BACK IN BLACK

The best way to nav­i­gate Tokyo’s sprawl­ing me­trop­o­lis is in a Rolls-royce Black Badge Wraith or Ghost.

Robb Report (Malaysia) - - Wheels - By DARYL LEE

The Rolls- Royce Black Badge col­lec­tion, which com­prises the Wraith coupes and Ghost lim­ou­sines, are a bit of a con­tra­dic­tion. They are at once the most sub­tle and most ex­tro­vert cars in the en­tire Rolls-royce fam­ily.

Sub­tle be­cause you can only have them in one colour, black. Though not just any black, mind you. Rolls- Royce says it’s the “most in­tense black ever seen on a pro­duc­tion car sur­face”. I agree, and I think so did the pho­tog­ra­pher ac­com­pa­ny­ing me on my jaunt through Tokyo.

The Black Badge cars must have been an un­holy ter­ror to shoot, es­pe­cially at night. The paint­work seems to ab­sorb all avail­able light, giv­ing the ef­fect of a black hole glid­ing through Tokyo’s streets.

And while the black­est car ever made (anec­do­tally, any­way) could be con­sid­ered sub­tle, it is, in a sense, rather loud sim­ply be­cause of that. Af­ter all, it’s dif­fi­cult to miss a void in the fab­ric of space­time that’s mov­ing at an im­pres­sive rate of knots. Said speed is pro­vided for by the fa­mil­iar 6.6-litre twin­turbo V12, though in the case of Black Badge, it’s been up­rated over reg­u­lar vari­ants. Ghost sees a 40bhp and 60Nm bump to 603bhp and 840Nm, while Wraith’s torque gets a boost of 50Nm to 870Nm.

And there’s no deny­ing a car well over five me­tres long is con­spic­u­ous, es­pe­cially so in Tokyo. Re­mem­ber, this is a coun­try whose trans­port leg­is­la­tions have cod­i­fied mi­cro­cars into the kei class. In­ci­den­tally, the max­i­mum al­low­able en­gine ca­pac­ity for a car to be con­sid­ered a kei ji­dosha is 660cc, ex­actly a 10th that of what the Rolls-royce duo have.

At any rate, the Rolls-royce Black Badge cars do have a hid­den, wilder side be­cause, while their ex­te­rior may be black, there are bold hits of or­ange and red in their in­te­rior up­hol­stery (Ghost and Wraith re­spec­tively).

And that’s an apt metaphor for Tokyo be­cause it, too, is a megac­ity steeped in con­tra­dic­tions. From the in­nu­mer­able signs il­lu­mi­nat­ing Shibuya and the in­ter­na­tional de­signer brands fram­ing the boule­vards of the Omote­sando and Ginza dis­tricts, head just a few blocks away from the main street and the neigh­bour­hood’s com­plex­ion changes com­pletely.

Just like where I dined at one evening, Hi­gashi-yama. Lo­cated in the Me­guro district, it’s barely 10 min­utes away from Shibuya, but the in­ces­sant buzz and hu­man traf­fic is re­placed by quiet sub­ur­ban charm.

Make no mis­take, Me­guro has suit­ably up­mar­ket town­houses, and housed in one of them is Hi­gashiYama, a restau­rant serv­ing mod­ern Ja­panese kaiseki. A so- dis­creet-asto-be-un­no­tice­able plaque adorns the start of a long en­trance­way,

Rolls- Royce Black Badge cars do have a hid­den, wilder side.

Ac­cord­ing to Rolls-royce, “Black Badge speaks to a younger, more as­sertive cus­tomer”.

Black fea­tures strongly through­out the Ghost (above) and Wraith (be­low) mod­els. Even the Spirit of Ec­stasy on the Wraith (fac­ing page) has suc­cumbed to this dark­est of shades.

De­cem­ber - 2017

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