GOODWOOD, ENGLAND - It is safe to say that the ‘Black Badge’ treatment is somewhat out of character for Rolls Royce, but the prestigious British carmaker is quick to admit that it is squarely aimed at rebellious types.

The latest Rolls Royce model to receive the Black Badge of honour is the Cullinan SUV, and it’s described as the most urban expression of a Black Badge motor car yet, sporting a sinister new style as well as a more powerful engine and upgraded chassis.

Rolls Royce itself was at one stage in two minds about whether to create such a vehicle.

“Black Badge reflects the desires of a distinct group of Rolls-Royce clients: men and women who take risks, break rules and build success on their own terms,” said CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös.

“Indeed, before we launched Black Badge in 2016 the idea of creating a product that would satisfy this subversive cohort - that is highly dynamic and wilfully rebellious in aesthetic - caused a great deal of internal debate. However, once the marque’s designers, engineers and craftspeople began pursuing this dramatic alter ego, it became clear that these motor cars could not only exist comfortably beneath this revered and historic brand but they would define a new space within the super-luxury market,” he added.

That alter ego, incidentally, is signified by the mathematical symbol that represents a potential infinity, which is placed discreetly within the vehicle’s cabin.

Of course, customers don’t necessarily have to order their Black Badge Cullinan in the black exterior colour that you see in the pictures, as there are 44 000 ‘ready to wear’ paint options available, but Rolls Royce thinks most will opt for the signature hue. And it’s no ordinary paint job, as multiple layers of paint and lacquer are meticulously applied and hand-polished 10 times. Many of the vehicle’s other elements, including the Spirit of Ecstasy mascot, are presented in black or darkened chrome. Also unique to this model are new 22-inch alloy wheels.

The interior decor is described as equally audacious, the curated collection introducing striking Forge Yellow leather and Technical Carbon veneer that takes 21 days to make.

There’s more to this Black Badge business than just style, as the Cullinan’s 6.75-litre twin-turbo V12 engine has been upgraded to produce 441kW and 900Nm, which is 21kW and 50Nm more than before. The Black Badge Cullinan also receives a more “authoritative” sounding exhaust system as well as various suspension component upgrades aimed at making it more entertaining in the bends.

The Black Badge Cullinan is “now available to commission”, Rolls Royce states, and if you have to ask the price…

IOL Motoring