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For the first time in its history Rolls-Royce has unveiled a SUV with an exceptional design and unimagined performance. Such a project indeed was unthinkable just 10 years ago.

Cullinan is Rolls-Royce’s new SUV. Its name derives from the story of the person that brought to light the world’s large raw diamond (3,600 karats, 621 grams in weight): Sir Thomas Cullinan, owner of the mining company of the same name.

This piece was cut to create a set of diamonds, the first of which was called Cullinan I (later called Star of Africa), all 530 karats of it, which ended up on the crown of the Queen of England.

Quite a comparison when an automobile is involved. Yet here we are describing the absolute pinnacle of motoring, with its history of unparalleled elegance.

For the first time in its history Rolls-Royce has unveiled a SUV with an exceptional design and unimagined performance. Such a project indeed was unthinkable just 10 years ago.

A three-box, state-of-the-art, extreme luxury, wholly bespoke vehicle that can take you anywhere, from a black-tie gala dinner to a hunt in the green English countryside, taking your dogs with you, or to adventures on the desert dunes or the mountain snows, taking with you everything you need to travel in comfort and safety. A new philosophy of comfort that is synonymous with RR: “Go anywhere with style, elegance, power and adventure”.

Backing up the iconic form is a wealth of technological and design research, which has served to create a unique experience and satisfy the needs of a younger, more modern clientele, who want to travel in comfort to be “Effortless, Everywhere” and “Go-anywhere in ultimate luxury”, according to the UK marque.   

The Cullinan is one of a kind in its segment. It is the first so-called “three-box” vehicle in the SUV sector. The most ardent of RR fans will see straight away that the unprecedented design is breathtaking. For the first time, a Rolls-Royce has a rear door that opens automatically. The “Clasp” recalls the time when luggage was stored on the outside of the cabin for ease of use.

Its relative lightness comes from the new aluminium architecture and its dominant character, with strong vertical and horizontal lines, a long body exceeding 5 metres and its height, accentuated by the glass/metal ratio, giving it its innate adaptability and sense of robustness. The hand-polished stainless-steel grille, 22-inch wheel hubs and front and rear lights are unmistakable elements that reinforce its iconic status.

The famed Rolls-Royce Magic Carpet Ride is convincing both on- and off-road, supported by the latest generation of electronic self-levelling air suspension, which receives input from the steering wheel and from the camera to improve stability.  

Even a novice driver can enjoy the ride, pressing the “Everywhere” button in order to modify the vehicle’s set-up for different surfaces – rough track, gravel, wet grass, mud, snow or sand – while maintaining top performance, thanks to its 6.75 litre twin-turbo V12 Rolls-Royce engine, delivering 563 bhp/420kW and 850Nm/627lb of torque to the brand new all-wheel drive system, at speeds of up to 250km/h (155mph/h).

Top comfort is provided by the very soft and exclusive leather seats, which are heated and ventilated. Driving style and destination can be set via the touchscreen, which manages hundreds of functions with ease. In the event of a quick departure the iconic Spirit of Ecstasy controller on the centre dashboard includes the Off-Road button, which can be pressed to immediately configure the desired driving style.

The steering wheel is thicker and smaller than usual, for a more sporting experience, and also has a heating system, like all the seats, which are also ventilated for added comfort.

Many useful features are hidden from view: Night Vision and Vision Assist, including daytime and night-time wildlife and pedestrian warnings; Alertness Assistant; a system using 4 cameras with panoramic view, All-round visibility and helicopter view; Active Cruise Control; Collision warning; Cross-traffic warning, Lane departure and Lane change warning; an industry-leading 7×3 high-resolution head-up display, Wi-Fi hotspot and of course the latest navigation and entertainment systems.

The rear seats, which sit higher than the front seats, to offer a better view, can be set up in two ways: the familiar three seats, or two seats with a centre console containing a drinks cabinet, flute glasses and a cold bottle of champagne. If necessary, with a simple touch of a button the rear seats can be folded down – the first time for an RR – to create an amazing amount of boot space and put one’s personal items in up to 1,886lt of storage space, with a loading length of a little over two metres.

There is also a further level of Rolls-Royce luxury in this Cullinan model, one which creates the first real “three-box” SUV. Harking back to an age when one never travelled with one’s own luggage, a glass partition isolates the passenger cabin from the luggage compartment, creating an inner ecosystem for the passengers. This further reduces noise levels, and offers warmer or cooler environments. Thanks to the sealed cabin created by the partition, occupants can enjoy an optimal temperature even if the back remains open while the motorised drawer containing equipment is being used.

Technology and design are the main reasons for the success of this automobile, yet also key to this success is the strategic choice of investing in a single platform that manages the very high level of craftsmanship and the choice of materials, such as leather and wood. We trust that this system will be maintained and developed in coming decades, and will result in new and exciting models such as this one.

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