With the creation of the badass Ghost Black Badge and Wraith Black Badge last year, Rolls-Royce shed its stuffy image forever. The "evil twins" of the iconic Rolls models, built to emphasize the marque's bespoke prowess, they appealed to younger patrons with a penchant for more menacing, avant-garde design. Now at the 2017 Goodwood Festival of Speed this week Rolls is unveiling a new member of the band – the Dawn Black Badge, based on its already ultra-cool convertible.
The Dawn is already known as "the most glamorous, uncompromising expression of open-top luxury in the world." But who says a convertible has to be sunny and cheerful? The suite of Black Badge engineering and design treatments applied to the Wraith give it the look and feel of a stealth fighter – one built entirely by hand with no expense spared.
Of course, the Dawn Black Badge is painted black – but we're talking multiple layers of paint and lacquer, painstakingly applied and hand-polished in what Rolls says is the most exhaustive painting and polishing process ever used for a solid paint color. The result is the deepest, darkest and most intense black ever to grace a production car. The soft roof is made of black canvas while the rear deck is finished in black leather.
That's just the beginning. Rolls created an entirely new luxury material inspired by the company's aviation heritage and echoing advanced production techniques for stealth aircraft for the interior surfaces. Super-thin threads of aircraft grade aluminum were woven together and then bonded in carbon fibre before being finished with six coats of hand polished lacquer to achieve Rolls’s hallmark black mirror finish.
That's set off by the world's most exquisite deep black leather accented with Mandarin orange highlights, including a strip of orange leather encircling the cabin at hip-height, evoking the sunset before the passengers are "immersed in darkness." And the famed Spirit of Ecstasy on the bonnet is transformed into a "high-gloss vamp", finished in a perfectly executed jet black chrome, also used for the front grille surround, boot lid finisher, exhaust pipes and air inlet finisher.
Finally, the ‘Double R’ signifiers on the Rolls-Royce badges are inverted in color, in a nod to the fact that this is the darker alter-ego of the original Dawn. All this would be mere window-dressing if Rolls hadn't also tinkered with the engine a bit. The first cue is the menacing bass-baritone that issues forth courtesy of an entirely new exhaust system deployed by engaging the "Low" button, announcing the Black Badge Dawn's arrival with "authority rather than hysteria."
Rolls engineers have exploited the possibilities of the Dawn’s awesome 6.6 litre twin-turbo V12 to generate an extra 30 bhp over the car’s already impressive 563 bhp, bringing the total to 593 bhp. Then they teased another 20 NM of torque to bring the eye-popping total to 840 NM. If you're the type that doesn't have to ask "how much", Rolls is now opening its order books for the fearsome machine. But best be quick about it....