Review: 2023 Rolls-Royce Ghost Black Badge

Black Badge, a unique trim for the Wraith, Dawn, Cullinan, and Ghost that adds a darker personality, a more engaging drive, and a slightly less traditional Rolls-Royce experience, was created by Rolls-Royce to satisfy a demand for a more youthful and sportier commission.

The Black Badge is special for more reasons than just its 45 kg of black paint, its black finishes on the chrome and Spirit of Ecstacy hood ornaments, or its 44-layer carbon fiber 21-inch wheels. The interior receives special features that aren't available in a standard Ghost, such as the Technical Fibre accents that can be added to the steering wheel, dashboard, and center console parts. Resin-coated carbon is woven with metal-coated thread in a diamond pattern to produce a three-dimensional effect that is more eye-catching than standard carbon fiber.

The 6.75-liter twin-turbocharged V12 gains 28 horsepower and 37 lb-ft of torque for a total of 664 lb-ft of torque and 591 horsepower. While the 8-speed automatic transmission's maximum torque is produced 100 rpm later in the rev range, it accelerates the vehicle from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.7 seconds, which is one tenth of a second faster than before. The braking bite point has been raised, the suspension gets bigger air springs to reduce body roll even more, and the pedal travel has been reduced to make it more responsive to input.

After driving the standard Ghost and the Ghost Black Badge back-to-back, we immediately noticed less body roll around the Sea to Sky Highway's lengthy, sweeping turns. As you accelerate, the ride becomes more fluid. It maintains its levelness and stability with the help of an adaptive air suspension, all-wheel drive, and rear-wheel steering. The latter also significantly reduces the vehicle's turning radius, allowing it to be pushed through parking spaces with the agility of a BMW 3 Series. With just one finger, you can turn this 2,490 kg land yacht, and minor road tremors are muffled into barely audible shudders for the occupants. It resembles an on-road Shinkansen.

But the Black Badge doesn't really come to life until you press the Low Mode button on the gear stalk. Consider it a sport mode for the gearshifts; however, it also opens a valve in the Black Badge's new exhaust system, giving the Ghost an additional acoustic dimension. With every inch of throttle depressed, the V12 sings and grows in volume with a deep, mellow, and baritone roar, amplifying noise rather than dampening it. When you let off the gas, it even makes a faint burbling sound that makes us think of the BMW M760Li, which has the same engine.

The Ghost accelerates smoothly and effortlessly at full throttle, but now with a greater sense of urgency. No matter what gear or RPM you are in, there is a ton of thrust, and gear changes are equally seamless and smooth. Hustling it at higher speeds reveals a delicate balance of mechanical and electronic genius, losing little faith in recreational blasts while at the same time, muting all the outside annoyances and letting the V12 engine's purity shine through.

Black Badge instills an alter ego that can be called upon with the touch of a button, but it does not completely transform or reinvent the traditional Rolls-Royce driving experience of wafting you from A to B. On a winding back road, it won't be as thrilling to drive as a BMW M5 or Mercedes-AMG E 63, but it will feel just as rewarding.

The rest of the film is typical Ghost fare, which is to say an incredible feat of automotive engineering. The power-operated picnic tables, the Starlight Headliner, which fires off shooting stars in arbitrary patterns every ten seconds, and the self-closing, power-assisted front and rear doors are all entertaining features that never get old.

In addition to lowering the average age of Rolls-Royce owners, Black Badge has given the product a greater sense of dynamic acuity and now represents 27% of all their orders. It's now more about enhancing its visual and vocal presence rather than just blocking out unwanted noise and isolating yourself from the outside world. The end result is one of the most luxurious four-wheeled modes of transportation.


  • Model: 2023 Rolls-Royce Ghost Black Badge
  • Paint Type: Black Diamond
  • Base Price: $460,400
  • Price as Tested: $508,625
  • Wheelbase(mm): 3,295
  • Length/Width/Height (mm): 5,546 / 2,148 / 1,571
  • Unladen weight (kg): 2,490
  • Engine: 6.75-litre twin-turbocharged V12
  • Horsepower: 591 hp @ 5,250 - 5,750 rpm
  • Torque: 664 lb-ft @ 1,700 - 4,250 rpm
  • Transmission: 8-speed automatic
  • Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, AWD

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