Skip to main content

Driving the Rolls Royce Black Badge Ghost: It packs a V12, but sounds like an EV

A glance at the Rolls Royce Black Badge Ghost

Rolls Royce Ghost Black Badge Front
Dave McQuilling / The Manual

For those of us who aren’t wildly successful, it’s not every day you get to drive around in a Rolls Royce. However, I’ve been lucky enough to hop into the front and back of a Ghost on several occasions. My most recent jaunt involved a Ghost Black Badge edition — which involves a lot of cosmetic touches and a small boost in horsepower.

The Rolls Royce Black Badge Ghost also contains what, for me, is one of the most impressive features of a Rolls Royce. Under the hood is a substantial 6.7 liter V-12. The sort of thing that could probably roar loud enough to make windows shake half a mile away. It’s essentially an upmarket truck engine. But if you press the start button and hit the accelerator pedal, you can’t really hear it. Rolls prides itself in stuffing an incredible amount of soundproofing into its engine bay. The engine in the Black Badge is very slightly larger and a touch more powerful than the one you’ll find in a Silver Badge Ghost, but the difference isn’t huge enough to justify the choice on its own. To be honest, it’s the styling elements that are the main selling points of this premium trim.

The Ghost is almost like an EV in terms of volume levels, and it’s quirks like that which make a vehicle unique. Add in the ridiculous amount of power, top-level suspension, and feather-light handling and you could probably fool someone into thinking it was electric.

The styling is exquisite

Rolls Royce Black Badge Ghost Side
Dave McQuilling / The Manual

The Rolls Royce Ghost isn’t overly different from the “standard” version of the luxury sedan. Many of the differences are purely stylistic, for example the chrome trim that usually lines a Rolls is blackened. The same applies to the Spirit of Ecstacy, which has also been darkened for the Black Badge edition. The interior also comes with a few tweaks, most notably the inclusion of a good amount of carbon fiber — though dark wood is also an option. The interior of the particular Ghost I was in consisted of a black and orange color scheme, something I felt stood out. But if that’s not your thing, then there is plenty of wiggle room in terms of styling.

The back of a Ghost, be it a Black or a Silver Badge, is also a very pleasant space to be. You’ll get plenty of legroom, you can have access to a screen which will allow you to control the media playing in the vehicle, a champagne cooler is an option in certain areas, you have a great view of the star-spackled headliner, and overall it’s a very comfortable experience. There are higher-end options. Some of the Phantoms seem akin to being transported around in the lounge of a high-class hotel. But considering the price difference, the Ghost does not disappoint.

This may be the best Rolls Royce driving experience

Rolls Royce Black Badge ghost rear
Dave McQuilling / The Manual

When I say light and agile, I don’t mean it feels like a Miata or a Mini. That would just be silly. However, the Rolls Royce Ghost feels extremely light and agile for a Rolls Royce. You still get that smooth gliding feeling, even if you end up on a hilly gravel track like I did (thank you Google) then the ride won’t really suffer. Some people like to feel the road, but the all-wheel drive system that comes as standard means you’d have to do something really silly before something like grip becomes a concern. So you don’t really need to feel it anyway. It’s also remarkably easy to place for its size, and the turning circle seems a lot tighter than it should be. Yes, you have all manner of driver aids there to hold your hand, but keeping it centered in the lane on your own isn’t too much trouble despite the fact that it’s still a pretty huge vehicle.

The acceleration is also robust, with that big V-12 rocketing the Ghost from 0-60 in around 4.5 seconds. You’re not meant to drive it like that. It’s a Rolls Royce. You should be sat in the back while a gentleman named Winston, Jeeves, or Chives does everything very smoothly up front. But Rolls Royce is all about options, and the option to drive like a hooligan is likely appreciated by many. Keith Moon would likely approve.

Overall, I preferred it to the Spectre. The EV may edge it out in the looks department, But in terms of pure driving experience, there’s still a lot to be said for a hefty V12, a short delay before the torque kicks in, and an all-round solid piece of engineering.

Editors' Recommendations

Dave McQuilling
Dave has spent pretty much his entire career as a journalist; this has included jobs at newspapers, TV stations, on the…
Solar launches Eclipse Race Edition lightweight, low-cost electric motorcycle
Lightweight and low cost Solar Eclipse Race Edition electric motorcycle
Solar Eclipse Race Edition electric motorcycle front three quarters of the left side.

Solar Scooters added another low-cost, lightweight e-motorcycle to its existing Eclipse lineup. The Eclipse Race Edition is Solar's most powerful electric motorcycle, with 13,000 watts of peak power output, 65 mph top speed, and up to 70 miles of range per charge. The Solar Eclipse Race Edition e-motorcycle is also budget-friendly, starting at $6,795.
Why the Solar Eclipse Race Edition e-motorcycle matters

The Eclipse Race Edition is one of a small group of electric motorcycle market disrupters, but it's not alone. As with automobiles, motorcycle electrification is taking various implementations. Many e-bikes are available today, including some resembling motorcycles, except that e-bikes have pedals while motorcycles do not.

Read more
Mopar launches limited edition Mopar 2024 Jeep Gladiator
2024 is the first time Mopar has built a special edition Jeep
2024 Mopar Jeep Gladiator limited edition parked on a rocky road in the mountains.

Two Stellantis brands combined efforts to develop the Mopar '24 Jeep Gladiator, a 250-vehicle limited-production version of the Jeep Gladiator Rubicon off-road-capable midsize truck. Customers can buy the special Mopar edition with its pre-selected exterior and interior functional and appearance upgrades or add even more Mopar and Jeep performance parts at select Jeep dealerships.
Why the Mopar Jeep Gladiator matters

The Stellantis Mopar division specializes in performance automotive parts for owners and enthusiasts. Each year, starting in 2010, Mopar has partnered with a Stellantis group automaker to create a limited-edition vehicle enhanced by select Mopar products. In previous years, Mopar worked with Dodge, Chrysler, and RAM. The 2024 Mopar '24 Jeep Gladiator is the first collaboration with the Stellantis Jeep brand.
2024 Mopar Jeep Gladiator special features

Read more
Vigilante restores and revitalizes old-style Jeeps with modern performance
Vigilante doesn't just restore old Jeeps, they modernize them
Vigilante 4x4 1988 Jeep Grand Wagoneer restomod.

Raise your hand if you love old-style big-body Jeeps. My hand is certainly up high, despite a pile of repair bills I still have in a box from the early 1990s when we bought an eight-year-old Grand Wagoneer that had only been used as a beach car on Nantucket.

It didn't have many miles for its age so we could buy an extended warranty from the Jeep dealership, but we still had continuously horrendous repair bills.

Read more