After the overwhelming success and demand of the previous Wraith and Ghost Black Badge models, it was finally time for Rolls-Royce to introduce a new car to the bespoke family of darkened demeanour: Enter the Rolls-Royce Dawn Black Badge — yes, the drophead coupé gets the Black Badge treatment, too.
The Black Badge concept at its core was indeed geared toward the assertive rebel, and we’ve rounded up a few Hong Kong personalities that fit this new breed of luxury patron that the Black Badge serves, and share their thoughts on the creative energies they share with the marque. Namely, Jesper McIlroy, William Lim and Eric Noyel.
With a perfectionist attitude, Hong Kong-based American photographer Jesper McIlroy boasts a versatile career, which includes shooting all subjects from food to fashion editorial to celebrities. We speak to him about capturing bold moments below.
Already a symbol of free-spirited driving, how does the convertible get even more seductive and indomitable? By embodying assertive, confident and powerful attitude in every inch of design, thus opening up the playing field to new patrons of luxury.
In the spirit of its brethren, the Dawn is naturally all-noir everything: the car body is presented in the deepest, most intense shade of black ever appearing on a production car surface, achieved through an exhaustive process of applying multiple layers of paint and hand-polished lacquer. The roof of the car, available only in black canvas, opens gracefully in a ‘silent ballet,’ and skirts into the rear deck — finished in black leather.
The Spirit of Ecstasy — the Rolls-Royce’s iconic bonnet mascot — becomes a high-gloss vamp, dipped in black chrome, the same touches which extend to the Parthenon grille, the boot lid finisher, and other chrome finishes.
The ‘Double R’ insignia on the Rolls-Royce badges have been inverted to be silver on black: confirming the alter-ego status of the marque.
Borrowing production techniques from the stealth aircraft industry for the most advanced luxury materials available, the new Dawn features innovative touches, including the weaving of 0.014m-thin strands of aluminium which are then bonded in carbon fibre; such surfaces are finished with six coats of lacquer and left to cure for 72 hours, before being hand-polished to Rolls-Royce’s requisite mirror-finish. Reflective of its own dark interior, the result is even more stylish, giving off an air of invincibility.
With the roof up or down, the Dawn Black Badge demands a certain level of versatility in its cabin; to ensure the edge of its darkened demeanour never dissipates, a new interior palette break-up has been introduced. While the Wraith and Ghost receive vibrantly coloured cabins, the Dawn has its interior swathed in mostly exquisite black leather, only lightly accented with strips of striking mandarin orange for a sporty, dynamic outlook. A strip of tangerine highlight wraps around the cabin at hip height, reminiscent of the last fading line of sunset before the passengers are immersed in the darkness of night.
A thoroughly boosted exhaust system also brings a more spirited driving experience: one press of a button unleashes the Dawn’s new, authoritative baritone growl, indicative of Rolls-Royce’s iconic V12 engine under the bonnet. While this is all sweet music to the ears, it’s also a joy to drive: the 6.6 litre twin-turbo V12 generates an extra 30bhp to a powerful total of 593bhp, and a further 20Nm of torque compared with the original Dawn, bringing the total to 840Nm — the same as the Ghost Black Badge.
An upgrade to the transmission and throttle strategy gives a sense of urgency and intuition when shifting gears, while the new brakes boast an inch of increase in diameter for greater feedback. At low speeds, it’s a comfortable and stately Rolls-Royce experience, but kick into high gear and you’ll find yourself in a super-cabriolet — a fitting black steed made for only a select few to tame.