Rolls-Royce Cullinan, the brand's first SUV, breaks cover

Rolls-Royce, the ultimate definition of luxury on wheels, turned a page in its storied history with the unveiling of the all-new Cullinan today. For you, me and the rest of the world that can't afford one, the Cullinan is a ultra-luxury SUV (Sport Utility Vehicle). For Rolls-Royce and it's well-heeled clientele, this is a high-sided vehicle. However you choose to call it, there is no escaping the fact that even the mighty Rolls-Royce has finally succumbed to the SUV fever that has gripped the automotive industry.

Mixing ultra-luxury and off-roading ability isn't a concept unheard of before. Land Rover has been doing that for decades with the Range Rover. Bentley, Rolls-Royce's arch-rival, did it a couple of years back with the Bentayga. And it's the latter the Cullinan is aimed at. 

The Phantom - Rolls-Royce’s flagship limousine in the current era - plays an influential role in every new model from the British car-maker and the Cullinan is no different. In fact, the fascia is near identical with a large, classy, stainless steel grille dominating the proceedings. Flanked by a pair of thin headlamps with LED Daytime Running Lights in the form of ‘eyebrows’, the Cullinan - just like the Phantom - announces your arrival like no other. The boxy design in profile stands out mainly for a couple of reasons – those huge 22-inch wheels (Yes, you read that right!) and the rear-hinged ‘suicide’ doors! Don’t miss the strong shoulder line and the dropping roof line. At the rear, the protruding boot lid is said to be inspired by the D-Back Rolls-Royces of the 1930s while the D-shaped taillights, whilst resembling those in the Phantom, feature stunning attention to detail. 

The Cullinan is built on the same aluminium space-frame platform, named the 'Architect of Luxury', that also underpins the current Phantom. Also borrowed from Rolls-Royce's flagship limousine is the 6.8-liter twin-turbocharged V12 engine, albeit with enough modifications and developments to deliver what's required under the hood of this SUV. With figures that read 571 horsepower and a massive 850 Nm of torque - most of it delivered from as low as 1,600 rpm, the Cullinan should be one real quick SUV on road. Top speed is electronically limited to 250 km/h.  

Engineered to feel equally at home off the beaten track as it does parked at the porch of a luxury hotel, the Cullinan offers All-Wheel-Drive as standard, a first for Rolls-Royce. Mud slinging, dune bashing, river crossing and traversing through snow-topped roads - the Cullinan did all of that and much more as part of its pre-launch development testing. The party trick includes a self-levelling air suspension that helps the Cullinan deliver the famed ‘Magic Carpet’ ride Rolls-Royces are famous for across every terrain and road surface. The shock absorber is electronically controlled and uses an air compression system to actively push down any wheel it detects losing traction.

The Cullian's interiors, as you would expect, looks absolutely fabulous and is said to have been made from some of the finest quality materials available. Needless to say, the motive is to pamper the occupants like no other. And pamper it would, we're sure. In what’s a first for the brand, the Phantom-inspired dashboard gets a touchscreen for the infotainment system. Two configurations can be ordered - a 5-seater that comes with a rear bench and a 4-seater that gets ‘Individual Seats’ at the rear. In between them is a drinks cabinet that accommodates a refrigerator and champagne flutes. Another feature that’s likely to be appreciated is the Viewing Suite that magically gets you two leather seats and a cocktail table from a stowage partition in the Cullinan’s boot at the touch of a button. Of course, that’s not to be used when the car is in motion!

Top-notch safety suite is a given with Rolls-Royce equipping the Cullinan with features including night vision, vision assist including wildlife and pedestrian detection, a four-camera surround system with panoramic view and helicopter view, active cruise control and collision warning.  
You never thought you would live to see this day, did you? But then, nothing happened when Bentley launched the Bentayga nor did we lose our minds when Lamborghini launched the Urus recently. So, we will live to see another day.

Named after the largest diamond ever discovered, the Cullinan is sure to expand the BMW-owned brand's reach and profitability. The mere prospect of owning an ultra-luxury automobile that could be driven to the nicest mansion in Manhattan as well as cross-continental drives would make potential owners salivate. And that's just what Rolls-Royce wants.  

As they proudly say, luxury travel is now Effortless, Everywhere!

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