The most British and luxurious of all automotive brands is one that has remained unaffected by the viral spread of SUVs. Until now!
In a perfectly soundproof cockpit, which houses more than 100kgs of soundproofing material and rolls on Continental tyres filled with bespoke foam, we could hear the voice of U2’s Bono as if he was there in the car with us. The road on which we were travelling began from the ski resorts at the base of Snow King Mountain in Jackson Hole (Wyoming, in the US) and went all the way to its peak – at 2,500 metres above sea level. We were on board the Rolls-Royce Cullinan – the first luxury SUV manufactured by the company from Goodwood. With 5.34 metres in length, 3.3 metres in wheelbase, and more than 1.8 metres of height, the Cullinan has gigantic dimensions – designed to give this SUV the advantage of an extremely spacious cabin, especially in the rear. It can be configured either as a single lounge that can seat three people in the second row, or as two individual captain seats with a minibar in the middle.
A puddle on the road, a decision not to avoid it, a push on the pedal, and, before we knew it, a splash on the Spirit of Ecstasy, as a few drops made their way on the big Parthenon-shaped grille – a trademark of vehicles manufactured at Goodwill. The drops of water that landed on the windshield were gently wiped away by the automatic windscreen wipers. Suddenly, the road became narrower, steeper and more insidious. We were forced to put the SUV in its off-road driving mode. All you need is the press of a button, and the air suspension rises, the ride becomes stiffer, the throttle response softer and the traction control a little less restrictive, which can also be completely disabled to allow for some wheel slip.
The ZF 8-speed automatic transmission works impeccably and imperceptibly, and is mated to a powerful 6.75-litre, V12 twin-turbo engine that produces 563bhp and a maximum torque of 850Nm. As we continued the journey, the only outside noise that we could hear was the one produced as stones hit the underbody of the car – which is protected by an aluminium plate. Nothing seemed to disturb Bono’s performance.
A sequence of hairpin bends meant we had to engage in careful, but easy, manoeuvring of the car – forcing us to caress the soft leather of the steering wheel more than once. The manually adjustable front camera projects on the screen in the dashboard what the long hood hides from the driver’s eye.
After some time, we reached the peak. With a click, the boot opened, which is insulated from the cabin by a glass partition. Another click, and the Viewing Suite – two comfortable and stylish leather upholstered rear-facing seats – unfolded in the boot, transforming the Cullinan into a luxury bench. It could be used to enjoy beautiful vistas or to watch your children play, or as an ideal place to enjoy a fishing expedition. The elaborate interior finished in high-quality leather and inlays retains the archetypal features of Rolls-Royce and is nothing short of breath-taking. And even though the instrumentation is digital, it exudes a nostalgic air, a sense of tradition – it has analogical indications with a subtle retro charm. The frigid temperature of minus 8-degrees at the peak of the mountain reminded us to activate the heating function and seat massage option, which instantly imbued us with a sense of warm comfort.
Soon after, our day came to a close. Now, it was time to reluctantly return the keys of this magnificent SUV. One thing is for certain that, after the Cullinan, SUVs won’t be the same anymore. Oh, and if you have to ask the price, it only means that you can’t afford one!
The Cullinan not only confirms, but also emphasizes, the magnificence and grandeur of Rolls-Royce. The interior very well preserves its tradition, and, as can be seen in the photos below, the exclusivity of both the style and materials used exudes the uniqueness that distinguishes the British manufacturer from any other brand.
- Rolls-Royce Cullinan
Engine: 6,750cc / V12 / Twin-turbo
Transmission: 8-Speed Automatic / All-Wheel Drive
Power: 563bhp @ 5,000rpm
Torque: 850Nm @ 1,600rpm
Accelaration: 0-100km/h – 5.2 seconds
Top Speed: 250km/h
Fuel Economy: 6.7km/l
Dimensions and Weight : Wheelbase – 3,330mm Length – 5,340mm Width – 2,000mm Height – 1,840mm Weight – 2,660kgs
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