The all-new Cullinan – named after the largest uncut diamond known to man – is the first ever SUV to roll out of the Rolls-Royce Motor Cars facility in Goodwood, West Sussex, not too far from the iconic Goodwood Motor Racing Circuit.
This break from the Rolls-Royce tradition has certainly set the cat amongst the pigeons in the SUV world – a fact that becomes evident the moment you set your eyes on this piece of automotive art.
This high-bodied, all-terrain vehicle sits on Rolls-Royce’s new aluminum space-frame platform – an architectural marvel Cullinan shares with the new generation Rolls-Royce Phantom – the actual flagship.
The Cullinan has the distinctive Rolls-Royce styling, which includes a large bonnet (hood), brawny flanks, straight lines and the unmistakeable pantheon grille; in short, the Rolls-Royce DNA is evident inside out.
The vehicle is being offered in two versions, initially – the 5-seater and the 4-seater configurations, the former being the more practical of the two, but then that’s a subjective view.
The 5-seater has a bench-like setup, for want of a better description, with no center console to segregate the passenger area in the rear; and the space created by the absence of the console can comfortably accommodate a third passenger, as well.
Also, the rear seating is set higher than the front seats, affording an uninterrupted view to backseat passengers.
And, of course, the four-seater model brings back the luxury console in the center of the rear seat, separating the space into two passenger zones.
The advantage here is that the seats are more adjustable and the center console is a treasure chest of luxury, with amenities like refrigerator, drinks cabinet with high-end whiskey glasses and decanter, champagne flutes – the full treatment, so to speak.
While SUVs are what you call “two-box” cars, Cullinan is the first SUV, ever, with a “three-box arrangement: the engine space covered by the long hood in the front section of the car is one box for you; the interior, or the cabin, is the second box; and the boot area is what Rolls Royce is referring to as the third box.
So, what’s so special about the Cullinan’s boot to earn it a third box status?
To answer that, let’s start by saying that this is one boot space you haven’t seen the likes of because it’s not the conventional boring space that we associate with car boots.
Rolls Royce has, indeed, taken the boot concept to a whole new level in the Cullinan, which could well prove to be the game-changer in the SUV world.
At the touch of a button inside the Cullinan’s customizable trunk, two folded seats slide out from a hidden cavity, with a small table between the seats that you can just pull up.
It offers a comfortable vantage point to enjoy the views when you are parked in one of the myriad locations this all-terrain wonder is capable of taking you to, but more on that a bit later.
And, this is just the standard version we’re talking about here; imagine what you can create with the bespoke options.
In short, Rolls Royce has given you space separate from the rest of the car – the third box – which you can customize to your fancy; and Rolls Royce is allowing you the freedom to ask for whatever you want – you’d likely get it.
Before we move on to other areas of the car, the tailgate, referred to as “the clasp,” certainly deserves a mention, the automatic split setup opening and closing vertically at the touch of a button.
The 22-inch wheels are exquisitely finished and are befitting of the prestigious Rolls Royce brand; the rear coach doors are hinged to open backward, its handle aligned with that of the front door, appearing to be merged together when the doors are closed.
The inside of the Cullinan’s cabin is a stunning blend of class and technology, front and back and above – plenty of leather and metal, bespoke luxury, and state-of-the-art gadgetry.
Talking of technology, the Cullinan boasts every imaginable tech feature in a car, including four night-vision-capable cameras with panoramic views, active cruise control, alertness assistant, pedestrian and wildlife alert, Wi-Fi hotspot, touchscreen displays, and power seats with massage.
It doesn’t end there; there’s also lane departure, cross traffic and collision warnings for that extra bit of safety, which can never be too much.
So, what actually drives this gorgeous hunk of luxury on all-terrain wheels?
Well, it’s the massive Rolls-Royce 6.75-liter V12 engine – a transplant from the Phantom – running 563 brake horsepower (bhp) with 850 Newton meters of torque, and it is not only an all-wheel drive vehicle but has an all-wheel steering, too.
It has everything it takes to cruise as well as the Rolls Royce Dawn, or the Phantom; and more when it comes to driving off the beaten path, on any kind of terrain, be it sand, snow, gravel, wet grass, or mud, with a wading depth of 540mm.
The self-leveling air suspension system, combined with the car’s all-wheel capability, gives you that “magic carpet” ride that has become synonymous with the brand, and in Cullinan’s case, the level of comfort remains unaffected regardless of the terrain you’re driving on.
The seamless integration of luxury, technology, precision, engineering – everything – ensures that graceful gliding experience exclusive to the Cullinan.
Unlike other SUVs, you don’t have to fumble with controls to calibrate the Cullinan’s 4×4 capabilities to match the terrain you’re driving on; it works all that out itself and adjusts accordingly to give optimal performance on any terrain.
It has a Phantom-like flag bearer system, which uses the onboard cameras along with GPS to scan and pre-empt the road in front of the vehicle, thereby allowing the car to adjust to the undulations, bumps, and whatever else, along the way.
In a brief summation, the Rolls-Royce Cullinan is truly one of its kind; there has never been a Rolls Royce before that blended luxury, class, and aggression with the perfection and finesse with which the Cullinan does.
This car has to be a trendsetter – a true game changer.
“The reason behind adding Cullinan to our range is very much customer-driven. You need to understand that our segment – the ultra high net worth individuals are getting younger and younger and they are also catering for a completely different lifestyle – more relaxed, more easy going, more casual, more outdoor, using cars for all kind of purposes and that, of course, is a big driver, while SUVs, in general, are more and more popular and also that we see now that SUV moving also into the high-end luxury market,” said Torsten Müller-Ötvös – CEO Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.
“Cullinan is highly important for our customer base worldwide as they are changing quite considerable when it comes to age, use patterns, and so on, and for that reason, we took our time and I think we did a brilliant job finally – in a way mixing up what RR is famous about (for) and that is “magic carpet ride” and combining that with all-terrain capabilities, unseen before for the brand RR,” he added.