2018 Rolls-Royce Wraith Black Badge Review: Ditch the Driver

Rolls-Royce’s motor cars pretty much define luxury motoring, though usually owners are found in the back of them. The Wraith is a roller you drive yourself, whether it’s from meeting to meeting or holiday home to holiday home. The Black Badge adds an extra layer of speed to proceedings, turning the Wraith into a force to be reckoned with.

Did you know? The Spirit of Ecstasy, the statue that sits on the nose of every Rolls-Royce, was modelled after Eleanor Velasco Thornton, secretary to Baron Montagu of Beaulieu, with whom she was having an affair.

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Verdict: (8/10)
Rolls-Royce produces motor cars, some of the finest in the world. They’re the byword for luxury, elegance, decadence, and success on the roads. Only the finest materials have been used in the Wraith Black Badge, and the drive is sublime. While the Black Badge package adds a touch more engine noise, and a bit more ‘sport’ to proceedings, it doesn’t lose any of its Rolls-Royce essence. It’s easily one of the best cars money can buy, but you’ll need a lot of it to get in one.
Design & Exterior
Interior & Comfort
Technology & Connectivity
Performance & Handling
Safety Features
Spec & Trim Levels
Running Costs & Fuel Economy
We Like
Effortless speed
We Don’t Like
That we can’t afford one
Some old tech in there

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Design & Exterior: (9/10)
You can’t miss a modern Rolls-Royce. They’re huge in every sense of the word, and ooze presence. Heads turn, camera phones are fumbled for, nods are given when one silently cruises down the road. With the Wraith, Rolls-Royce hasn’t skimped on the size front. It’s long, wide, and pretty tall.
It isn’t merely a big slab of car though, its lines are well thought out and flow down the car wonderfully. The rear three quarter view is a joy to behold thanks to a sweeping roof line and big haunches. It may be a bit brash for some, but the chances are the most vocal are the ones who’ll never likely get near one.
The Black Badge remixes some of the traditional Rolls-Royce design hallmarks, so the Spirit of Ecstasy is now black, as are the RR badges, and the imposing Parthenon grille.

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Interior & Comfort: (10/10)
Many moons ago it was said the loudest thing in a Rolls-Royce was the clock. Now it’s your breath. It’s delightfully quiet at any speed. The car delicately hurls itself down the road with nary a worry. Any lump in the road is absorbed by the car, leaving occupants unburdened by something so trivial as a slightly uneven road surface.
Black Badge cars do have slightly stiffer suspension than their vanilla counterparts, so the ride isn’t quite as smooth as others, but it’s still 100% smoother than just about everything else on the road. Black Badges also get some engine noise in the cabin when you give the car some welly. Nail the throttle and a wonderful V12 wail enter the cabin. It’s most unseemly, but perfect for car like the Black Badge – it’s the Rolls with an attitude.
The cabin is full to the brim of wonderful materials. The leather upholstery is soft, comfortable, and incredible to touch. It almost feels wasted on betrousered buttocks. For your feet, there’s a thick carpet. The kind of carpet that would be totally out of place in an average flat, but you wouldn’t bat an eyelid if someone told you the Queen had it on her ceilings. You feel guilty for wearing shoes on it.
Put simply, it’s one of the finest seats on the road.

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Technology & Connectivity: (7/10)
The tech in the Wraith ranges from genuinely smart, to a bit disappointing. The GPS-guided gearbox, for example, is very clever. It talks to the sat nav, tells the gearbox what the road is like, registers how you’re driving, then chooses the right gear for the situation. Clever stuff. After all, in a Rolls, one does not choose one’s own gear.
The test car had cooled and heated seats, handy for an early start to an immensely hot day, and seat massagers. The massagers were barely effective, it felt like one buttock was being given a gentle prod, and the other ignored. A gentle kneading was offered, gentle disappointment delivered.
Buyers may find the main infotainment screen familiar, as it’s a rather posh version of the last generation BMW iDrive system. That means it works well, but it doesn’t boast any touch screen fun, something that people who like flash toys would likely enjoy showing off.
The DAB radio and digital television fitted to our test car were nice distractions though.

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Performance & Handling: (8/10)
A Wraith is not a light thing, it weighs close to two and a half tonnes, so you’d expect it to be a touch sluggish, wouldn’t you? It is not. Under its massive hood is a 6.6-litre twin turbocharged V12 that kicks out 624bhp and 642lb ft (non Black Badge Wraiths get a mere 590lb ft). That’s enough to sling you from 0-62mph in just 4.5 seconds and on to a limited 155mph. Because the Wraith only drives its rear wheels (no bad thing), if, on a dry day with warm(ish) tyres one was to have a brisk start one would find a big pair of number elevens on the road behind the car. The strange thing is, one would not have felt it at all. The car delivers its power with no fuss at all, and if it does find itself overwhelmed or lacking grip, the driver is the last person to know about it.
Its steering is light, so much so that you can use a single finger to change direction. The ‘wheel does have an effect on which direction you’re going, but don’t expect supercar levels of feedback. If you’re giving the car the beans around a corner, don’t expect it to corner like a race car. This is a heavy, big car on suspension set up more for comfort than lap times. Still, it’s hilarious fun to chunter around in.
Recommended engine: 6.6-litre turbocharged V12
4.5 seconds
Fuel economy

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Safety Features: (8/10)
This is an ultra-luxury car, and as it’s sold in low numbers it’s safe to assume that Rolls wants to keep its customer base as happy and healthy as possible. After all, repeat customers for lb280k+ cars don’t come along very often.
There are as many airbags as you can shake a stick at, and plenty of crash prevention tech to keep you safe. Though safety gear isn’t the biggest draw when it comes to this thing…

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Specs and Trim Levels: (8/10)
You can have any colour you choose on the Rolls-Royce Wraith, though the Black Badge does look super imposing in black. However, if you want to have your car colour matched to your favourite curtains, or maybe want diamonds crushed in to your paintjob, you can. Rolls will do anything you desire.
Trim Levels
There aren’t trim levels per se in the Wraith, though the Black Badge could be classed as one. It offers slightly more ‘sporting’ suspension, an infinity motif on the kickplates and clock, carbon trim, more torque than the base Wraith (if you can ever call it such a thing), a black Spirit of Ecstasy and a black Parethenon grille.
Size and Dimensions
Max towing weight without brake

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Running Costs & Fuel Economy: (7/10)
With a 6.6-litre twin turbo V12 under the hood you can’t expect stellar economy, the combined figure is 19.3mpg, which is marginally better than you’d expect for a car with such a massive motor. However, if you can afford the car you’re unlikely to worry about the fuel bill.
Reliability and servicing
Seeing as the Wraith is so large and SO full of toys you’ll have to look after it, though we’ve not heard of any particular reliability issues.
All models
Variable. The car will tell you when it needs servicing.

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Pricing: (8/10)
If sir has to ask, sir cannot afford it. Though don’t expect much change from the thick end of lb300,000. For that, though, you get one of the best cars in the world to ride in…
Tick all the boxes, spec the leather and paint to your chosen colour, and enjoy.
There’s only one, but you can get digital television installed.
It’s actually cheaper than a flat in London’s Zone 2. So… live in it?
Sunseeker Yacht
Just as plush, but floats!
Private Jet
Similar levels of customisation, but with wings.
Range Rover SV Autobiography
More space, admittedly, but not quite Rolls-Royce luxury.
Around 30 Dacia Dusters
Admittedly you’d run out of things to do with them after a while, but your own fleet of Dusters might be a giggle.
Bentley Continental GT Speed
The Conti’s been around for a while, and like the Wraith its interior tech isn’t that modern. The Speed is ultra fast, but does the Flying B have the same cache as the Spirit of Ecstasy?
What others say
Car Magazine
And if you’re in the market for a car that costs more than a quarter of a million pounds, it’s character that seals the deal.’
Top Gear
‘For such a big beast, its steering, braking, and overall balance are all seriously impressive.’


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