After three years of rumours, camo’d prototypes and being battered by the slogan Effortless, Everywhere, Rolls Royce have revealed their entrant into the SUV sector.
The Cullinan – named after the famous diamond, of course – comes with plenty of plush furnishing, pampering tech and tagline enforcing all-wheel drive.
As was clear from the first time we saw a prototype, the front end is unmistakably Roller. The grille, the lights and the bonnet ornament are textbook. The rear is unusual to see, as there’s no design language for a Rolls Royce of this shape, i.e. a wagon or an estate. The Cullinan incorporates the hips of it’s siblings and similar rectangular tail lights into a tidy rear end with a two-part tailgate entitled ‘The Clasp’.
When someone reaches for the door handle, the vehicle drops by 40mm to ensure they embark smoothly, and it readjusts itself back to usual height upon ignition.
Needless to say the interior has wooden inserts, leather upholstery, champagne flute holders and everything else you’d expect in a Rolls Royce. Rear Pavilion seating, in both four and five seat variants, sits passengers in the back higher up to enjoy the views and make the most of the massive panoramic sunroof, and almost every surface of the interior is heated – seats, armrests, door sills and even the lower C-pillar. The infotainment is the first touch-screen system to be installed by the marque, and it isn’t the only new addition.
Unsurprisingly, the Cullinan is the first Rolls to feature an off-road mode and hill descent control, whilst the air suspension can be raised and lowered from the centre console. Presumably the development of these was when the vehicle was ‘tested to destruction’.
Powering the 2.6-tonne luxury SUV is a 6.75-litre, twin turbo V12 petrol unit, redeveloped to produce 563bhp and, most importantly, 627lbf.ft of torque at just 1,600rpm – making it easily accessible off-road. This gives a top speed of 155mph.
Electronic sensors adjust the shock absorbers, to push wheels short of traction into the ground, and the suspension set-up consists of a double-wishbone arrangement at the front and a five-link rear axle and the Cullinan has a wading depth of 540mm in the tallest suspension setting, plus four-wheel steering.
Possibly the least surprising stat here is that the Rolls Royce Cullinan is big. From nose to tail is 5.34m, it stands 1.83m tall and 2.16m wide, with a wheelbase marginally shy of 3.3m. This results in a 13-metre turning circle, so maybe nothing too technical. It won’t be cheap either, duh, with prices expected to rival the Bentley Bentayga at over £200,000.
The Cullinan certainly enters the luxury SUV sector with a dignified stroll, but whether it gets Rolls Royce customers down their local green lanes remains to be seen. Not that there are many in Mayfair…