Many years ago, I went to West Virginia Racetrack to help the crew to a friend in a Formula V weekend event. For three days we grilled sausages, smashed through the mud to reach the shower, crashing into its nasty, many former owner RV. Our girlfriends gamely ventured out of town for one night to cheer him up. I strongly remember that my friend's significant second came back from the sunday sunday morning with a black and white Coco Chanel link as she navigated a sharp dirt road to the RV bag black logo, powerful white leather and chrome pipes almost asking for open mockery from the sidelines. Nevertheless, she seemed worried about such an opportunity; She ran up the hill as safe as any of the racing pitches around her.
The act shook back when I destroyed a shiny white, chrome-trimmed Rolls-Royce Cullinan SUV up a steep dusty path in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, its shining spirit of ecstasy hooded ornament that leads like a serious, ignorant golden retriever. Our car, of course was the Coco Chanel Link ̵
Our hesitant friend, as most were, of Rolls-Royce's obvious presence in the city probably suggested us either as interlopers at Her juvenile square or dilettants are unworthy of the setting in our ostentatious glitters. Or there may be an even more direct reading of her reaction: There is no way that this flashy SUV is a legit off-roader, so scram. Anyway, I suddenly felt I drove a wedding cake right up the hill. I tried to figure out how I could possibly fit in, with this machine, in this context. Drive a little more …
This type of reaction is not a new issue for Rolls-Royce. The company's vehicle is a global symbol of success and status, designed to project just that – but it was the first time I had experienced so much first hand in some cars. In my opinion, Cullinan does not look great, terrible, ridiculous on the spot in the rugged terrain as it can-quite capable. But Rolls-Royce also admits that the driver does not often find himself climbing ski slopes or encrypting sandy beaches. After all, when a sand comes in a car, it does not come out.
But here's the other side of the coin: It does not matter what people might think right out of the gate. First of all, the car is both a departure for Rolls – both functional and mechanical, as it is the brand's first all-wheel drive vehicle – and a whole new thing. When the world gets used to it, it does not really look so stupid. My go-to reminder of this for automotive fans is the fact that we all laughed our butts off when Porsche revealed his Cayenne SUV, which became (and remains) its global cash pot. Rolls-Royce knows exactly what it does: It gives the customers what they want – an SUV – and makes it a real Rolls Royce.
Secondly, it does not matter what people think because the car can actually shout the mountain's butt. My friend's girlfriend on the racetrack kept himself, like Cullinan.
Now that we have decided, what is this 6000 pound beast like? Predictably, it delivers it every time the magic carpet experience like Rolls relies. From the massive leather toes to the plush, impossible thick rug underneath the foot, you can not help poping your shoes and dig in, cleanse like a cat while shoving shag carpets-to the regular make-up hand, like the front and back doors that close to press a button. This property is particularly legitimate, because of the massive suicide doors; They are very difficult to utilize closed, especially when you plop back in the seat. But try to explain it to the Jackson Hole trip if she catches you and closes them in the parking lot.
In typical Rolls-Royce fashion, the interior is also infinitely adaptable to the buyer's color and material preferences. Even the factory options are edgy and bold, with multi-hued leather and abundant chrome trim. It's all very tasteful, substantial and cocooning. In addition to visibility, it is only king and, where it is not, exterior cameras come to rescue.
On the road comes the "magic carpet" ride typical of Rolls-Royce, via the raised air suspension required to control the SUV's oversized dimensions and weight. The road below flows away like a distant whisper, barely noticeable in the plush cabin. Cullinan uses larger stiffeners with more air volume than the other rolls in the family to smooth out the sidewalk and make the hits while on the way. A double bellows front axle and five-way rear axle tame body roll, which is an insignificant achievement for a high car weighing three tons. Four wheel steering helps to tighten the turning radius and gives it the "swinging" quality while switching lanes at the highway speed.
Offroad-how curious eyes will clearly judge this vehicle most critically Cullinan uses a fine-tuned drive wheel drive to keep the car planted and stable, either on sand, snow or rough terrain. (Fun Fact: It actively pushes the wheels into the cavities on the ground to ensure traction.) Off-road feature comes with a single button, one that raises the car by 40 millimeters and adjusts the AWD based on the terrain it encounters. A smooth vision in the infotainment helps you maintain situational awareness while navigating on stealthy or tight trails, and the V-12's massive 627-foot footage reaches just 1600 rpm, solid in diesel territory – and helps you lose most clear situations.
So despite the fact that our friend on the trail may or may not have thought of Cullinan, it's probably a must to earn a seat on the trail – of course, on the boulevard, which is where these will undoubtedly spend most of their time. But there are still some things missing from Cullinan. For all its amazing features, the great guy does not seem to have anything special specifically about it. It gives no magic debuts, no unique merit notes it can call its own. For example, the Starlight Headliner fiber optic lights woven into the ceiling to look like stars and constellations – which debuted on Wraith a few years ago, was a wonderful cool grace sign. Whisper-quiet roofing mechanism in the Dawn Cabriolet was also a sublime kind of wizardly technology. The self-leveling wheel hub logos are simple but fun, the kind of thing owners love to point to their friends.
There are cool features, including the two-part tailgate called "Clasp" and accessories like sliding tailgate rear seats. But the rest of Cullinan's firsts are already known – these are the first Rolls with folding back seats in the Lounge Seats configuration, the first with a windscreen wiper and the first with touchscreen infotainment.
It's also disappointing to make true progress for the driver – no automatic lane centering, no semi-autonomous freeway cruising, no magnified reality navigation tool. There are complete security features, including night vision, alert monitors, camera-based visibility tools, and collision discovery and aids. But help tools – a separate category – is largely absent. Rolls-Royce seems to be conscious to keep this kind of groundbreaking technology far away from Cullinan, as well as its other cars. There is also no way in the way of infotainment depth, in addition to that (though fine) smartphone interface and built-in navigation technology. But there are no blockbuster features, such as natural language communication, or handwritten controls from corporate BMW.
The reasons for these apparent delays are three times: one, semi-autonomous driver assistance is not perfect yet, not up to the Rolls-Royce standard for easy, continuous use; Two, it is assumed that many users still use drivers for their vehicles, in the Rolls-Royce tradition, so buyers do not care about this and three that their customers have not requested these features.
But the problem with all these arguments is that they are archaic. The last three new cars from Rolls-Royce-Wraith Coupe, Dawn Cabriolet, and Cullinan-are not only deliberately intended as drivers, but specifically aimed at younger consumers. You know, what kind of wicked mobile operators are tracking new technology. Regarding the argument of the customers who do not request these features, well, who originally requested Starlight Headliner, or self-leveling wheelogos? To borrow an old consumer technology case: The customer does not know what they want until you give it to them.
This is the Rolls-Royce Road, of course, and in accordance with their legacy. And at an age where semi-autonomous systems roll out with precious driver extensions about their use (and limits), I respect the company's instinct to hold back until it's fully cooked. On the other hand, times change, and it's also Rolls-Royce's customers. The only existence of Cullinan already recognizes this, so why not keep up with time, just a little? Lane centering is a useful and understandable feature. Rolls buyers of any generation would probably dig it.
But this is really between Rolls-Royce and its customers. If they do not want it, they will not get it, and it's quite obvious that they will have this vehicle in motion. Hikers and mountain bikers can laugh whatever they want if they see Cullinans on the beach or the slopes. The bottom line is, it's a nice machine that will probably be the most sought after model in the company's setup and stays as long as it exists.
Rolls-Royce Cullinan: Specifications
Propulsion: 6.8-liter twin-turbo V-12, 563 horsepower, 627-pound foot with torque; eight-stage automatic;
Fuel Weight: 5.0 seconds (manufacturer estimate)
Top speed: 155 mph (steered)
Price: "If you have to ask," right? (Just kidding it starts at $ 325,000.)