South Beach, Miami was the upscale setting. The ultra-luxe Faena Hotel was allegedly where we would lay our heads, but you know South Beach – the party just keeps on going. Ocean racing in million-dollar speedboats, dinner at the finest steakhouse in Miami with free-flowing champagne, and after party dancing until the Sun came up would be part of our experience. And of course, our desired transportation was a definitive statement of bespoke luxury: the 2022 Roll-Royce Ghost Black Badge.
The ultimate fantasy? Yes, for some, including myself. But for a typical Rolls-Royce Black Badge owner, our experience depicted what could be just another day in rarified air, as many owners have the financial means to pretty much do what they want, and they do it with gusto.
So when Roll-Royce invited a select group of automotive and lifestyle journalists to South Beach to experience “A Day in the Life,” I was totally unaware of what to expect. What we experienced will go down in the annals of my travel, lifestyle and automotive experiences as simply “epic.”
“Black Badge is not about a car,” said Richard Carter, Director of Global Communications for Rolls-Royce Motorcars, who hosted our experience. “It’s more about an ethos, a lifestyle. When you understand the notion of that, you understand Rolls-Royce Motorcars.”
Our day began with an exquisite buffet lunch at Faena Hotel, one of the most eclectic hotels on South Beach. Originally the Saxony Hotel, the property opened in 1948 and was considered the most lavish and expensive hotel of its time. In 2015, Alan Faena reimagined the property with the goal of achieving a new benchmark for luxury and hospitality. Today, Faena Hotel recalls the glamour of the 1950’s with artful visual languages and stunning Art Deco treatments from the gold-gilded grand foyer to interesting artifacts, including a Wooly Mammoth skeleton sculpture on display in the Faena outdoor cabana area called “Mammoth Garden.” These carefully curated design elements are part of the reason for the popularity of the property, where typical weekend prices are over $1,100 per night, depending on season.
From lunch we headed to the Miami Beach Marina in a fleet of Rolls-Royce Cullinans, the ultimate luxury Sport-Ute. There, we boarded a pair of Midnight Express speedboats, each featuring multiple outboard motors outputting over 2400 horsepower. Our boats were the 43-foot “Open” model, with seating for up to 20. Depending on motor configurations, speeds of up to 85 miles per hour are possible. After a few speed runs on smooth Biscayne Bay, we drooled at the luxury homes on Star Island, and crossed under the Venetian Causeway. We then headed out onto the Atlantic Ocean. Our able captain politely told us to “hold on,” and then he let the Midnight Express loose. We hit a screaming 75 mph, which feels like you are going 150 mph on land. Big fun, and at $1.3 million for each rig, another typical adventure for a Black Badge owner, who may have a Midnight Express as a smaller boat when they’re not on their 100 foot plus, ocean-going yacht.
After the exhilarating ride on water, it was time to drive and exhilarating motorcar, the new Ghost Black Badge.
What is Black Badge? It’s the darker, more sensuous side of the storied marque from Goodwood, United Kingdom. Black Badge is for those who reject conformity and live on their own terms. It’s for the innovators, trailblazers, rule-breakers, and above all – those who dare.
Black Badge is also bolder in performance and handling, and offers myriad customization options through Rolls’ Bespoke Program.
It’s important to note that Black Badge models have radically changed the demographic for Rolls-Royce. Just a few years ago, the average age of those who commission their Rolls was 56. Today it’s 43 years old. Whereas some previous models appealed to those who wanted to be driven, today’s Black Badge models appeal to those who want to drive.
So Ghost joins Dawn, Wraith and Cullinan in the Black Badge stable, and it does not disappoint.
Before driving around Miami including iconic Little Havana, we performed testing at a park adjacent to South Beach’s white sands. Under the safety eye of local constables, we executed acceleration runs and experienced how Ghost Black Badge’s sophisticated all-wheel drive system performed under hard figure-eight maneuvers on a slcik palm-leaf-strewn road surface, where the Ghost kept its composure.
Regarding acceleration, Ghost Black Badge felt like an electric car from Porsche or Tesla, as this baby absolutely flies. Power comes from the venerable twin turbo 6.75-liter V12, outputting 592 horsepower and 664 lb-ft of torque. Need a bit more power and a throatier exhaust note? Put Ghost Black Badge in “Low” driving mode and it really comes to life. This car is fast, quiet, handles like a sports car, and of course, is laden with ultimate luxury accoutrements.
My test Ghost carried a MSRP of $395,500. The Black Badge package adds a significant amount of amenities, and is priced at $43,850.
Various options from two-tone paint, to immersive seating, to rear picnic tables and much more raised the total tally to $519,175, inclusive of destination and gas guzzler charges.
Our “Day in the Life” was capped by a delicious steak and champagne dinner at renowned Papi Steak, where we shut the place down by rolling up in a fleet of ten Ghost and Cullinan Black Badge models. After dinner saw us dancing till dawn at the Faena Nightclub.
What an impressive experience, as it was a grand look at how “one percenters” may choose to live their expressive lives. Thank you Rolls-Royce for the experience!
Finally, many Rolls-Royce owners are true Pursuitists that have also demonstrated high levels of philanthropy worldwide.
Given the classy nature of the cars they choose, that doesn’t surprise me at all.
Pursuitist automotive and lifestyle contributor Brian Armstead has been involved in print, radio, web and television for over 47 years. Brian has traveled to 79 countries. He is a North American Car, Truck and Utility of the Year (NACTOY) Juror.