ROLLS-ROYCE has unveiled the latest addition to its range – the Cullinan. It’s the brand’s first SUV and arguably one of the most luxurious vehicles money can buy.
Based on an all-new aluminium chassis architecture, the Cullinan takes its name from the largest clear-cut diamond ever discovered, which now sits within the Crown Jewels. The brand won’t call it an SUV, of course, preferring the term ‘high-bodied vehicle’ – but the chunky silhouette, ample ground clearance and bluff front end mean there’s no real doubt as to where it sits.
Pitched above even the Bentley Bentayga – which starts from £135,800 – the Cullinan packs Rolls-Royce’s 6.75-litre V12 engine under its enormous bonnet. Producing 563bhp and 850Nm of torque, it’s mated to the brand’s first modern four-wheel-drive system, which also encompasses four-wheel steering for greater agility and stability.
Four-wheel drive isn’t the only first for the Cullinan, either. It’s also the first Rolls to use a hatchback tailgate and the first to include folding rear seats. The brand doesn’t envisage the car being used for trips to flat-pack furniture stores or the tip, however, and suggests that it may be used for leisure pursuits such as fly fishing, photography, rock climbing, base jumping or volcano boarding.
To aid this are what Rolls calls ‘Recreation Modules’ – custom-built drawer and shelving systems that slot into the boot of the car to house the paraphernalia needed to pursue your leisure activities in comfort and style.
And if your hobbies take you off the beaten track, the new all-wheel-drive system should keep you moving. There’s nothing as uncouth as locking differential switches, low-range gearboxes or the like here, though – instead, the ‘Everywhere’ button harnesses all off-road tools together to allow effortless travel regardless of terrain.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Rolls-Royce if it weren’t comfortable, and the brand claims to have translated the trademark ‘Magic Carpet’ ride to the high-riding Cullinan both on and off-road.
The interior is reminiscent of the latest Phantom but includes Rolls’ first touchscreen infotainment system. All four passengers will be ensconced in the finest leather, with heating and ventilation at their fingertips. Equipment is generous, too – as you might expect – and the Cullinan comes with night vision cameras, wildlife and pedestrian warnings, all-around cameras, active cruise control, a wifi hotspot and the industry’s largest head-up display.
‘The super-luxury lifestyle is evolving and Rolls-Royce is in the lead,’ said the company’s chief executive, Torsten Müller-Ötvös. ‘Luxury is no longer an urban concept. More and more, it is about embracing the wider world.
‘For this reason, our customers have asked us to create a Rolls-Royce that offers uncompromised luxury wherever they dare to venture. Cullinan is just that. It is effortless, everywhere.’
Expect pricing for the Cullinan to be well in excess of £300,000 – though Rolls-Royce’s bespoke nature means customers will be able to specify their cars with just about any modification under the sun – for the appropriate price, of course.
— Rolls-RoyceMotorCars (@rollsroycecars) May 10, 2018
Running costs will be similarly pricey – Rolls-Royce claims just 18.8mpg on the combined cycle, and CO2 emissions of 341g/km place it squarely in the most expensive tax bracket. But will that matter to most buyers? We don’t think so.
Written by Tom Wiltshire
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