From off-roading to opera-going, Rolls-royce’s first SUV offers a very particular take on utility
Right royal off-roading with Rolls-royce’s debut SUV
‘Viewing Suite’, an integral rear platform that swings out of the boot at the push of a button with leather-covered event seating for two, is a better indication of where this car will go.
It’s certainly an imposing machine. ‘It retains a sense of authority, with the long bonnet and high nose,’ Taylor says, adding – only slightly tongue-in-cheek – that the recessed headlights and sculptural, faceted front end give a certain ‘battle-hardened’ look, like an ancient Saxon mask. ‘We were keen to have a raked screen that gives the car elegance,’ he says. At the rear, there’s an equally prominent ‘bustle’, a raised boot-lid that juts out from beneath the slope of the rear screen, with the rear headlights set into equally impressive flanks. Inspired by 1920s bolt-on luggage trunks, it’s paired with an internal glass screen to shield occupants from inclement weather when the boot is opened.
Rolls-royce has a historical ace up its sleeve in the form of TE Lawrence, who famously ran a fleet of nine Silver Ghost armoured cars in the Arabian desert to battle with the Ottoman Turks. ‘For a design team that needed an anchor, it was an incredibly resonant story,’ Taylor says. It also directed him to another influence. ‘For proportion and character, we looked at staff cars,’ he says, adding that these stately officer transport vehicles were the perfect mix of grandeur and ability to tackle ‘challenging environments’.
Legend also has Lawrence commandeering a privately owned Rolls-royce in Cairo for his personal use and naming it ‘Blue Mist’. The company’s history is rich with tales of eccentricity and wealth, mechanical superiority and engineering acumen. High, mighty and bold, the Cullinan should inspire some contemporary equivalents.∂
Tapping influences from lawrence of arabia To staff cars, The cullinan presents a suitably combative-looking exterior, with recessed front and rear lights
The long bonnet and raked screen are balanced by a jutting boot That nods To bolt-on luggage TrunksViewing suiteA rear platform swings out of the boot to offer leather seats with A small table in-between
detail designevery facet of the car is crafted with customary Attention to detail, with polished metal used throughout the cabin
Bells and whistlesthe signature in-door rolls-royce umbrella is A standard feature