At last year’s Geneva Motor Show, Rolls-Royce revealed the first models in its new Black Badge range, taking both the Ghost saloon and Wraith fastback in a more aggressive direction. Now it’s applied the same treatment to their open-top counterpart.
Set to debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this weekend, the Black Badge Dawn is (as the name would suggest) all murdered out in black. But as with its stablemates, there’s more to the special edition than meets the eye.
For starters, the luxury automaker has upgraded the 6.6-liter twin-turbo V12 to 593 horsepower and 620 lb-ft of torque – still shy of the 603 and 624 hp respectively offered in the Black Badge Ghost and Wraith, respectively, but a solid 30 horsepower and 45 lb-ft of torque more than stock. Crucially, the upgrades put the edgier Dawn in closer competition with the Bentley Continental GT Speed, which puts out more power at 633 hp but slightly less torque at 620 lb-ft. The top topless Roller still falls well short, though, of the Continental Supersports (700 hp/750 lb-ft), as well for that matter as the Mercedes-Maybach S650 Cabriolet (621/738).
Rolls has also tightened up the suspension, gearbox, steering, and throttle response, fitted bigger brakes, and equipped it with a variable exhaust system for an altogether sportier feel. And of course there’s the visual enhancements. The special Dawn features a black paint job that Rolls calls “the most exhaustive painting and polishing process ever used for a solid paint color.” The brightwork is all blacked out – right down to the Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament – while the fabric roof is done up in black canvas, the rear deck in black leather, and the entire interior blacked out, too, offset by orange highlights.
The sum total is what Goodwood calls “the most uncompromising expression of open-top luxury in the world,” and with the order book now open, each example is sure to sell for a considerable premium over what’s already one of the most expensive convertibles on the market.