By on May 10, 2018

Rolls Royce Cullinan

Those in the market for a brand new Roller are not apt to inquire about trivialities such as price or fuel economy. That’s why I highly doubt news of oil reaching its highest price in 3.5 years will give any Cullinan prospect a moment’s pause before they sign on the dotted line with a solid-gold Montblanc pen.

Rolls-Royce refuses to describe the Cullinan as an SUV. In every reference, it’s called an “all-terrain high-bodied car.” Company marketers were surely sequestered in a windowless conference room for ages before they settled on that term.

Rolls Royce Cullinan

Company propaganda takes great care to point out that the new Cullinan is the only purpose-built, luxury SUV in the world. This is great news, because every time I climb into a Q7 or a Ranger Rover, I think, “Oh, dear. I’ve accidentally gotten into the housekeeper’s Kia again.”

The 1 percent will not be left wanting for power from their Cullinan. A 6.75-liter (sorry – six and three-quarters litre) twin-turbo V12 delivers 563 brake horsepower and 627 lb-ft of the finest British torque at just 1,600 rpm. That’s more than enough to upset the china tea set balanced on the Cullinan’s leather seats.

Rolls Royce Cullinan

Of course, the Cullinan is all-wheel drive and is said to have been “tested to destruction” all over the planet. Air suspension should provide different ride heights for tiptoeing over the proletariat, while hill-descent control will help drivers slither down grassy British embankments during a fox hunt. Rolls Royce calls it a “Magic Carpet Ride.” Steppenwolf would like to have a word.

It is also described as having an all-wheel steer system. Details on that system are light (Rolls owners probably consider talking about the suspension to be a needlessly agricultural conversation) but the steering is alternately described as all-wheel and four-wheel in operation. I wouldn’t put it past Rolls-Royce to have included this feature simply in deference to the tight radius of the small roundabout outside the Savoy Hotel, a location that’s long prompted the builders of London’s famous black cabs to imbue the cars with their notoriously compact turning circle.

Rolls Royce Cullinan

Standing 72.3 inches (a contemporary Range Rover is 73.6 inches), Cullinan rides on 22-inch wheels and features typical Roller styling cues such as a chrome grille doing its best impression of the white cliffs of Dover. The RR badge and Spirit of Ecstasy ornament stand higher than the fenders, ready to skewer any peasants who dare set foot in front of it.

Tired after a long day at the castle? The world’s oligarchs will be pleased to learn just about every interior surface of the Cullinan is heated, including all inboard armrests and outboard armrests. Even the lower C-Pillar is heated, should one find themselves leaning against that part of the interior while counting their money.

Rolls Royce Cullinan

Rolls Royce Cullinan

Naturally, Rolls is quick to point out its Bespoke Program, in which the company touts the Cullinan’s “Recreation Module.” As an example (and I am not making this up), Rolls-Royce provides this passage:

Imagine the scene. Having chosen your adventure you call down to your garage. “Jason, we’re going to go drone racing today. Can you load the Drone Module into the Cullinan?” Downstairs, Jason selects the Drone Racing Module from the rack containing several other Recreation Modules that the owner has had commissioned from Rolls-Royce to satisfy his or her preferred recreational pursuits.

Rolls Royce Cullinan

Rolls Royce Cullinan

The day I’m rich enough to summon an employee to prepare my Rolls-Royce for a day of drone racing, I can assure you that person’s name will not be Jason. It will be Spartacus or something equally outrageous. The company then goes on to suggest other mundane everyday activities beyond drone racing such as base jumping and volcano boarding.

This is not wholly new territory for the extended brand family. The Sultan of Brunei commissioned a Bentley SUV back in 1996, ordering half a dozen examples and calling them the Dominator, which I submit as the greatest vehicle name of all time except for the Isuzu Light Dump. Bentley now hawks the googly-eyed Bentayga, of course.

Rolls Royce Cullinan

In a revealing interview with the UK mag Autocar, brand boss Torsten Müller-Otvos mentions the Cullinan was designed with electrification in mind, meaning we’ll likely see a hybrid version sometime in the future. Finding appropriate electrical outlets will be added to Jason’s list of tasks, then. Müller-Otvos also took special care to point out the Cullinan’s unique architecture, no doubt in a bid to fend off any thought that this machine shares its toys with BMW.

Price? If you have to ask, you can’t afford it.

[Images: Rolls-Royce]

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50 Comments on “Rolls-Royce Cullinan: An SUV for 1 Percent of the 1 Percent...”


  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Good to know the stylists at Rolls are Speed Racer fans.

    https://i1.wp.com/speedrally.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/speed_racer_mammoth_car_angle.jpg?resize=470%2C358

    Gawd, that’s ugly. And crass. Yet another ride for people with too much money and too little taste.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    The picture of the red one that is moving looks like a 1987 Town Car that was heavily customized. The rest look good, except…

    That raked rear window. The rest of the vehicle doesn’t try to look slick and sporty, why does that? It should be more formal.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    What a perfectly executed design. Just enough rake to the back window to mimic that of a Phantom, and tasteful, cohesive lines that are both parallel and coincident. Hard to believe that was possible with all the pre-crashed bodywork we’re seeing these days from everyone else. Tasteful, stately, and subdued.

  • avatar
    MBella

    This is the concept I have said Cadillac should use for their flagship. Forget large sedans. A big SUV with plenty of interior room.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    I’ve been heavily into the drone racing scene for a while now.

    It grabs a hold of you like nothing else, and doesn’t let go.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Looks like a facelifted Land Wind X7. Bravo Rolls Royce.

  • avatar
    "scarey"

    In addition to the lift job and 4WD, they cut off the trunk. Very clever these English…er…I mean Germans…

  • avatar
    vvk

    I thought the car of choice for the 1 percent of 1 percent is the Land Cruiser? Isn’t this way too flashy?

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      A Bentley or Rolls-Royce SUV is very new-money, yes.

      Old-money folks will go for something subdued like a Jeep Grand Cherokee, Subaru Outback, Volvo -90 series, or yes, a Toyota Land Cruiser. If it must be opulent, they’ll choose to sit lower to the ground and get an E-Class wagon.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        Doesn’t British Old Money that wants vague offroadish capacity buy a Rover?

        (It would be interesting, too, if Toyota would sell the non-V8 Land Cruiser in the US, but plainly that will never happen…)

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          I’d love it if we got the Land Cruiser diesel. The 5.7-liter is already…leisurely in terms of acceleration and performance. What could a diesel and a giant tank really hurt?

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I’d much rather have the Lamborghini Urus, with its 650 HP and 850 ft-lbs of torque.

    Accordingly, my servant will be named “Giovanni” or “Luigi”, or better yet, “Guilia”.

    One error in the article: The greatest car name of all time is the Jensen Interceptor. Heh.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    This thing probably costs as much as a medium sized house, yet still has that stupid hump in the second row.

  • avatar
    NeilM

    Considering where the Cullinan (nav ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cullinan_Diamond) is likely to be sold in what passes for volume at RR, you’d think that those heated armrests and other whatnots might instead be cooled.

  • avatar

    I don’t get how Rolls-Royce refuses to call the Cullinan an SUV [high-bodied car].

    But then the marketing takes great care to call it “…the only purpose-built luxury SUV…”

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      And Cadillac says: “Escalade? We made it like that ON PURPOSE.”

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      These are the folks who would only rate the horsepower of their engines as “adequate.”

      Unfortunately, I’d rate the class factor with this vehicle as “inadequate,” which will only get worse as the various ballers and oil sheiks order “bespoke” versions.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    “Müller-Otvos also took special care to point out the Cullinan’s unique architecture, no doubt in a bid to fend off any thought that this machine shares its toys with BMW.”

    The interfaces themselves would, yes, definitely come from BMW, especially iDrive. But while lesser Rolls-Royces (Ghost, Wraith, Dawn) share their steel architecture with the previous (F01/F02) 7 Series, the Cullinan and Phantom are on an aluminum-space frame setup unique to Rolls-Royce.

  • avatar
    FAHRVERGNUGEN

    Wait a sec. Wasn’t Cullinan the dude who killed the other dude?

  • avatar
    Lockstops

    The (sad) truth about our (sad) society.

  • avatar
    ClutchCarGo

    “The day I’m rich enough to summon an employee to prepare my Rolls-Royce for a day of drone racing, I can assure you that person’s name will not be Jason. It will be Spartacus or something equally outrageous.”

    Spartacus, he11 no. She’ll be named Lana, or Ursula, or Angelica.

  • avatar
    Dan R

    It looks like a London taxi after a customiser had their way with it. Gives it “street cred” and shows the customer is in touch with the common folk.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    I assume the first one in N. America goes to the Kardashians, but who gets #2?

  • avatar
    RatherhaveaBuick

    This is awful.

    Looks like one of those Chinese rip offs…

  • avatar
    bunkie

    We have been binge-watching “The Crown” and the utter beauty of some of the cars (including Bentleys, Rolls Royces, Wolsleys, to mention just a few) are utterly beautiful. This thing? Not so much, no matter how much it costs.

    In general, if you like great acting and a never-ending parade of amazing vehicles (DC-4s, Comet, The Brittania, steam locomotives), this is a show well worth watching.

  • avatar
    "scarey"

    I have been watching “The Windsors”. If you want a show with great irony and disrespect, and you have the means, I highly recommend it.

  • avatar
    jmo2

    Absolute perfection! I can believe how well they nailed the design.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    At least they have an option other than black for the interior leather. The white looks very nice to me and I am sure Jason can get the stains out form that last fox hunt.

  • avatar
    Ermel

    Look Bentley: This is how to design a hyper luxury SUV correctly. No stupid fender bulges with a doorhandle in them. Well done RR!

  • avatar
    craiger

    “Jason selects the Drone Racing Module from the rack containing several other Recreation Modules that the owner has had commissioned from Rolls-Royce to satisfy his or her preferred recreational pursuits.”

    And I thought that glove compartment door in that ’77 Cutlass that I could do coke off of was as good as it gets.

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