I’m seeing stars—literally—sparkling down from the sea of roof-mounted, fiber-optic LED lights that make up Rolls-Royce’s acclaimed Starlight Headliner. As I gaze up, I spot a shooting star coursing its way across the roof lining. Looking forward, I’m awed by the illuminated passenger-side dashboard replete with 850 twinkly LEDs. I crank up Don McLean singing “starry, starry night” on the 1,300-watt, 16-speaker stereo and the celestial mode is complete.
All this ethereal illumination is offered on every exquisite new Rolls-Royce Ghost sedan. The difference here is that we’re driving the very latest, most noir Ghost yet: the 2022 Black Badge Ghost.
Black Badge models are in pretty high demand at the Flying Lady company these days. After kicking the series off back in 2016 with the Black Badge Wraith coupe, Rolls-Royce followed up with the previous-gen Ghost, the Dawn convertible, and the box-on-wheels Cullinan SUV.
This new BB Ghost is the carmaker’s darkest, boldest, most “murdered out” offering to date, a car that firmly takes the company over to the dark side. Darth Vader would be proud.
Design cues include stealthy-black finishes for that imposing grille and iconic Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament. And if you go for black paintwork—why wouldn’t you?—the hue is rumored to be the darkest in the industry. Not into black? There are 44,000 colors in the Ghost palette to choose from, but there’s nothing too menacing about a Black Badge Ghost in Mary Kay pink. Inside it’s all deep Bolivar wood, dark carbon fiber–like veneer, and blacked-out chrome, though the contrasting teal leather of our test car was mind-
The BB package also includes a set of stunning new 21-inch composite wheels, each made up of layers of carbon fiber, with a forged aluminum hub and aerospace-grade titanium fasteners.
Power for the turbine-smooth 6.75-liter twin-turbo V12 increases from the “standard” Ghost’s 563-horsepower to 591. Even more noteworthy is the bump in torque from 627 lb-ft to 664. To bring some more, dare we say, “sportiness” to the way the car handles, the air suspension is a little firmer, with a tad more heft added to the steering for a more dynamic and agile feel.
The introduction of a “Low” mode gear setting (Rolls’ equivalent of “Sport”) for the car’s reworked 8-speed automatic quickens acceleration. It now unleashes maximum torque at just 1,700 rpm and is said to cut shift times in half. The latest Ghost has always felt rapid, but in Black Badge guise, off-the-line response feels stronger, more urgent. Zero-to-60-mph sprinting time is reported to have dropped by 0.3 seconds to 4.5 seconds.
But it’s the recalibrated steering that, for me, is the biggest change. It feels more precise, a little heavier, more responsive. And, coupled with standard all-wheel drive and rear-wheel steering, this Ghostly Black Badge has become my favorite Rolls-Royce ever.
Pricing begins at $437,350—the Black Badge package adds $43,850 to the sticker—though start talking to the people at Rolls-Royce Bespoke division and you’ll quickly get up to the $483,700 value of our tester car. But trust me, piloting this Ghost will definitely have you seeing stars.
Price: From $437,350
Engine: 6.75-liter twin-turbo V12
Power: 591 hp Torque: 664 lb-ft
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
0-60: 4.5 seconds
Top Speed: 155 mph
Length/Width: 218/85 inches Weight: 5,489 pounds
Why We Love It: Because going over to the dark side makes this the best Rolls-Royce on the market.