Meet the primary SUV from the storied ne plus extremely scion of wealth and energy. Cullinan, from Rolls-Royce, is an almost 6,000 pound, high-class bruiser, long-awaited by the highest one % of the One %, who’ve evidently been clamoring for a similar factor everyone else needs when automotive buying — SUVs — however a stratospherically higher model. It’s a correctly good trail-whipper — if not a real rock-crawler — that delivers its uncooked energy with panache. House owners gained’t blink on the $320,000 worth of entry, and the general public will doubtless argue, for some time anyway, concerning the success of its design, however the British marque has produced precisely what it ought to have. This can be a product that stretches its boundaries whereas remaining trustworthy to the model.
The Good: The Cullinan glides superbly down any street, and floats like a cloud over trails. The simplified off-road controls — actually, only a button that claims “Off-Road” — assist restrict confusion or uncertainty, whereas making certain that the automotive can deftly handle any tough or low-friction floor. However the inside is a sight to behold. It’s roomy, plush and really particular in a means no different SUV can match. It’s additionally highly effective, accelerating to 60 mph in lower than six seconds and coughing up 630 lb-ft of torque at simply 1,600 rpm, which means you’ll be able to energy your method out of any mess regardless of the automotive’s bigness.
Who They’re For: Oh my, this can be a loaded query. It’s clearly for fantastically rich property varieties, high-profile athletes and celebrities, and various entrepreneurs and executives who merely groove on the Rolls-Royce vibe. (It’s not for critical off-roader junkies or anybody who thinks for a second they’re going to climb again on this factor after scampering up a mountain path within the rain, with their canine.) However right here’s who else it’s for: those that like their luxurious with a little bit of edge or artfulness to it. Rolls-Royce is the one automotive firm on the earth that may actually get away with things like two-tone finishes (okay, additionally $2.6 million Bugattis), wealthy leather-based tones, sparkly chrome trim seeded all through the inside and exterior and customised inside surfaces adorned with something from colourful modern-art designs to leafy naturalist etchings. No matter you want, Rolls will ship, and ship it properly. That is true as a result of the Rolls-Royce design can really help such inventive ambitions. It’s not a coincidence that the automobiles draw artistic minds as a lot as they do these with extra, let’s assume, imperialist intent. Or simply wealthy people with youngsters. No matter.
Watch Out For: The Cullinan, whereas opulent and succesful, lacks most of the options that youthful consumers may crave, whether or not driver aids like lane-keeping and semi-autonomous freeway driving or digital gizmos within the infotainment system. I suppose there’s one thing to be stated for any Rolls-Royce being an escape from such earthly sirens, however these automobiles however exist in the actual world, occupied by actual individuals with smartphones, lengthy miles to drive and an appreciation for cool and shocking new options. Their lack appears misplaced.
Options: There aren’t many SUV’s that may really come near the Cullinan when it comes to presence, luxurious and design grandeur. The Bentley Bentayga definitely does, adopted by the Land Rover Vary Rover and, at a distant third, the Cadillac Escalade. [Editor’s Note: Lincoln’s Navigator is somewhere high in that mix.] The Lamborghini Urus doesn’t actually matter on this class, because it’s a unique kettle of fish. Anything on the earth doesn’t even benefit being whispered in the identical breath as Cullinan.
Review: Visually, there’s so much to course of with Cullinan. It wouldn’t be solely fallacious, to start with, to state that it’s a jacked-up Phantom, the corporate’s flagship mannequin. They’re constructed on the identical all-aluminum platform, dubbed “The Architecture of Luxury,” and from the entrance, the automobiles exert equally commanding presences. However Cullinan essentially has a really distinct design strategy, given the problem of a taller car and the extra voluminous cargo area out again. The sloping rear glass, delicate creasing and notably chiseled surfaces lend the automotive the aristocratic aura that absolutely flat or absolutely arced surfaces couldn’t possess. Different surfaces add curiosity and beg for exploration. You’ll be able to’t take your eyes off it. So the rear views are in some ways probably the most compelling on this automotive, since they’re shocking, rugged, properly proportioned and don’t solely betray the automotive’s standing. Up entrance, nevertheless, issues change with the imposing chrome grill, capped by the long-lasting Spirit of Ecstasy hood decoration. By now that view is each a glorified signature and polarizing assertion. It’s what makes Cullinan look a bit odd on the paths, however completely at house on the boulevards of Miami, Los Angeles and New York — and some other main international metropolis.
I wouldn’t, nevertheless, describe it as a very critical machine. My metric for that is merely whether or not an SUV would look appropriately decided whereas caravanning dignitaries or spies to necessary treaty signings or James Bondian city assaults. The reply, in fact, is that it gained’t displace the Vary Rover because the go-to software of macho marauding, nor will it kick GMC Yukons to curb whereas punching via the Mexican border with DEA gunslingers within the subsequent Sicario installment. The Cullinan, as with all Rolls-Royces, is far too celebratory and indiscreet to own any whiff of menace in such contexts.
As for its placement in well mannered society, reactions are combined. I drove the automotive through the media launch in Jackson Gap, an space of Wyoming steeped in each wealth and earthy ruggedness. From the again, it slot in brilliantly; from the entrance, it broadcast its standing in a means that doesn’t fairly gel with the native gestalt. However it’s what it’s, and it’s a Rolls-Royce, buddies. Fortuitously, the automotive was for many everybody a pleasure to behold: an enormous, glamorous beast that introduced much more smiles than it did curt sneers, of which there have been certainly one or two. The truth that it’s an SUV appeared to attract probably the most curiosity, and in some ways, it made the Cullinan one thing of an equalizer, even whether it is priced 10 occasions past most of our SUV budgets. Rolls-Royce claims it’s the most-anticipated Rolls within the firm’s historical past, which suggests, in fact, that the wealthy actually are identical to us. All of them need SUV’s!
A drive across the block and up the mountain will seal the cope with a lot of the Cullinan-curious. The journey is magnificent — appropriately cushioned with out being too floaty, and fairly agency in its energy supply. The dual-turbo V12 makes positive of this because of its diesel-like torque supply, pumping 630 lb-ft at simply 1,600 RPM. Meaning it’ll muscle its means up most inclines, with the all-wheel-drive (a primary for Rolls-Royce) expertly flicking energy among the many wheels as wanted for traction. This comes with the press of a single “Off-Road” button, which elevates the air suspension a couple of inches and preps the all-wheel-drive for wilder variations in traction, together with activating the automotive’s means to actively push wheels down for max traction. The system’s torquey low-speed crawling helps keep cautious momentum uphill, which its hill-descent management retains issues in examine on the best way down, permitting for cruise-control-like changes of the velocity based mostly on the terrain and slope. In our climb up Snow King, proper in Jackson, being in a Rolls offered a unusual thrill, however no hints of uncertainty as to its functionality. We went up the Sno-Cat trails, however an engineer driving with us assured me it might climb straight up if we needed to — this on the steepest ski slope in america.
Inside, the Cullinan is completely engineered for sensational experiences in any respect 4 corners, with agency, beneficiant seating, wonderful visibility for all and, in fact, a reasonably nice sound system. If youngsters are within the again, they’ll have the non-compulsory touchscreen leisure techniques at their fingertips, whereas elder statesmen can take pleasure in airliner-like shifting maps of their drive whereas being chauffeured about. It’s all very snug and pleasurable and exactly what you’d need from this car, it doesn’t matter what type of strategy you’re considering.
Verdict: There’s no disputing that that is probably the most outrageously luxurious SUV on planet Earth. The truth that it by some means achieves this whereas additionally avoiding the kiss-of-death label “soft-roader” is a credit score to the corporate’s dedication to, on the very least, bailing its ballers out of hassle once they go axle-deep within the sand. It’s a strong and sure-footed hulk, and glamorous to a fault. It’s as much as you to determine whether or not you actually need to trot this factor into the wild, however when you do, you’ll have the satisfaction of understanding it’s completely probably the most unbelievable factor on the path.
What Others Are Saying:
• “Cullinan is a highly measured, seriously considered sport utility that feels every bit a Rolls-Royce, with more versatility than you might expect from a brand whose last ventures into the genre date back to T.E. Lawrence, better known as Lawrence of Arabia, who battled Turks in the desert with a fleet of nine armored Silver Ghosts. Cullinan’s armor may be more stylistic than literal. But it does an indomitable job of insulating its occupants from the wilds of the world while presenting a stoic outward face to skeptics and admirers alike.” — Basem Wasef, Vehicle
• “The car lacks any fancy locking differentials and doesn’t offer anything so crude as a selectable low-range transfer case. But, with 627 pound-feet of torque available at just 1,600 rpm, it’s quite happy to claw its way up very steep inclines at very low speeds, even on the bespoke, 22-inch, road-oriented Continental ContiSportContact 5 tires. The trails we climbed were mostly gravel, generally dry and, to be honest, wouldn’t trouble most light-duty SUVs. However, few if any other vehicles could make the summit while offering that kind of comfort.” — Tim Stevens, Roadshow
• “Additional driving, each behind the wheel and as a passenger, revealed a automotive the onroad manners of that are so composed that I truly fell asleep (not whereas driving, thoughts you). Subsequent lengthy stretches of filth street confirmed that whereas the experience isn’t as silky clean because it had been onroad – even magic carpets have limits – the massive and splendid beast stays composed and cozy. Protecting cladding alongside the door sills, in addition to chrome cladding simply above it, are angled such that stones will probably be deflected away from the sheet metallic. — Mark Vaughn, Autoweek
2019 Rolls-Royce Cullinan Key Specs
Engine: 6.75 liter twin-turbo V12
Torque: 630 lb-ft at 1600 rpm
Weight: 5,864 lbs
Prime velocity: 155 mph
Gasoline financial system: 18.eight mpg mixed
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