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Rolls-Royce Black Badge Cullinan proves there's always room for more

Whether it's more power or more stars in the headliner, the latest Cullinan will provide it in spades.

If Darth Vader had been a billionaire on top of being a Sith, you can darn well bet he'd have one of these.

The Rolls-Royce Cullinan is the pinnacle of the luxury SUV, but when it debuted, it lacked the Black Badge trim that adorned other Rollers -- and brought in a whole bunch of younger, hipper customers. Thankfully, for those looking to pick up a Cullinan with a bit more edge, that has now been remedied.

Rolls-Royce on Thursday unveiled the Black Badge Cullinan. Positioned to appeal to buyers with more interest in driving and more interest in standing out from the crowd (something the Cullinan already does with ease), Black Badge will offer a more customized look and the oomph to match.

Under the hood is Rolls-Royce's 6.75-liter V12, but power and torque are up 29 horsepower and 37 pound-feet to a net 600 hp and 664 lb-ft. Hitting the "Low" button on the transmission stalk will open up the car's new exhaust system, which provides a far more sinister note. There is no Sport mode, per se, but pushing the throttle past the 50% mark will change how the engine and transmission work together, making for a more exciting drive. Rolls-Royce also adjusted the brake pedal's bite point and decreased its pedal travel.

The aesthetics are the real draw when it comes to Black Badge vehicles. Its signature color is (as you may guess) black, but there are tens of thousands of colors on offer, provided the owner doesn't supply a specific shade for Rolls-Royce's Bespoke department to recreate. The signature Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament is presented in black chrome, its finish mirroring what's found on both the grille and the liftgate. Much of the remaining exterior shiny bits are clad in black, and for the first time ever, Rolls-Royce will offer a painted brake caliper.

The unique carbon fiber pattern is really stunning.


Inside, the focus on color and materials continues. There's a wild "technical carbon" veneer on the trim that takes the usual carbon-fiber finish and gives it a more premium, three-dimensional look, a process that takes 21 days to complete. Buyers have nearly too much choice when it comes to interior colors, and to make the decision slightly more difficult, Rolls-Royce introduced a new leather color -- forge yellow -- as part of the Black Badge Cullinan's unveiling.

The coolest part of the interior requires one to look upward. The Black Badge Cullinan has finally picked up Rolls-Royce's "Starlight" headliner, which uses 1,344 hand-woven fiber optic lights to recreate the night sky, including shooting stars. You can pick a default pattern, or you can give Rolls-Royce a date and location and they will create a custom headliner that shows the night sky on that particular occasion.

The Rolls-Royce Black Badge Cullinan is now available for commission, since this isn't the kind of vehicle you purchase on a casual stroll past a dealership. Given the sheer amount of customizability, the sky's the limit when it comes to the car's individuality -- and its price, which Rolls-Royce did not mention in its release.

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