Effortless, everywhere. And we believe them.
Hallowed, revered British luxury marque Rolls-Royce is one of those companies that can prattle on about its heritage until your ears fall off. As a result, they’re not ones to really push the envelope and move past what they’ve done traditionally for centuries prior.
But their new SUV, the Rolls-Royce Cullinan, is entirely new ground, made for exploring entirely new ground for a Rolls-Royce motorcar.
“Our customers expect to go everywhere in luxury, effortlessly and without compromise. Cullinan is that car. It is incomparable, and dramatically evolves the parameters of super-luxury travel, translating Rolls-Royce’s ethos of ‘Effortless’ into physical capability, anywhere in the world. Cullinan will simply take the world in its stride.” — Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive Officer, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars
There are a couple of things that don’t quite break new ground though. Under the skin, you’ll find the ‘Architecture of Luxury’ aluminium platform, first seen and used in the new-generation Phantom limousine. The Cullinan also serves to show how flexible and endlessly-customisable the Architecture of Luxury is, having been adapted to fit the brands’ first-ever SUV body above it.
Also not-so-new is the engine under the bonnet. Like the Phantom, the Cullinan makes use of the same six-and-three-quarter litre twin-turbo V12 petrol mill that we were introduced to in the Phantom. There’s ‘adequate’ power and torque to propel the Cullinan through any terrain that lays ahead of it, though for those who want specifics, there’s 420kW and 850Nm. Power naturally goes to all four wheels (this is new), with an eight-speed automatic gearbox aided by GPS and topographical information for perfectly-judged executions.
Though Cullinan might be new-ground for Rolls-Royce, there’s a reassuring familiarity about its aesthetic. From the tall Pantheon grille, its slim headlights with unique LED daytime light signatures, and the commanding stance, you know this is a Rolls-Royce from a mile away.
It also helps that it rides on enormous 22-inch alloys, demanded due to Rolls-Royce’s strict adherence to a body-to-wheel ratio of 1:1.
The interior of the Cullinan is also rather familiar, though it makes a bit of a departure from what we saw with the Phantom. What’s familiar are things like the new fully-digital instrument display, the new steering wheel, and the upgraded infotainment system. The Spirit of Ecstasy takes pride placement on the centre console, the key to manipulating the infotainment system, though it shares its plinth with a new-to-RR button: ‘Off Road.’
What’s a little different is the dashboard itself. Rolls-Royce has opted not to include ‘the Gallery’ feature from the Phantom, a space encased in glass upon the dashboard to display artwork that customers can commission from any artist they like. Its omission on the Cullinan, replaced instead with weather-resistant leather, speaks volumes about how differently Rolls-Royce is positioning the Cullinan, and the kind of buyer that will eventually park one of these on their driveway.
The rear is a bit more familiar though, with a bench seat or two individual chairs offered to buyers (the latter being an option, of course). The Lounge Seat option (or a ‘bench’ to heathens like yours truly) offers the capability to fold in a 40:20:40 configuration, a first for Rolls-Royce, allowing owners to “slip in a new Banksy” should they so desire.
The ‘Individual Seats’ (or the two separate pews) offers a fixed centre console to customers, incorporating a drinks cooler replete with RR-branded glasses, a decanter, and champagne flutes. These chairs can be moved about in “a number of planes” to achieve maximum comfort, as demanded by the average Rolls-Royce customer.
Separated from the passenger cabin (“hermetically-sealed” they claim) is the luggage area, with 560-litres of room on offer, or 600L without the parcel shelf. This is an incredible amount of practicality for a Rolls-Royce, with up to 1930L of room on offer should the Lounge Seats be whirred out of place with the touch of a button. Two more seats are available at the back, but not how you’re expecting: The Viewing Suite is an option that will see fitment of two fold-out, rear-facing chairs, allowing you to catch whatever sporting event might be happening, or to look out across the African savannah.
Being a Rolls for the 21st-century, there’s a plethora of gadgets and modern conveniences on offer. You’ll find the obligatory 360º camera system (necessary on something this large), pedestrian and animal detection, intelligent cruise control with forward collision warning, lane-departure alert and warning system, “industry-leading” heads up display, and even a wireless phone charger.
There are also 5 USB ports. Because penultimate luxury is useless if your phone’s dead and you can’t Instagram the whole experience, right?
While Rolls-Royce Australia has yet to comment on availability and pricing, you can bet that this behemoth will arrive on our shores sooner rather than later, after it hits critical markets like the UAE, China, and Europe. But as they say, if you have to ask…