Goodwood, England - Knowing full well that the SUV avalanche is unstoppable, Rolls Royce has created its first ever mud-plugger, revealed in full on Thursday after a prolonged teaser campaign.
But the prestigious British carmaker is at pains to point out that this is no ordinary SUV, but rather the most luxurious and effortless off-road vehicle in the world.
Named after the world’s largest diamond, mined right here in South Africa, the Cullinan is the second Rolls Royce to sit on the firm’s all-new aluminium architecture, which has been specifically adapted to this application, along with the 6.75-litre twin-turbo V12 engine that produces 420kW and 850Nm in this guise. Rolls Royce is not mentioning any acceleration figures as yet, but the electronically limited top speed is quoted at 250km/h, or “fast enough” as they would have put it in days gone by.
Rolls Royce claims it to be the first “three-box” vehicle in this sector, thanks to a glass partition wall that separates rear passengers from the luggage compartment, while also reducing cabin noise. With no detectable trace of snobbery, this configuration was “inspired by the age when one never travelled with one’s luggage,” says Rolls Royce.
Virtually every aspect of this vehicle has been created around maximising comfort - the self-levelling air suspension system even lowers the car by 40mm before occupants enter.
Things are, as you’d imagine, rather luxurious in the rear seating compartment, but here buyers do get to choose between a ‘Lounge seating’ configuration that caters for three rear passengers and a more opulent ‘Individual’ seating arrangement sporting two seats separated by a fixed console that incorporates a drinks cabinet with whisky glasses, champagne flutes and a refrigerator. Now that's the Rolls-Royce we're familiar with!
Those opting for the conventional Lounge seats still get the traditional SUV versatility perks, such as the ability to fold the rear seats flat (for a 1930 litre load capacity) when large objects need to be moved around - in this case likely a large and expensive painting from some exquisite gallery.
However, being the brand’s first-ever SUV, the Cullinan was designed to reach far more remote destinations that require tackling tough terrain (assuming that any owners would dare take such a machine over truly rough stuff). In the process it avoids bothering its driver with a large and distracting menu of driving modes - hence the ‘off-road’ button on the centre console, which sees to it that the Cullinan’s various dynamic systems are all adapted to the terrain at hand.
Those who’ve been following its developmental videos would also be well aware that the Cullinan has been torture-tested on various terrains across the globe. It can plunge through deep water too, thanks to a class-leading wading depth of 540mm.
As for gadgets, the Cullinan is offered with the marque’s latest range of infotainment systems, as well as a 7x3 high-res head-up display, a four-camera ‘panoramic-view’ monitor as well as Night Vision and Vision Assist, including Wildlife and Pedestrian Warning.
“The launch of a new Rolls-Royce model is always a seminal moment in the luxury industry,” said Rolls Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös.
“Today we are setting a new standard by creating a new class of motoring and motor car for customers who are well-connected, highly mobile and have a global perspective.
“They want a new type of motor car that gives them unbounded access in ultimate luxury. Their sense of adventure and daring demands a ‘go-anywhere in ultimate luxury’ motor car that will both take them to and meet them at the pinnacle of life. Cullinan is that motor-car.”
Look out for our in-depth report on the Cullinan on Friday.