2020 Rolls-Royce Cullinan Black Badge review
Words by Nathan Irvine
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Badge of honour.
Call off the search. The height of luxury vehicles has been found and its name is the Rolls-Royce Cullinan Black Badge. It’s the latest version of the high-end SUV and pulls out all the stops to underline its dominance over its rivals.
A secret fridge with crystal glasses and decanter? Check. Electric powered curtains in the rear? Check. Fluffy carpets that you want to plunge your bare feet into? You better believe that’s a check.
But the Cullinan Black Badge is much more than a luxury hotel on wheels. It’s also gunning for a younger demographic with a selection of millennial-friendly features and treats that shakes off its somewhat conservative label.
6.7l V12 Twin-Turbo
All Wheel Drive
It all starts with the outside of the vehicle. Deep blacks that are painstakingly created and used can be found in the enormous grille, 22-inch rims and Rolls-Royce’s Spirit of Ecstasy statue on the front. These dark flourishes play exceptionally well with the electric blue exterior of our test vehicle.
Combined, it makes for the type of vehicle you’d see in a music video. It’d be the centrepiece as the ladies and gents jig around it whilst occasionally blinding the camera man with its ultra-bright headlights.
The first thing we noticed when we got behind the wheel is how tall the Cullinan Black Badge is. And it seems like the aforementioned hood ornament is a day’s journey away. We’re in awe of the lashings of bright, yet tasteful orange that can be found throughout.
The stark contrast between the orange and the black carbon fibre and leather is eye-catching and, again, shows that Rolls-Royce is capable of appealing to a younger, more hip (do people still say that?) audience.
Wherever you sit in the Cullinan Black Badge you’re in for a treat. It’s a cavernous space and comes with a number of gadgets and gizmos. Alongside the fridge, there are two huge TV screens built into the front seats for rear passengers.
There are even leather picnic chairs that fold out from the boot for an ad-hoc, roadside pitstop.
But maybe the most impressive, if completely cosmetic, feature of the interior is the starlight headliner. 1,344 fibre optic lights have been stitched into the roof.
When activated they produce a starry sky complete with random shooting star effects. It’s an absolutely ludicrous addition, but one that seems perfectly at home within the Cullinan Black Badge’s extravagant interior.
Now this is where things get even more exciting. “Black Badge” isn’t just about fancy cosmetic flourishes – it means extra grunt under the hood too.
It might use the same 6.7l V12 engine as the other models, but Rolls-Royce has squeezed an extra 27bhp out of it and now hurtles along with the strength of 600 horses.
You can feel it almost immediately. It wants to shift and get up to speed as fast as possible, and at first it can feel a little intimidating. But what we love most is that the responsiveness of the handling matches the acceleration.
This makes for an odd feeling – the Cullinan is huge but can weave through traffic without listing to one side like most tall SUVs. And most importantly it still maintains a supremely comfortable ride for those inside.
With added speed, subtle yet impressive looks and a boutique hotel room of an interior, the Cullinan Black Badge is excellent.
Sure, it comes with a hefty price tag too, but if you can afford the entry fee of a standard Cullinan then you should definitely upgrade to this much sportier version.
Seriously, you won’t find another SUV like it.
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