Rolls’ Black Badge edition makes a good investment

Hannah Elliott
Bloomberg News

The $362,700 Rolls-Royce Wraith Black Badge costs $47,000 more than the standard Rolls-Royce Wraith. Which is a lot to pay additionally for virtually the same model.

Here’s what you get for that 13 percent price increase: high-gloss chrome (a lot of it) and edgier performance. Also, you get something that’s well-known among fans of the brand but is, at 150 cars a year, very hard to get.

Black Badge denotes a special line of motorcars that come with higher performance and are outfitted more preciously, with a darker overall aesthetic. (There is also a Ghost Black Badge.) At first glance, this coupe doesn’t look radically different from the conventional Wraith. Both feature a dark hood that seems to stretch a mile down the road in front of you, and a roofline that unfurls like smoke around you.

They each have two carriage-style doors, too, which helps their investment value: Two-door cars generally do better at auction. During the past 10 years, all two-door collectible Rolls-Royces tracked by Hagerty Insurance Agency Inc. have increased 60 percent in value, while Rolls’s four-door sedans have increased by only 25 percent.

Moreover, the Wraith Black Badge is unique in having a dark chrome Spirit of Ecstasy ornament and blackened air inlets, plus new, 21-inch, jet-black, carbon-fiber composite rims that channel Italian supercars from the 1960s; these took four years to develop, and it takes a week to make one. It also has carbon fiber and aluminum threads woven together in a new sort of technical fascia along the dash, if you choose that option.

The Wraith Black Badge is that rare kind of car that often slides down the road much less noticed than its standard-issue siblinguntil it’s noticed. Then people realize it’s major.

The 624-horsepower Wraith Black Badge is equally as powerful as the Wraith but has a brand-new, eight-speed gearbox that makes it smoother to drive.

It also has been engineered for increased torque (642 pound-feet vs. 605) and Intuitive Throttle Response, which works to sharpen gear and engine responses based on the style of your driving. The intelligent air suspension system has been upgraded, too, to help maintain the signature Rolls-Royce glide effect, even with the edgier engineering.

Any collector knows that, when given a choice between similar models, always pick the one with the juice.

The truly special Rolls-Royce is the one that is totally bespoke from the ground up, and made to exact specifications in a one-off order from a wealthy private customer. But with its increased performance and additional creature comforts, the Wraith Black Badge also embodies Rolls-Royce sport touring in the modern age. It fits the prime investment criteria for 30 years.

You’ve just got to fit it into your budget.