Driving a car worth nearly $500,000 is a great way to attract attention, especially from law enforcement. During our first drive of the 2022 Rolls-Royce Ghost Black Badge, a wrong turn away from the programmed drive route took us near the US-Mexico border and landed a surprise encounter with a handful of concerned border patrol agents.
In theory, the Black Badge and its all-black aesthetic should've flown under the radar better than a chromed-out Rolls with sparkly paint. However, once a border patrol agent leaning over the window of a Volkswagen Vento caught a glimpse of this sinister sedan, it didn't take long for us to get flagged into an immigration checkpoint.
After explaining that the fleet of $500,000 all-black Ghost's roaming the area was, in fact, not a movie villain meetup, they eventually let us go. While this encounter thankfully didn't escalate, it proved that even at a distance, the Ghost Black Badge is instantly recognizable as something expensive with an ominous aesthetic.
|Quick Stats||2022 Rolls-Royce Ghost Black Badge|
|Engine:||Twin-Turbocharged 6.8-liter V12|
|Output:||591 Horsepower / 664 Pound-Feet|
|0-60 MPH:||4.5 Seconds|
|Top Speed:||155 MPH|
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Gallery: 2022 Rolls-Royce Ghost Black Badge: First Drive
Turning A Yacht Into A Speedboat
This 2022 model is the second generation of the Ghost to receive the Black Badge treatment. However, this time around, the British carmaker gave this sedan more than just a power bump, extensively revising its suspension components and creating a truly sporty sedan in the process.
The familiar 6.8-liter V12 underhood now puts out 591 horsepower and 664 pound-feet, marking a 28 hp and 37 lb-ft increase over the standard Ghost. Like the standard car, a ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic routes the power to all four wheels
The Ghost Black Badge rockets off the line, with peak torque arriving between 1700 to 4250 rpm.
Like the Cullinan Black Badge, the Ghost features Rolls-Royce's Low mode (essentially the brand's sport mode). In the Ghost, Low mode retunes the transmission to shift up to 50-percent faster when you squeeze the throttle past 90 percent. The result of the updated powertrain and retuned transmission is a 0-60 mph time of 4.5 seconds, making it one-tenth of a second quicker than the standard car.
In practice, the Ghost Black Badge rockets off the line, with peak torque arriving between 1700 to 4250 rpm. While its torque delivery is nearly identical to that of the standard car, the sporty Low mode and its quick shifts make the Black Badge’s acceleration feel more dramatic when you’ve got your foot in it. However, around town in normal driving conditions, Low mode's effects are nearly imperceptible since you’ll rarely use more than 90 percent throttle.
The larger air springs found in the Black Badge firm up its suspension considerably, keeping the Ghost stable even when slushing its massive 5,500-lb body around some bends. As with the addition of Low mode, the changes to the suspension are imperceptible in the city, with the Black Badge remaining as comfortable as you'd expect a Rolls-Royce to be.
Despite what its name might imply, the 2022 Rolls-Royce Black Badge is available in any color you can think of, although the carmaker offers 44,000 to start.
Another update that remains hidden until pushed is the all-new exhaust system. In most driving scenarios, the Black Badge is no louder than the standard car. However, with Low mode engaged, lifting off the throttle reveals some BMW-style pops from the exhaust. While they are subtle, the pops' low frequency allows them to permeate the cabin.
In terms of stopping power, the Ghost Black Badge carries over the brakes from the standard model. Rolls-Royce's engineers raised the brake pedal’s bite point and reduced its travel, but went a bit too far trying to make slowing down as sporty as speeding up. Push the brakes and you’ll get little initial response, requiring a proper stomp to get good stopping power.
A Darkened Look That Commands Attention
Despite what its name might imply, the 2022 Rolls-Royce Black Badge is available in any color you can think of, although the carmaker offers 44,000 to start. Unique to this latest iteration of the Black Badge is the Black Diamond finish. Comprised of five layers, this new color requires 100 pounds of paint. In the flesh, the dark finish has extreme depth and shine, especially outside in natural light, matching up nicely with the Black Badge's dark trim.
While it may appear so in photos, Rolls-Royce didn't opt to paint the Black Badge's trim pieces in gloss black. Instead, the British carmaker utilizes a method that introduces a chrome electrolyte to the process they typically use to chrome plate stainless steel. The chrome absorbs this new element and darkens in the process. The goal is to prevent these trim pieces from chipping over time as they would with traditional paint.
The Black Badge’s 21-inch wheels feature barrels comprised of 22 layers of carbon fiber folded onto themselves, creating 44 total layers. While the reduction in unsprung weight won’t be felt in a 5,500-lb sedan, they make for an upgrade that is fun to look at and easy to brag about.
As even the border patrol agents noticed, our Black Badge tester carried a sinister aesthetic that commands attention. At night, the all-black look allows other elements in the Ghost's design, such as its LED headlights and tail lights, to stand out.
Refining Carbon Fiber
Stepping into the 2022 Rolls-Royce Ghost reveals the extensive use of a material that isn't commonly associated with the brand's interiors: carbon fiber. However, instead of utilizing the type of weave pattern you'd expect to see in a sports car, the British carmaker came up with its own. The diamond-style weave incorporates metallic fibers, so the material shines, giving it a flashy aesthetic. Its execution makes it hard to tell that it's carbon at a glance. Regardless, its shine looks undoubtedly expensive, perfectly suiting the Black Badge's aesthetic.
Thankfully, the performance-oriented upgrades of the Black Badge did not include altering its seats. As you'd expect with a nearly $500,000 price tag, the Ghost is comfortable regardless of where you sit. Upfront, the heated and cooled 10-way adjustable seats are enormous yet supportive in all the right places.
The Ghost Black Badge carries over the standard model's digital gauges and infotainment screen, which utilizes BMW's iDrive system as its base. Operated by touch or the dial in the center console, Rolls-Royce's version of the system is easy to navigate, allowing for quick adjustments while on the move. The only drawback of the navigation system is its color scheme, which makes it difficult to follow directions at a glance. Thankfully, Apple CarPlay comes standard, although it is only accessible through a wired connection. Android Auto isn't even an option.
An Updated Ghost With An Updated Price Tag
As tested, the 2022 Rolls-Royce Ghost Black Badge we drove comes in at $484,950. This enormous sum starts with the $332,500 you'll need for the standard Ghost. The Black Badge package then adds $43,850 and includes the updated powertrain, suspension, and wheels mentioned earlier.
The 100-lb Black Diamond paint is the next most expensive option at $12,525, while the ultra-comfortable seats cost $10,775. Top things off with color contrasting leather, picnic tables, and upgraded umbrellas, and you end up with a total of $152,450 in optional extras over a standard Ghost.
From a pricing perspective, the Ghost Black Badge doesn't have a clear competitor. For example, the Bentley Flying Spur starts at $219,425, while the Mercedes-Maybach S650 is cheaper at $202,550. As a result, the Ghost stands well over $100,000 above its closest competitor. However, that doesn't mean i it’s a six-figure improvement over the others.
In terms of luxury, its cheaper rivals come close to matching the Ghost's ride quality, material choice, and refinement. However, what sets the Rolls-Royce apart is how well it executes that slim margin that ends up making all the difference. With its beefed-up engine, revised suspension, and extensive use of unique materials, the Black Badge perfectly walks a thin line between a driver-focused luxury car and an ultra-high-end sedan.
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Gallery: 2022 Rolls-Royce Ghost Black Badge: First Drive
2022 Rolls-Royce Ghost Black Badge