It’s a strange time – the world has effectively come to a standstill and things we previously took for granted are now considered luxuries. But where does that put items that were never meant for the frugal, reserved exclusively for that tiny percentage of the population that can justify the mid six-figure range for a car? Enter the 2020 Rolls-Royce Wraith Black Badge, an even more special model of the world’s finest motorcar. With minimal competition out there in the ultra-luxury touring coupé landscape, the Wraith stands alone. We took one for a spin to see how this machine has aged since its introduction.
The Wraith shares its platform with the Ghost, a four-door saloon that itself is loosely based on BMW’s 7-series (reviewed here). While the Ghost is still targeted towards the executive class that may be chauffeured, Rolls has aimed the Wraith squarely at the driver. The wheelbase has been shortened, and the coupé is 65 pounds daintier than its sedan sibling. The gorgeous, fastback-like roofline is like nothing else on the road, and the fascia is unmistakably that of a Rolls-Royce. Seeing as this is the Black Badge model, the Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament is a beautiful black chrome.
Black Badge is an in-house program commissioned by Rolls-Royce, a package that’s aimed to eliminate buyers’ habits of customizing their Wraith in the aftermarket world and de-valuing the purity of the brand. The $48,000 addition to our test vehicle includes black and black chrome accents everywhere, including the grille and the aforementioned hood monogram. It also adds 21-inch carbon alloy composite wheels, lambswool floor mats, a performance exhaust system, and more. Since every Rolls-Royce model can be customized through their bespoke process, the stunning black paint with red leather upholstery is a nice touch.
Entering the Wraith through the coach doors (rear-hinged, and the term “suicide doors” is no longer appropriate) will cocoon you into the luxurious experience of the cabin. Drivers and passengers don’t have to close the doors manually, either – they slide shut at the touch of a button, blocking out all outside noise. All of the materials are top-shelf, with generous use of leather, chrome, and other fine finish. The seats have plenty of space and adjustability, and despite it being a coupé, rear accommodations are generous as well as easily accessible. Of course, the lack of a B-pillar means the Wraith looks sensational with all of the windows down.
Infotainment is brought via a previous-generation version of BMW’s iDrive system. It’s easy to operate using a rotary controller, and includes all standard bits including satellite radio, USB and Bluetooth connectivity, as well as excellent sound quality. Where it falls short is the lack of Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, which is necessary technology in today’s age and is also used by just about every other automaker.
The motor chosen for the majestic Wraith Black Badge comes from a BMW-sourced 6.6-liter V12. It’s twin-turbocharged, and on the Black Badge horsepower gets bumped from 563 to 624, and 605 lb-ft. of torque. Power is sent to all four wheels using an eight-speed automatic transmission that works imperceptibly and silently. The Wraith has freight-train strength and surges to speed effortlessly. It never feels strained and the quiet nearly-inaudible rumble of the boosted V12 is addictive.
Keeping things classy, rather than a tachometer the Wraith gets a “power reserve” gauge. The suspension absorbs road imperfections in a spectacularly smooth manner, giving drivers the “like-nothing-else” ride they’re looking for out of a Rolls-Royce. It’s not a lazy ride, but rather compliant and confident as a true ultra luxury car should be. Other touches that continue to impress even years after their introduction include a Starlight Headliner that gives the effect of a starry night sky, with 1,340 fiber-optic lights above you. It sounds like a gimmick, but it looks and feels high quality. The downside to this feature is that numerous aftermarket companies have tried to knock it off and diluted the effect.
With a base price of $327,000, Rolls-Royce emphasizes that due to their bespoke customization program, every single car is customized. Everything from the hides upholstering the interior to the paint options outside, and the classy umbrellas (with a drainage system!) in the doors can be personalized. The sticker on our tester came to $433,625. Rolls-Royce rates the Wraith at 19.0L/100km city and 13.0L/100km highway, for a combined 17.0L/100km. We have easily surpassed the highway numbers and seen 11.0L/100km in previous Wraith testers. As expected, the Rolls-Royce V12 won’t accept anything less than 91-octane premium fuel.
While a car with a price tag over $400,000 isn’t ever really a logical purchase, the 2020 Rolls-Royce Wraith Black Badge is one where the brand will have no problem selling every example built. It offers exuberant amounts of luxury, opulence almost indescribable in words, and a driving experience that really can’t be compared to any other vehicle. The class of buyers that can afford it won’t be disappointed, and as intended, the Black Badge program will help minimize buyers’ needs to venture into the aftermarket for further customization.