The Rolls Royce Culllinan is already an imposing SUV to share the road with thanks to its elegant styling, as well as the very high levels of equipment that buyers can use to coddle themselves in world class luxury. We got a taste of this ourselves this summer, but for buyers looking for more intimidation and exclusivity from their luxury SUV purchase, Rolls Royce has come full circle, and has unveiled the all new Cullinan Black Badge.
Like other Black Badge models, the Cullinan Black Badge is designed to push the big Roller into a higher plane of performance. But before we get into that, we might as well address the decidedly more sinister motif that defines its exterior styling. Hand polished paint covers all the sheet model, while the Spirit of Ecstasy badge wears the trademark black dress and adornments that signify its darker persona. Matching dark chrome accents further highlight the Cullinan’s trip to the dark side, with the front grille surround, side frame finishers, as well as the exhaust tips dipped in black accents. The Black Badge Cullinan also wears all new 22-inch wheels finished in an all new two tone silver and black finish. The wheels are wrapped around massive brake rotors that are adorned with red calipers. The latter is actually a first for Rolls Royce, with none of their prior models ever offering red calipers.
The interior also benefits from its fair share of black accents, while the dashboard and center console feature a trim exclusive carbon fiber finish that helps create a three dimensional effect. It is certainly a contrast when compared with the warm wood trim and the white/teal leather accents that helped the define the Cullinan we tested in Metro Detroit. Rolls Royce’s starlight headliner (a long time Rolls Royce signature element that has been noticeably been absent in the Cullinan) finally makes its debut in the big SUV. Like in the Ghost Zenith Edition, the headliner even adds a moving shooting star element for more realism. Meanwhile, the black interior can be contrasted with optional Forged Yellow leather accents which helps create a bold styling statement, However, the Black Badge treatment as a whole is more than just adorning the Cullinan with a new set of clothes and calling it a day.
Rather, it also infuses the recipient with enhanced levels of performance, and this trait is boldly present here in the Cullinan as well. For instance, the Cullinan’s carryover twin-turbocharged V12 has been upgraded to produce 600 horsepower and 664 lb-ft of torque, which is a nice upgrade over the already potent 563 horsepower and 627 lb-ft of torque found in the standard model. An all new “Low” button on the gearshift letter helps give the Black Badge a more conspicuous exhaust note when you want to stand out from the crowd a bit more. Along with the engine improvements, Rolls Royce engineers also tweaked the suspension to help the big SUV cope with the extra horsepower, as well as improve its dancing manners when it encounters a twisting road. An all new “Intuitive Throttle” function allows the silky eight speed automatic transmission to offer a more aggressive and involving shift pattern, while upgrades to the gas and brake pedals help reduce pedal travel, and even offer a better brake point than its slightly tamer counterpart.
The Rolls Royce Cullinan Black Badge is available for customers to order now, but Rolls has not released official pricing for the addition of this package. However, based on our prior experience with the rest of the Black Badge family, look for the addition of all this performance to be a significant premium on top of the $382,000 base price that is already wielded by the base Cullinan. Our well equipped tester crossed the $400,000 barrier, so look for the Black Badge to stray closer to the $500,000 barrier. This is a significant chunk of change for a performance SUV, but the Cullinan has proved time and time again to be a potent benchmark in the segment, and the features and driving experience are certainly worth the high entry fee for the few who can afford it.
Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.
Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.