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2020 Rolls-Royce Wraith Black Badge review: Quick drive

$632,700 $752,400 Dealer
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There's nothing more satisfying than knowing you're driving around in a car that nobody has. It's even more satisfying when it sports a twin-turbocharged V12 engine.
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There's something majestic about a Rolls-Royce. No matter how many times you see one, you're always stopping for a second glance.

That's partly thanks to the fact you will rarely ever see two of the same vehicle. Most customers that purchase a Rolls-Royce will spend time with their dealer going over customisations to personalise their new car.

This latest iteration of the two-door Wraith is no exception – the Wraith Black Badge was created with the sole aim of upping torque output and creating a slightly more dynamic drive in comparison to the 'standard' Wraith.

Black Badge variants of the Wraith use a 6.6-litre twin-turbocharged V12 engine that produces 465kW of power and 870Nm of torque (in comparison to 820Nm in regular Wraith variants).

Shooting from 0–100km/h now takes 4.5 seconds (down from 4.6), with a top speed of 250km/h – not bad for a 2440kg coupe.

Rolls-Royce decks out Black Badge variants with, you guessed it, black badges. Buyers can also opt for a black Spirit of Ecstasy to match the black theme around the rest of the car.

This particular specification strikes a stunning pose finished in Belladonna Purple bespoke paintwork. It's a dark purple that suits the black highlights beautifully.

The 21-inch carbon composite five-spoke alloy wheels further enhance its appeal, but it's the interior that really hits it for six.

As you open the door, there's an almost immediate feeling of wanting to take your shoes off. The deep-pile carpet is created from lamb's wool and is deep enough to sink your fingers into.

The colour combination of this specification was on point, too, with black used throughout the interior, and offset with white door pockets and dashboard lining.

Further customisations inside the cabin included the fibre-optic Starlight Headliner, Rolls-Royce Bespoke audio, and the Spirit of Ecstasy embossment on the headrests.

Passengers in the second row won't hate being nestled in there for longer drives. There's plenty of space, even for taller adults.

You won't find any part of the interior that feels cheap and nasty. It's all meticulously presented with premium materials used throughout. Of course, you also get umbrellas built into the doors for those muggy, wet days.

While most elements of the cabin are bespoke to Rolls-Royce, the infotainment system will be familiar to BMW drivers. BMW owns Rolls-Royce, and as a result the brand uses a mildly modified version of iDrive as the core infotainment unit.

That's a good thing, because the 10.25-inch infotainment screen is easy to use and will be familiar to drivers that have used a BMW system before.

Ahead of the driver are a set of analogue gauges with a central LCD screen between the tachometer and speedometer. Also included is a head-up display. Unique to Rolls-Royce is a power meter instead of a conventional tachometer.

Hit the throttle and the power reserve moves all the way from 100 per cent to zero per cent available.

On the road, it's impossible to match the Wraith for ride quality. Despite its size, it's easy enough to place on the road, with each corner of the car visible from the driver's seat.

The V12 engine is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission that uses GPS guidance to shift gears, which helps smooth out the shifting process, but also ensures there is torque on tap on the exit of a corner, virtually eliminating hunting through the gearbox.

Despite remaining dead silent inside the cabin, if you hit the throttle, the Wraith Black Badge propels ahead at phenomenal pace. It relentlessly hurtles towards the horizon with barely a groan emitted inside the cabin.

Torque is sent through the rear wheels, and surprisingly they're able to maintain traction even with a hearty throttle jab off the line. Featuring 285mm-wide rear tyres and 255mm-wide front treads, there's ample traction to keep the huge amount of torque contained.

Dynamically, the Wraith Black Badge won't bother anything even remotely sporty through corners – the steering is fairly numb and you certainly feel its weight as pace increases – but it's not about that kind of driving. It's more about straight-line speed and getting there in absolute comfort – it does these things perfectly.

Somewhat irrelevant to owners will be the 14.6 litres of fuel it consumes per 100km on the combined cycle, or its thirst for 98RON premium unleaded fuel.

We only had a brief stint with the car, but can say with confidence that there's nothing on the market that comes close to the Wraith in terms of luxury and exclusivity – it really is in a league of its own.

That's why it commands an asking price of $895,000 (including on-road costs).

Is it worth it? It's the same rationale a person follows when buying something like an exclusive Rolex. It tells the time like most other watches, but it's in a league of its own when it comes to exclusivity.

The Wraith Black Badge is much the same: you're unlikely to ever see another one on the road at the same time, and if you do, it'll be in its own unique specification.

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