The famous British brand, an eternal symbol of luxury and elegance, enjoyed one of its best seasons and confirmed itself as a queen of sales: last year it achieved a new record as never before in its 110 year history have so many units been delivered. Credit goes to the Munich marque BMW that, since it bought Rolls Royce, has made substantial investments and has also demonstrated the ability to combine elegance, construction expertise and cutting-edge technology while skilfully maintaining the appeal of exclusivity, thanks to the personality and uniqueness of each car.
On the occasion of the celebration of its centenary which falls this year, BMW has focused on two famous British brands of the group: Mini and Rolls Royce. The motto is “The Next 100 Years”. An electric Mini was presented, much like a smartphone, with a body that becomes the display and integrating many solutions that transform the road and the external environment. It refuels on its own and changes colour according to its passenger’s tastes. Rolls-Royce has also been working in the same direction, presenting a stunning car that establishes the marques’ vision of the future of super-luxury autonomous driving. BMW focuses on reimaging future mobility and is responding to changes in society, economy, living conditions and of mobility itself, with attention to new technologies, digitization and the connection of vehicles.
The Rolls-Royce “Vision Next 100” comes shortly after the other important news of the brand in 2016, namely the Ghost and Wraith’s limited edition “Black Badge”, presented last March at the Geneva Motor Show.
In order to provide a better understanding of this limited edition, Torsten Müller-Ötvös, CEO of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, commented: “Black Badge is a way of life, an aspect of the Rolls-Royce brand that addresses those who prefer not to reveal themselves immediately, take life as a challenge, accept risks, knock over tables, break the rules and who do not care about convention. People driven by a restless spirit, who like to play hard and in doing so change the world. Technically and aesthetically, Black Badge is the alter-ego of Rolls-Royce: its dark side, more assertive, more confident, more powerful and demanding. With Black Badge we have created the most authoritative presence in the universe of super-luxury. To our great brand this is a moment of real, profound change”.
The two cars are distinguished by their shiny black colour, also extended to the logo with the double R, the winged statuette “Spirt of Ecstasy”, all chrome parts, to the exhaust pipes and wheel rims, and are not only dark in appearance because they are “more aggressive” even in substance.
Under the hood, the two Black Badge Rolls Royce show their grittier side: in the Ghost is mounted a 6.6-liter V12 engine, boosted to 612 bhp and maximum torque of 840 Nm (60 Nm more). Even the engine output is more lively, thanks to some changes introduced in the eight-speed automatic transmission and in the electronic control unit. Thanks to the changes made to the suspension and steering, including the introduction of new transmission shafts, the driving sensation has been heightened significantly.
Even the Wraith, the most powerful of all Rolls with its 632 bhp, has benefited from an increase in torque of 70 Nm, and has become more agile thanks to the structure of completely redesigned air-suspension and new transmission shafts as part of the revised 8-speed transmission.
The Rolls-Royce engineers have also increased by 2.5 cm the front brake discs on both models.
Unprecedented interiors, where the protagonist is an innovative carbon composite covering with an aluminium core, an element that is created by weaving a weft of threads in aluminium (of 0.014 mm), then tied to the carbon fibre and subsequently hand lacquered and polished. Still inside, the air vents and the rear surfaces of the passenger compartment are also painted in black, while the Black Badge Unlimited clock has been integrated in the instrument panel. It is a unique piece, with orange hands’ tips and a dial adorned with the symbol ‘Unlimited’, created in 2014 in honour of world speed record holder on water, Sir Malcolm Campbell. The same symbol is embroidered on the black leather upholstery, combined with the colour Tailored Purple for the Ghost Black Badge and Cobalt Blue for the Wraith. The star-like interior lighting reflects its light throughout the interior environment and on the polished dashboard.
In the automotive landscape, deeply touched by the global crisis, Rolls-Royce has managed to have its best season, thanks in part to the excellent results for the Ghost II and the new Wraith, while the Phantom remains the star model.
As you would expect for such an exclusive brand, the demand for Bespoke series is very high. These are the “custom” versions: a genuinely tailored service that can impose each client’s “vision of life” onto his car. How? By providing the best materials, the latest technology and the unmatched experience of Rolls-Royce designers and craftsmen to create, along with each customer, a totally unique car.
What would the two founders say? Henry Royce, owner of a company that distributed electrical equipment and great car enthusiast, and his partner, the pilot-entrepreneur Charles Rolls?