The launch of the Rolls-Royce Cullinan has been a bigger tease than Stormy Daniels’ ‘Make America Horny Again’ tour with officially sanctioned shots of camouflaged mules pictured everywhere from Dubai to Dubrovnik. And then images of the real thing accidentally leaked yesterday. Oops. All that build up and nothing but a misfire.
Interestingly, Rolls-Royce spent most of that time insisting that the Cullinan – named after the world’s largest diamond, now part of the British Crown Jewels – was a ‘high-sided vehicle’ and definitely not an SUV. But with the world still descending into peak SUV frenzy, the company has bowed to the inevitable although it insists that the Cullinan is the world’s first ‘three-box’ SUV because a glass partition separates the luggage area from the passenger compartment. Which, now we come to think of it, is a pretty good idea.
Other firsts – at least for Rolls-Royce – are a split tailgate, which the company refers to as ‘The Clasp’ for some reason. Maybe to do with diamonds, I don’t really know. The car also has split folding rear seats for ‘functional’ purposes or, in the words of the press release ‘For those wishing to carry a long item back from their trip – whether it be a Mark Rothko from the Art Gallery or a newly discovered artefact from the latest archaeological dig’. So art thieves and tomb raiders then.
You can, of course, specify your Rolls-Royce with ‘Individual Seats’ in the rear (the kids are off at boarding school anyway) and in which case you get a champagne fridge, flutes, whisky glasses and a decanter. The company claims its ‘Magic Carpet Ride’ suspension has been re-engineered for off-road work so hopefully you won’t spill a drop as you are chauffeured around the estate.
Adding to the Cullinan’s aims of being ‘Effortless, Everywhere’ are four-wheel drive and all-wheel steering channelling the twin-turbo V12’s 420kW and 850Nm to whatever is beneath your wheels (you won’t know or care). No performance figures have been released but we can assume that with that torque arriving at just 1600rpm, the ‘Effortless’ bit isn’t an empty boast.
As for the ‘Everywhere’, well the Cullinan has a button labelled just that to allow the driver to alter the off-road settings. Presumably pressing it summons a gang of labourers to clear the terrain ahead.
Now, this might be a controversial view, but Rolls-Royce’s established styling cues have translated pretty well to the ultra-luxury SUV segment. A Rolls should look commanding and superior and there’s no doubt the Rolls-Royce Cullinan achieves that although the press release’s claims of it having ‘the prominent brow of a Saxon warrior’ are a bit much. Inside is lots of wood, leather and real metal twiddly bits, as beautifully presented as you’d expect from a firm with German owners but British craftsmen.
Obviously, not a single Rolls-Royce Cullinan is going to be ‘conquering the most challenging terrain’ as the company’s CEO wishfully puts it but Rolls-Royce does at least have more off-road pedigree than any other luxury car maker. Nine of its cars were adapted for military use and campaigned by Lawrence of Arabia who said, “A Rolls in the desert is above rubies.” What’s better than rubies? Diamonds, diamonds are better than rubies.
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