likely have all the time in the world.
What impresses most about the Dawn is its versatility. The Black Badge model maintains its status as the luxury vehicle to have, but it’s also subtle enough that I can actually see owning it. It walks the line between the elite and the rest of the world better than Philippe Petit walks a high-wire. Better yet is the ride quality. The Dawn is well known for being the quietest convertible in the world, while the suspension has been sharpened it still maintains that ride quality that Rolls-Royce is known for. It’s a ride truly fit for a king, or king pin. It’s the type of car that you have a business meeting inside, while the exterior lets every passer-by know to keep walking.
So does it win the hearts of those intended? I think so. I normally scoff and roll my eyes anytime someone utters the words ‘Rolls Royce.’ You know, like a typical millennial. Yet the Black Badge has replaced the needless bling with attitude, stirring the luxury enthusiast deep inside. If I were rolling in money to the point I wanted to gloat, the Black Badge series would absolutely be high on my list. Yet at $341,000 a piece, not sure how many folks from the younger generation they are going to find that can afford one. Except for maybe a young scarface. And in that case, the Black Badge would be perfect.