It is said to sit above the Rolls-Royce Ghost and below the Rolls-Royce Phantom in brand’s line-up. And with a starting price of $430,000, the Cullinan SUV is expected to become the bestselling model, according to a report by Bloomberg.
An online journal, Auto Express, reports the decision to go into the off-road vehicles by Rolls-Royce may have been influenced by completion, especially with Bentley and Lamborghini producing the Bentayga and the Urus, respectively.
The Cullinan is also the brand’s first all-wheel drive vehicle targeting “younger, more adventurous customers”. It is the fifth model in the prestige British brand’s family and it deviates from the spectre-like naming of the Ghost, Wraith and Phantom into more illuminating territory ushered in by the Dawn, which launched in 2015.
Cullinan is named after the largest rough diamond ever found, over 100 years ago, and weighing in at 3106.75 carats.
The Cullinan SUV weighs just under 6000 pounds and is powered by the same 563-horsepower 6.75-litre twin-turbo V-12 engine found under other Rolls-Royce bonnets.
“Cullinan is a major departure from the norm for Rolls-Royce, but it is a departure that our customers welcome,” says the Rolls-Royce’ Chief Executive Officer, Torsten Muller-Otvos, during a promotional video for the vehicle’s online launch.
According to Auto Express, the vehicle will arguably be the most luxury SUV on the market.
It says, “The eagerly anticipated SUV marks a number of firsts for the luxury British brand; not only is it its first SUV, it’s the first Rolls-Royce with a tailgate and the first model that the company is happy to say is family orientated – at least in some versions.
“Whatever configuration you choose, the Rolls-Royce Cullinan claims to set new standards at the top of the burgeoning luxury SUV market. It’s a proper go-anywhere 4×4, too, but with the mantra that it has to be ‘effortless, everywhere’ – it is a Rolls-Royce after all.”
According to the auto reviewer, it is no doubt a big At 5,341mm long, 2,165mm wide and 1,835mm tall, with a 3,295mm-long wheelbase, the Cullinan sits taller than its primary competitor, the Bentley Bentayga.
It adds that the high-bodied, three-box design has plenty of taut vertical and horizontal lines, making for an imposing presence. Its styling cues include a hand-polished stainless steel front grille, coach format doors and 22-inch wheels.
The new vehicle features a 6.75 litre twin-turbo V12 petrol engine as seen on the Phantom. In terms of performance, the unit offers 563 horsepower at 5,000rpm and 850Nm at 1,600rpm as its output.
Although it notes that no acceleration figures are listed, this is not a car that will leave tyre marks on the tarmac. “Owners will be able to glide their way to a 250km/h electronically-limited top speed,” it states.
At low speeds, the rear wheels turn counter to the front wheels to improve cornering and for narrower U-turns. It also allows for more off-road agility.
At higher cruising speeds, the rear wheels turn in the same direction as the front wheels for better stability.
The reviewer says, “Also used in the Phantom is Cullinan’s air suspension system, which uses electronically controlled shocks for an infinite number of settings and adjustments to the terrain.
“If one wheel loses traction, that wheel’s shock absorber will push down on it until it makes contact with the ground. In that way, the 627 pound-feet of torque available at just 1600rpm is not squandered.”
The automaker calls it magic carpet ride, noting, if Cullinan is anything like the Phantom, it will float over the road and presumably soak up most off-road terrain.
Looking inside the luxury SUV, the Cullinan is said to prepare occupants for entry by lowering itself by 4mm to aid ingress, and once inside, driver and passengers have to press the door-closing button to close the doors – the apertures can also be closed from the outside via a single touch of the sensor on the exterior door handles.
Its cabin novelties include a smaller, thicker steering wheel as well as heated and ventilated seats, and driving information is presented via digital instrumentation, while a central touchscreen offers function selection, map view and vehicle set-up.
“A Spirit of Ecstasy function controller sits on the central console, along with ‘Off-Road’ and Hill Descent Control buttons and height adjustment controls for the air suspension system,” Auto Express says.
The reviewer provides detailed description about the interior features. For instance, it says the rear passenger compartment is where all the prime acreage is, and the automaker says that this has been designed to offer the best seat in the house based on particular needs – the Cullinan has a choice of two rear seating configurations, namely Lounge Seats or Individual Seats.
The Lounge Seat configuration offers space for three passengers in the rear, and the seats can be folded – a first for the brand – via boot or rear door pocket button controls. Both seat backs can be folded completely, creating a flat load area or in a 2/3 and 1/3 split.