By Shereen Shabnam
Recently we toured different parts of Abu Dhabi in the new Cullinan Black Badge – the darkest, most urban expression of a Black Badge motor car yet from Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. We were amongst the first in the Middle East to drive the cars in the Black Badge Collection and joining me was the founder of the Women’s World car of the Year Awards, Sandy Myhre.
The ambience in the car, from hand painted techniques inspired by modern art to the innovative woven leather panelling on the doors made the Black Badge model line-up a modern masterpiece.
The car clearly appeals to a more adventurous super-luxury SUV clients as it combines genuine practicality with off-road capability and our drive experience was effortless on the different routes we explored in the Capital.
The Rolls-Royce of SUVs aims for clients looking for access to the world’s wildest places and most enriching experiences and it is perhaps the domineering presence of the new Black Badge Cullinan that inspires one to conquer new urban frontiers.
The car is dubbed as ‘The King of the Night’ for good reason as it has the option of being bought in Black Badge’s signature Black which at night gives it a mysterious aura. Multiple layers of paint and lacquer are meticulously applied and hand-polished 10 times at the Home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood, West Sussex, representing the most comprehensive surface finish process ever applied to a solid paint colour.
For once, even the Spirit of Ecstasy mascot, which has taken many forms throughout the marque’s history, is presented in high gloss black chrome, creating the darkest Black Badge yet.
Inside, the Black Badge Cullinan blends comfort, bold aesthetics, advanced materials and precise, meticulous craftsmanship into a comfortable space with audacious design. There are a few upgrades on the dash and centre console that stands out but the highlight was the starlight roof that is customizable and we could select a star pattern of our choice complete with a shooting star feature.
The Architecture of Luxury in the Black Badge Cullinan has been engineered to meet size and weight requirements of different propulsion systems. When the driver presses the ‘Low’ button, it unlocks Black Badge Cullinan’s full suite of technologies. This is asserted by the amplification of the motor car’s 6.75-litre twin-turbocharged V12 through an entirely new exhaust system. The flexibility of the twin-turbo V12 has been exploited to generate an extra 29PS creating a total output of 600PS. The sense of a single, infinite gear has also been sensationalised with the addition of a further 50NM of torque, bringing the total to a 900NM.
The drive-train, ZF 8-speed gear box and both front and rear steered axles work collaboratively to adjust the levels of engagement depending on throttle and steering inputs. There are changes to the suspension components and settings that ensure an appropriate balance between dynamism and refinement. The result is an extremely well-mannered tourer at low speeds and a vivid driver’s device when pressed.
Overall, we felt majestic during the whole drive experience – every last element in the Black Badge Cullinan was designed with perfection.