There is a special fascination with experiencing a Rolls-Royce in form of an SUV
Interestingly, the all-terrain concept is not entirely new to Rolls-Royce. Back in the early 1900’s in the North African war theatre, the legendary Lawrence of Arabia is quoted as saying his fleet of nine modified Rolls-Royces are “More valuable than rubies in the desert”. The modern day challenge however for the designers and engineers at Rolls-Royce was to create an all-new model, that stayed true to the brand and would not only meet but exceed the all terrain capabilities other SUV’s on the market.
After the extensive testing program that every new model is put through, Cullinan was given its “final challenge,” an epic three continent, 12,000-mile journey through the Arabian Desert, the Scottish highlands and the Austrian Alps. Cullinan was taken beyond its normal comfort zones—in uncharted style. Simply put, it’s a new diamond in Rolls Royce’s crown of ultra-luxury automobiles.
On the magic carpet
My first test drive, in and around Vancouver, proved that Cullinan’s engineers have indeed managed to retain their trademark “magic carpet ride”, regardless of road conditions. To make this happen, it boasts a modular aluminum space frame, the “Architecture of Luxury” in Rolls-Royce speak, the same one that’s found in the brands ultra-sophisticated Phantom. The vehicle’s seemingly unlimited power reserves are supplied by a 12-cylinder, 560 hp turbocharged engine via an ultra smooth 8-speed automatic transmission, pulling this 2,660 kg luxury living room to a top speed of 250 km/hr. in effortless style.
A world apart
In addition to every conceivable safety feature, there are a number of interesting and unique design details available that set Cullinan apart from other SUV’s including a clear glass partition between the passenger compartment and the rear luggage area. A definite bonus when it comes to stopping a blast of Whistler cold air or hushing the bellboy’s chatter while he’s loading our luggage. The signature Rolls-Royce umbrella is close at hand, resting in the rear coach doors. And for those, wanting to watch an outdoor polo match from the comfort of the Cullinan’s split tailgate, two leather-clad seats and a matching cocktail table can be deployed from a floor compartment at the press of a button.
Indeed the Cullinan is fit for fox hunters, glamorous off-roaders and possibly a Queen who might just be persuaded to give up her precious Rover, especially if there are horses involved.
Rolls Royce Cullinan
Engine: 12-cylinder, turbocharged
Power: 560 hp
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Top speed: 250 km/h
Price as tested: $335,000