Rolls-Royce Ghost Black Badge Highway Journey: 1000 Miles In A Billionaire’s $500,000 Every day Driver

Rolls-Royce Highway Journey: 1000 Miles In A Billionaire’s $500,000 Every day Driver

Residing in Los Angeles can actually mess together with your notion of wealth. Spend any period of time round Beverly Hills, and also you’ll see each Rolls-Royce conceivable parked outdoors of costly eating places and five-star lodges alike. Having solely lived in LA for a couple of months, this phenomenon remains to be fairly putting. Nonetheless, after watching these six-figure ultra-luxury autos completely crawling across the metropolis, I couldn’t assist however really feel they have been being misused in a approach.

Suppose you distill a Rolls-Royce to its essence. In that case, you get a tremendously snug car with world-class suspension and sufficient noise isolation to make even police sirens sound no louder than a notification in your telephone. Whereas these attributes make a Rolls-Royce best for navigating city environments in your private indifferent bubble, they need to additionally make it the perfect machine for a highway journey.

To place this query to the check, I reached out to the oldsters at Rolls-Royce with a easy thought: a spherical journey from Los Angeles to San Francisco. Contemplating that the typical lease deal for certainly one of these automobiles offers its drivers lower than 3,000 miles to drive per yr, I wasn’t very hopeful I’d get a constructive response. Nonetheless, to my shock, Rolls-Royce agreed and scheduled me into certainly one of its newest creations, the Ghost Black Badge.

Now, this wasn’t my first encounter with the Ghost Black Badge. I attended its launch occasion in San Diego late final yr, the place I managed to attain a few hours behind the wheel. With this highway journey thought brewing, that first drive made it clear that the Ghost Black Badge was the fitting automotive for the job.

The Automobile:


The 2022 Rolls-Royce Ghost Black Badge serves because the continuation of the model’s Black Badge line, which started with the Wraith again in 2016. Briefly, the bundle will get you a darker aesthetic, a sportier drive, and the intelligent use of carbon fiber all through.

All of it begins with the chrome. In contrast to an ordinary Ghost, the Black Badge’s chrome trim has been darkened. As an alternative of portray these shiny bits, the British carmaker tweaked its chrome plating course of, delivering this automotive’s ominous darkish end. The primary advantage of this new course of is that there’s no paint to chip away by way of time, a should since this Ghost has black chrome seemingly on each floor.

Essentially the most vital modifications are discovered within the engineering division. For starters, the 6.8-liter twin-turbocharged V12 powering this tremendous sedan now develops 591 horsepower and 664 pound-feet, marking a 28 hp and 37 lb-ft improve over the usual Ghost. To take advantage of out of this added muscle, Rolls-Royce offers its Black Badge fashions “Low” mode. Primarily, that is the model’s equal of a sport mode, providing you with sooner shifts by as much as 50 p.c with the throttle pressed previous 90 p.c, sharper throttle response, and stiffer suspension calibration.

The results of the Black Badge’s sporty pursuits is a 5,500-lb sedan that may attain 60 mph in simply 4.5 seconds earlier than persevering with to its electronically restricted high velocity of 155 mph. To maintain this velocity in examine, the Black Badge carries over the usual Ghost’s monumental brakes whereas adopting bigger air springs that may stiffen sufficient to assist mitigate physique roll.

With all its vital choices, such because the Black Badge Package deal for $43,850, Burnout Gray exterior paint for $15,900, and immersive seating for $10,775, my testers $393,500 MSRP rapidly shot as much as an as-tested value of $492,250.

The Route:

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Setting off from my house in Pasadena, I had three routes to select from, two of which took me by way of the center of nowhere, CA. After about 10 seconds of inner dialogue, I picked the US-101 North as my approach up, taking in loads of mountain passes and ocean views alongside the way in which, the right place to check the Black Badge’s cut up character. Nonetheless, the beautiful route comes with appreciable penalties. For starters, this manner added an additional 54 miles and over an hour of driving, totaling simply over seven hours earlier than reaching my lodge in downtown San Francisco.

The best way again can be a lot easier. Forgoing all prettiness, I selected I-5 South as my approach house. Whereas its views can be bland, an empty open freeway appeared like the perfect place to let the Ghost Black Badge stretch its legs and embrace its sportier persona.

In whole, the chosen route would take roughly 12 hours and 35 minutes with a complete distance of 818 miles. Nonetheless, with numerous stops for meals, images, and filming, I managed to rack up a complete of 1031.4 miles over three days. Whereas it’s protected to say I used to be the one particular person placing that many miles on a Rolls-Royce over these three days, it grew to become clear that almost all house owners are lacking out by not doing so.

Day 1:


With Los Angeles’ snow-capped mountains within the rear-view mirror, I started my seven-hour drive north with the Ghost and its monumental trunk crammed to the brim with baggage, cameras, tripods, and sufficient snacks to feed a village. Since Rolls-Royce was type sufficient to drop off my tester with a full tank of fuel, there was nothing to do besides hitting the highway.

Instantly as soon as I hit the freeway, I used to be glad I had chosen a Rolls-Royce for this journey. Residing in LA, it’s simple to get used to simply how dangerous the roads are. You be taught to dodge the largest potholes whereas accepting {that a} bumpy journey is inevitable. Fortunately, the Ghost was not involved with even vital imperfections. Initially, I used to be fearful the Black Badge’s bigger air springs would stiffen up the suspension an excessive amount of, taking away from the snug driving expertise. Nonetheless, I used to be rapidly confirmed fallacious because the Black Badge glides over the highway such as you’d count on a $500,000 sedan would.

With 10-way adjustable heated and cooled seats upfront, it’s virtually unattainable to not really feel snug within the Ghost’s huge entrance chairs. If that’s not fancy sufficient, my tester additionally had the therapeutic massage characteristic, which options three depth ranges for a dozen or so configurations. Moreover, there are tons of leather-wrapped surfaces to relaxation your arms, elbows, and knees as you discover your best place.

The lengthy open highways didn’t final very lengthy as we crossed into San Luis Obispo and the Black Badge encountered some curvy mountain roads. With “Low” mode engaged, I started to choose up the tempo. Whereas my spouse and her opened water bottle definitely didn’t admire quickened shifts, I did. With its “sport mode” engaged, the Black Badge good points a stunning quantity of urgency. Slam your foot down, and the Ghost picks up velocity so rapidly that the rear-end squats significantly, pointing the Spirit of Ecstasy to the sky. Moreover, whereas the bigger air springs desperately attempt to hold physique roll in examine, there’s no stopping the lateral motion of a 5,500-lb sedan with out spoiling the journey, so I’m glad Rolls-Royce didn’t. It leans significantly, nevertheless it’s not stiff by any means.

After about 20 minutes of hustling the Ghost round, we settled into the prolonged freeway portion of the drive as we crossed what appeared like tons of of small farms. At this level, I made a decision to have interaction the Ghost’s adaptive cruise management characteristic, set on the closest following distance potential. As visitors started to choose up all through the day, this technique’s tuning started to shine, dashing up with restrained throttle software whereas frivolously tapping the brakes to decelerate, preserving the automotive’s snug driving expertise.

Whereas Rolls-Royce’s interpretation of BMW’s iDrive system is great, I caught with the accessible wi-fi Apple CarPlay choice. The 12.3-in display screen was a spotlight, delivering punchy colours through a really high-definition touchscreen show. Whereas I favored interacting with it through contact, the rotary dial within the middle console is best suited to navigating a number of menus.

Talking of menus, we stopped for lunch in probably the most California place potential, In-N-Out. As I chowed down on my double-double, I seen it was about to rain, an ideal time to bust out my tester’s $1,675 set of color-matched umbrellas. Sadly, the sky determined to carry again its tears, and we determined to do our first gas cease as an alternative.

Because the Ghost requires premium gas, I topped it off with 15.3 gallons at $5.29 every for a complete of $81.45. Up till this level, we had been averaging round 15 mpg, thanks largely to my earlier stint by way of the mountains. Nonetheless, ease up on the throttle, and 20 mpg is greater than achievable.

As San Francisco sat simply an hour away, I seen numbness in my decrease again, probably from sitting so lengthy. Whereas not even a few of the most snug seats I’ve skilled may save me from put on and tear, the Black Badge had an ace up its sleeve. Inside its therapeutic massage menu, there’s a characteristic referred to as “Activation Therapeutic massage,” which, as its identify suggests, applies stress to activate your numerous physique components. With it set to its most aggressive setting, the Ghost did a superb job of revitalizing my again. After about 10 minutes of the system being engaged, I felt totally refreshed for the ultimate cost into the town.

After seven hours on the highway, I ran straight into a major drawback. Whereas my lodge had assured me of secured valet parking, I seen that, like most lodges, they depart their costliest automobiles upfront. Since I used to be chargeable for my close to $500,000 tester, I made a decision to not threat leaving it outdoors in a single day. As an alternative, I referred to as a buddy who lived close by and parked the automotive in a safe storage. The McLaren MP4-12C and Porsche 911 GT3 Touring flanking the Ghost reassured me of the storage’s security.

Day 2:


Rising simply earlier than the solar, I ran over to the storage and fired up the Ghost to snap some images of it. Naturally, the Golden Gate Bridge was the highest location on my checklist. A bit fundamental? Positive, however a traditional, nonetheless. Whereas this was the shortest driving day of the three, it was the primary time I lastly bought a great take a look at the automotive and its gray, purple, and black aesthetic.

On paper, my tester’s Burnout Gray exterior end for $15,900 wouldn’t have been my first decide. Whereas it’s a chic end, it’s a bit flat, missing in depth and sparkle, particularly for the cash. Nonetheless, for us choosy of us, Rolls-Royce provides over 44,000 “inventory” colour choices, though they’ll paint your automotive in no matter colour you may consider.

After snapping a few images, my tune on the colour modified dramatically. Whereas the automotive could look showroom contemporary, I purposely didn’t wash it after my first seven hours on the highway, leaving my new assortment of bugs all around the automotive’s entrance finish to showcase the drive. To my frustration, the outside end does an amazing job of hiding dust and highway grime, retaining its elegant look regardless of being correctly filthy.

One factor that’s exhausting to show by way of images is simply how large the Ghost actually is. At 218.3 in lengthy and 84.6 in large, this luxurious sedan has a bigger footprint than a Chevy Tahoe with a large turning radius to match, even with all-wheel steering. Regardless of its dimension, all the things on the Ghost is proportional, from the Pantheon grille up entrance to the 21-inch wheels, huge home windows, and large trunk. All its styling components tie in properly, leading to an immediately recognizable form that appears equal components elegant and costly.

Whereas these 21-inch wheels could seem par for the course, they’re distinctive. That’s as a result of Rolls-Royce opted to present the Black Badge carbon fiber barrels. Primarily, they took 22 carbon fiber layers and folded them to create 44 whole layers. The light-weight wheels make sense on a supercar as they scale back unsprung mass. Nonetheless, in a 5,500-lb sedan, they don’t do a lot for the driving expertise. Regardless, they display consideration to element and nice use of composite supplies.

My tester’s exterior had only one main flaw, and that was the set of purple brake calipers. The colour clashed significantly with the flat grey end and the black and purple inside with no different purple components anyplace on the automotive. They might’ve accomplished the automotive properly in the event that they featured purple paint to match.

With images accomplished, it was time for extra gas. I scored a barely cheaper fuel station this time, taking simply $61.12 to fill this large physique sedan up from a few half tank left. From there, I went to take a look at SF’s Millennium Tower, a 58-story skyscraper that’s slowly sinking resulting from shady development, earlier than finally sticking the Ghost again into the storage for the evening, this time subsequent to a Mannequin S Plaid and a Mini Cooper JCW GP.

Day 3:


Because the solar rose on the third day, my San Francisco journey was coming to an finish. Whereas I cherished the town, I used to be extra excited for the six-hour drive house. At this level, I used to be totally enamored by the automotive, actively in search of get-rich-quick schemes to have the ability to purchase one. Whereas I had pushed it by way of the mountains, an enormous metropolis, and the coast, I hadn’t had an opportunity to open it up and see the way it performs at increased speeds. With Apple Maps set to the center of nowhere, CA, we set off in the direction of Los Angeles.

As quickly as we hit I-5 South, it was a ghost city with only some large vehicles hugging the sluggish lane. I re-engaged “Low” mode and determined to place my foot down. Whereas the Black Badge and its 591 hp V12 have great energy, its supply is easy, progressive, and seemingly endless. Regardless of this large quantity on the sprint, the automotive’s glorious sound isolation and suspension imply you don’t really feel the velocity. My spouse didn’t even discover we crossed triple digits when normally she’d holler if I went previous 65 mph.

After my spouse caught on to my tempo, I mellowed out and began poking across the inside. My tester featured a mix of black leather-based with purple accents all through, a pleasant praise to the flat exterior grey end. Nonetheless, the star of the present is Rolls-Royce’s bespoke carbon fiber sample featured on the dashboard, middle console, door panels, and rear tray tables. As an alternative of adopting a typical carbon fiber weave, the British carmaker makes use of a diamond sample with metallic fibers. The result’s an inside that appears much less race-ready and extra sparkly and costly.

Every part you work together with inside this automotive options leather-based, carbon fiber, or metallic. I couldn’t discover a single cheap-feeling floor on this inside. Regardless of its shut ties to BMW, Rolls-Royce does an ideal job of constructing even fundamental switches and buttons really feel as costly as they need to.

Because the thirsty Ghost started asking for extra go-juice, I encountered one of many detrimental features of driving such an costly automotive. After stopping in a small fuel station in the midst of nowhere, I used to be approached by a number of sketchy characters, asking in regards to the automotive, and consequently, for cash. To get out of there rapidly, I crammed up $72.12 value of 91 octane gas and stored it shifting. Up till this level, I had by no means felt unsafe behind the wheel of this $500,000 sedan. However in a cut up second, it grew to become clear that driving such a recognizable signal of wealth has its drawbacks.

Fortunately, as we rejoined the freeway, we had an uneventful remaining drive to Los Angeles, pulling into my neighborhood simply because the solar was setting. Regardless of yet one more lengthy day of driving, I nonetheless felt refreshed, as if I may’ve carried on for one more six hours.

After three days, listed here are the stats:

  • Whole Distance: 1031.4 Miles
  • Common Pace: 62.50 MPH
  • Gasoline Consumption 13.6 MPG
  • Gasoline Stops: 3
  • Whole Gasoline Price (est): $215 

After greater than 1,000 miles behind the wheel of the 2022 Rolls-Royce Ghost Black Badge, it’s clear that this automotive excels at strolling a effective line between a genuinely sporty sedan and a conventional luxurious land yacht. With its ominous aesthetic, sporty drive, and well-appointed tech-filled inside, this Ghost is extra Millennial than Boomer. 

As a 26-year-old born in an space the place the typical family revenue hovers across the poverty line, I’m under no circumstances this automotive’s audience. But by some means, its enchantment is tough to withstand. Whether or not or not it’s the attract of driving an immediately recognizable icon or a real appreciation for this automotive’s great engineering achievements, the Ghost Black Badge tugs at my heartstrings in the identical approach an unique poster automotive does.

Oddly sufficient, the stats present that I’m not alone. The common age for Rolls-Royce clients has been plummeting as of late, from the mid-50s to the low 40s. With the addition of the Black Badge and extra younger millionaires than ever earlier than, I wouldn’t be stunned if that common age dipped into the 30s comparatively quickly.

No matter how previous you might be or which of Rolls-Royce’s 44,000 “able to put on” colours you select, in case your pockets are deep sufficient to afford certainly one of these machines, don’t be afraid to place some severe miles on it. The Black Badge is almost faultless as a highway journey machine, delivering a driving expertise solely a $500,000 tremendous sedan can.

Patrick Moore

Patrick is our chief editor and he's very passionate about cars. He has a bachelor's degree in marketing and he studies journalism. His favorite brand is BMW and he drives an X5 series. When he's not writing for, he enjoys spending time with his family and 9 years old son.

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