There have been lots and lots of speculations on a supremo luxury SUV from Rolls-Royce with occasional teasers and spy shots. Rolls-Royce has finally removed the camouflage to reveal their Cullinan SUV. The Cullinan is a one-of-a-kind beast that personifies the comfort and yacht-like luxury of a typical Rolls-Royce in an SUV form factor. It shares its underpinnings with the new generation Phantom, retaining the same aluminium architecture. The grand royal SUV is expected to be powered by the Phantom’s 6.8-litre V12 engine producing 571 Bhp and 850 Nm of torque. There are also hints of a one-off Hybrid variant down the track.
The new Rolls-Royce Cullinan is longer than the Bentayga, both in terms of overall length and wheelbase. The front-end of the Cullinan looks strikingly similar to that of the Phantom and has all the charisma of a Roller. It does have a grunty and imposing look but somehow manages to bring an aristocratic and regal flair in its styling. The chrome grille is a bit more trivialized than the Phantom’s, blending with the Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament, a Rolls-Royce staple since the Victorian era. From the side you’ll notice the strong character line, bulkier side panels complemented by the 22-inch alloy wheels, a roofline that neatly drops to the tail and the unmistakable suicide doors.
As for the interiors, the Rolls-Royce Cullinan is fitting of its eight-figure price tag. While it is identical to the Phantom, for the most part, let alone an art gallery. It gets a chunky steering wheel to aid off-road driveability, fully digital console with a touchscreen infotainment system (straight from BMW), the meticulously crafted Rolls-Royce clock on the dash and the rotary Spirit of Ecstasy controller on the centre console. The Cullinan also gets an array of safety features like night vision and vision assist, day/night wildlife and pedestrian warning, emergency braking, a four-camera system with a panoramic and overhead view, active cruise control and collision warning.
The Cullinan is a practical five-seater like its other stablemates but one can also choose the ‘Individual Seat’ configuration, which replaces the rear bench with two kingsized chairs. They are separated by a refrigerated drinks cabinet that accommodates champagne flutes and wine glasses. There is also a glass partition between the second row and the luggage compartment, which helps make the second row all the more quieter. At the tailgate, there’s also the Viewing Suite comprising two leather seats with a cocktail table to rest your drink.
The Cullinan orchestrates the same formula of a Luxury SUV that Range Rover pioneered decades ago, which Bentley perfected and thus makes it uniquely Rolls-Royce. The centre console houses the ‘Off-Road’ button, pressing which will let you drive the Cullinan through pretty much everything – gravel, wet grass, mud, snow or beach sand without any compromise on its floaty ‘Magic Carpet’ ride quality. The off-road system on the Cullinan analyses the terrain ahead by using information from the GPS, surround cameras and determines the kind of vehicle settings to be used. When driving off-road, the Cullinan’s electronically controlled air-suspension actively weighs down any wheel it detects losing traction(similar to a Range Rover). This ensures that every wheel is constantly in contact with the ground and maximum torque is delivered to every wheel.
Overall if you want a bulkier Rolls-Royce Ghost with four-wheel drive and a decent amount of off-road cred then the Cullinan should be on your list. Prices for the new Cullinan haven’t been announced yet but you can expect it to be somewhere between the Phantom(9 cr) and the Ghost(4.5 cr). The India launch of the Rolls-Royce Cullinan is expected to take place towards the end of 2018.