Latest news on rich people's row is that black is the new black, according to Rolls-Royce.

For billionaires with a "dark" side, the prestige car maker has introduced black badge derivatives of its Ghost and Wraith models. This new execution is described as being the “alter ego of Rolls-Royce, darker, more assertive, more confident and powerful”.

It’s the luxury brand finding its inner Batman, one could say.

The Black Badge Ghost and Wraith, now available in South Africa, include cosmetic revisions as well as improved power and handling. Setting the styling mood is darkened chrome, black paint, and unique Rolls-Royce-developed carbon fibre composite wheels which feature no less than 22 layers of carbon fibre laid in three axes.

The famous Spirit of Ecstasy bonnet mascot also gets the black treatment, or as the Rolls-Royce press release poetically puts it: “The Flying Lady mutates into a high-gloss black vamp, proudly scything through the night-time cityscape.”

The cabin gets a similarly darker scheme, most noticeably with aerospace-grade aluminium-threaded carbon fibre composite surfacing – material that is usually seen on the surfaces of stealth aircraft.

The metal air vents are darkened too, and an "Unlimited" infinity logo is embroidered on the seat upholstery and the clock. The logo previously appeared in the celebrated Phantom Drophead "Waterspeed", and was created in 2014 to celebrate the land speed record feats of Sir Malcolm Campbell.

A moody light is cast from the black starlight head-liner, and reflected around the cabin from the polished fascia, to create a darkly atmospheric ambience.

In the Ghost Black Badge, the 6.6-litre V12 engine gets a 30kW power boost (now 450kW) and 60Nm of extra torque (to 840Nm) compared to the regular Ghost, while the 8-speed automatic transmission holds its hears gears for longer to give added urgency.

Suspension and steering tweaks, including the addition of new drive shafts, ensure the Ghost Black Badge delivers its trademark luxurious ride with a touch of extra driver focus.

With its 465kW the Wraith two-door coupé (pictured) is already the most muscular Rolls-Royce available, but the Black Badge version gets an extra 70Nm of torque (to 870Nm) and quicker throttle and transmission responses, along with an agility tweak to the air suspension.

The brakes of both Black Badge models are also uprated with larger front discs.

SA importer Rolls-Royce Sandton hosted a media launch last Friday where journalists got the chance to drive the Wraith Black Badge around Kyalami; not to set lap records but to demonstrate the extra spring in the car’s step while retaining its magic carpet ride.

For a car primarily built for rolling up at 5-star hotels in style, the 2.5-ton Wraith conducted itself capably. It’s heavy, but immense acceleration combined with great traction got this luxobarge around the circuit safely and with a singular lack of drama. While great physics were clearly happening, I sat in a silent cocoon as the huge car wafted swiftly around the track in grand style.

Price, as usual, is on application, but if you really have to know the Black Badge treatment adds about R570 000 to the price, which makes the Ghost Black Badge retail for R6 million and the Wraith Black Badge for R7.5m.

- Star Motoring