The Rolls-Royce of SUVs is here
From the new Rolls-Royce Cullinan to the inside of Ferrari’s turbo V8, we’ve got it all covered
HREE YEARS IN THE MAKING, the highly anticipated Cullinan is a first for Rolls-Royce – the first 4x4, the first hatchback, and of course the brand’s first SUV. Looks like the SUV trend has finally caught up with the manufacturer that’s sat atop the automotive pyramid for over a century. With dimensions of 5.3 metres in length and 1.8 metres in height, the SUV has commanding presence with a high-body, large metal-to-glass ratio and long bonnet emphasising its grandness. Named after the 3106-carat Cullinan diamond, the largest gem-quality rough diamond ever mined, this new SUV sits above the ultimate Range Rover, above the Bentayga, above the Urus, above any 4x4 ever made and this is our first look at the vehicle that could only be a Rolls-Royce.
Propelling the Cullinan is a massive 6.75-litre twin-turbo V12 engine which powers the Phantom, delivering the same outputs, which means it has 563bhp with 850Nm of torque available at just 1600rpm. Connected to the engine is Rolls's eight-speed automatic gearbox, powering all four wheels. Rolls-Royce differs from Bentley by having built its SUV from its own brand-specific architecture, using the all-aluminium space frame chassis supported by a similar air-suspension system to that of the Phantom, sporting continually self-adjusting dampers that react to both camera and satellite data to try to recreate the ‘magic carpet' ride quality famous of Rolls-Royce models. Four-wheel steering has also been adapted for the Cullinan.
Rolls-Royce has outdone itself with the design of the wood and leather finished dashboard and console. The centre stack is flanked by hand-polished metal pillars, joining the dashboard to the centre console. The upper part of the dashboard is clad in black, durable and water-resistant leather, which is used in Italian high-end luggage. The leather padding at the top is in a wing-like pattern giving the cabin the feel of a cockpit. To complete the look, the door arm rest too is lined with same leather. However, the party piece is the boot. This is the first 'three-box' SUV where the rear is divided into a seating space and the boot by a solid glass partition so when the boot is opened the cabin remains sealed off from external elements.
Self-adjusting dampers react to both camera and satellite data to try to recreate the ‘magic carpet’ ride
To aid ingress, the suspension lowers itself by 40mm when you touch the stainless-steel door handle. The all-wheel drive and fourwheel steering system promises easy going when off the road. The standard selectable off-road drive mode can alter the suspension and engine settings to make it suitable to deal with any terrain. The electronically controlled shock absorbers use an air compression system to actively push down any wheel it detects losing traction. From sandy dunes, snow-covered mountain tracks, muddy wildernesses to gravel-laden terrain, this SUV promises to protect the precious backsides of Rolls-Royce patrons from every jerk and bump. And it can ford through half a metre of water.
THE THIRD BOX
One press of the button and the seats automatically fold down, adjusting the headrest to avoid imprinting on the seat cushion. The floor of the boot can also electronically rise to the height of the folded seat, giving a flat surface at the back. Another add-on feature are the pull-out seats beneath the floor of the boot. On touching the rear with the key fob, the tailgate opens into two sections and two seats slide out for you and your partner to enjoy the view from the comfort of your SUV. The tailgate can incorporate an optional ‘lifestyle module', a custom-fabricated box, which plugs into the cargo area, facilitating whatever outdoor activity its owner might wish to complete, including volcano boarding.
Top: Coach doors hinged on the C-pillar for the rear quarters. Above: V12 motor borrowed fromthe Phantom VIII