SUVs have overtaken sedans as a percentage of all new car sales in the USA. That’s a fact and it’s no surprise that luxury carmakers would react to that. People who are willing to spend great amounts of money on cars, now have options such as the Lamborghini Urus, Bentley Bentayga and Range Rover SV Coupe. So why not a Rolls-Royce SUV?
That’s Rolls-Royce Cullinan, an exercise in combining the latest automotive tech with old-school style. The car, named after a diamond – the largest one ever discovered and that’s now embedded in the Queen of England’s Imperial State Crown – sports a 6.75-liter twin-turbo V12 engine capable of churning out 517hp (421kW) at 5,000 rpm and 627lb-ft (850Nm) of torque at 1,600rpm. To give the Cullinan the quiet ride that one expects from a Rolls-Royce, it has a double-wishbone suspension and all-wheel drive.
Although it’s an unusual form factor, there’s no doubt that you’re looking at a Rolls-Royce. The Spirit of Ecstasy takes her place of honor at the front of the hood above the front grille. The Cullinan has the familiar square, even a little boxy, lines of a typical Rolls. While sitting behind the wheel surrounded by stitched leather and a large wood dash, you’ll pleasantly make your way to your destination.
The infotainment system goes all-in on that feeling of upper-class décor and the Cullinan also ships with the requisite driver’s assist features. The knobs and switches on the dash are waiting to be flipped and turned with the carmaker opting for a more refined labeling system than pretty much every other car on the road. And then we have the real moment when you realize you’re riding the peak of automotive luxury: the backseat. It’s comfortable, classy and beautiful, but also, it’s super-nerdy: imagine the backseat of a car that has a small desk table and tablet that emerge with the push of a button. With it, you can control the infotainment system and navigation. That sounds really comfortable.
While the inside is an impressive combination of leather, shiny metal and wood that resembles a traditional British library, the exterior is more low-spirited. The giant wheels, bonnet and front of the car are pure Rolls, but overall it seems like the SUV needs something to truly convey the same styling of the brand’s other vehicles.
Summing up, the Cullinan is great mix of old-country class combined with latest car technology. And that’s exactly what a Rolls-Royce buyer wants.