PALM SPRINGS, CALIFRONIA – Car buyers are flocking towards the appeal of a SUV for added practicality, and the perception that SUVs will offer better winter capability along with more composed road manners. This trend has made its way onto the top one-percent of the world and now traditional luxury automakers are starting to offer their meticulously crafted, ultra-luxury SUVs to the wealthy part of the world.
The latest luxury automaker to have created their version of an all-terrain yacht for the road is a household name that has become the symbol of sheer opulence, Rolls-Royce. For 2019, the BMW Group owned Rolls-Royce Motor Cars unveiled their first ever SUV, aptly named Cullinan after the largest uncut diamond ever discovered, and we recently had an exclusive opportunity to experience this beautiful majesty in person in beautiful Palm Springs, California.
Rolls-Royce purists (that’s a thing, right?) will shrug at the idea that the maker of some of the world’s finest motorcars would create a sport-utility-vehicle. Before doing that, please take the opportunity to look closer, because this car is a proper Rolls-Royce inside and out; easily one of the finest of vehicles in the world.
Seeing the Spirit of Ecstasy statue sitting atop the massive front grille, there is absolutely no mistaking the 2019 Rolls-Royce Cullinan for a vehicle by any other brand. Stretching over 5.3m long, 2.1m wide, and 1.8m tall, the Cullinan is massive. It possesses a commanding, yet calming, presence that captures attention, and its curb appeal is no less than its sedan counterparts. The Cullinan that we had the chance to sample is painted in a jewel-like Dark Emerald colour.
The paintjob is rich and the dark green colour makes the Cullinan look like a giant piece of jade under the sunshine. The Rolls-Royce Cullinan comes standard with Rolls-Royce laser headlights, LED side and rear lights, and a set of 22” light alloy wheels. As with any Rolls-Royce, the amount of optional equipment is endless through their bespoke customization program, so that Cullinan buyers can make their vehicles as unique as they would like.
The Cullinan is the second new Rolls-Royce to be built on the all-new aluminum ‘Architecture of Luxury’ platform, and it will underpin every new Rolls-Royce from here on out. The platform is paired with an air suspension designed to minimize every road bump and deliver the “Magic Carpet Ride” experience that Rolls-Royce promised and their buyers have come to expect.
Powering the Cullinan is a 6.75L twin-turbocharged V12 engine that produces 563 horsepower at 5,000RPM, and a mountain-moving 627 lb-ft. of torque at 1,600RPM. Power is delivered to all four wheels, and the Rolls-Royce Cullinan features an all-wheel steering system to help the Cullinan navigate the tightest corners. Driving the Cullinan is a special experience, as it defies every rule of logic you have learned.
The 5,864-pound Cullinan is not supposed to move this quickly off the line, but it does, according to the rapidly rising numbers on the industry-leading 7×3” head-up display. The Cullinan is so stable under hard acceleration that it almost feels unnatural with the lack of g-forces. Body lean and roll are kept to a minimum, and the steering system allows it to turn on a dime. The Cullinan’s nimbleness is, again, almost unnatural, and in a good way so the executives and their families who are either driving or being driven will not feel nauseous while the Earth gets spun faster.
Being a passenger in the Rolls-Royce Cullinan is a serene experience, starting with the opening of the coach doors that can be electronically closed with a push of a button from the inside. The Cullinan is one of the quietest cars I have ever had the pleasure of riding in. Engine noise is almost unnoticeable, and there is zero wind and road noise transmitted to the cabin.
The interior is made of the finest materials sourced from all around the world, from the open pore royal teak wood trim, to the thick lambswool footmats. It’s also worth noting the crystal plated Spirit of Ecstasy rotary controller in the centre console. The front massage seats are incredibly comfortable and supportive, and the seats are covered in the richest and smoothest cowhide I have felt. Rear passengers can block the outside with the optional power operated curtains. For those who want to do work in the Cullinan can use the power-operated picnic tables, and those who want to be entertained will enjoy the rear theatre configuration.
Like its namesake, the 2019 Rolls-Royce Cullinan is the world’s largest piece of jewel in a rolling form. It will be well received for the elite one-percent population who are looking for an all-terrain vehicle to complement their stable of fast supercars. It is every bit as magnificent as any Rolls-Royce one has come to expect and for the first time ever, it will be able to accompany you off-road so you don’t have to take the other “RR”.