I have just finished driving a Rolls Royce on a mountain, which goes through dragged, paved trails all the way. Even when I write that sentence now, with the memory that is fresh in my mind, it seems like a very strange thing to say. At 1500 ft vertically, Wyoming's Snow King is not exactly K2, but it is home to the steepest ski slope in continental America – but it's a bit academic. Your average Rolls-Royce would have been stymied by the rabbit slope. Fortunately, Cullinan is not your average Rolls Royce.
Rolls Royce is one of the few brands that has become so iconic over the last century, and changes, that is, an element is "Rolls-Royce of …" is to say that it is best in his class. So is the $ 325,000 Cullinan really Rolls-Royce of SUVs? After a day on and on in this 6000 pound brute of a Roller, it looks like a competitor.
Few brands would trust to give something like pedestrian as a vehicle image called "The Architecture of Luxury", but then this Rolls Royce and being atmospheric are what it's all about. In fact, what the company calls the foundation of its last ago, last yearand it is the same underground that lies between Cullinan's upright body and the ground.
And you can easily see family dependence. From a styling point of view, Cullinan looks very like a vertically elongated Phantom ̵
In fact, it's the shape of the rear door that is most controversial from a styling point of view and strikes somewhere between the pseudo-coupe trend we see from many recent luxury SUVs and the full-bodied square rear end that adorns your average big-box tool . As a whole, Cullinan fits very well into the current Rolls-Royce aesthetics, but may lack the innate beauty of any of the company's finer machines.
It's anyway for me, as something utilitarian view on a Sport Utility Vehicles are not a shutdown. It is for sure that this is the most practical Rolls Royce ever. The 21-cubic foot rear seat of the rear seats may be slightly limited by the size of the case, but you can configure the car with an airbag, rear seat if you want. When folded, the maximum capacity is 68 cubic feet.
These are collision-seated, of course, with buttons hidden in the back door of the suicide and on the sides of the trunk. These seats do not swim or mute silently back into place. They slowly, gracefully and tear away, and there is yet another integrated ramp in the rear lorry that rises in place and covers the bad gap between the floor and the back of the rear seats.
The more comfortable, if less Practical, the option will be the traditional configuration of separate, adjustable rear seats that are spacious and plush and heated and cooled and so very comfortable that I start to be drowsy, just thinking about them. Three picnic shelves integrated into the front seats expire by pressing a button and reveal touchscreens to access the infotainment system, including full media, navigation and climate control.
The rear seats are as good as you expect from a phantom, but as CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös told me that 80 percent of Rolls-Royce owners run themselves, and in fact Cullinan is meant to be a motor vehicle that not only run in.
On the trail
The running Snow King just happened 10 minutes after climbing Cullinan's wheels for the first time. I barely had time to adjust my mirrors before scampering over rocks, the crystalline Spirit of Ecstasy emblem on the nose pointed to the sky. Fortunately, Cullinan does off-roading quite simply.
Many first-class SUVs present the driver with dozens of different tractor modes, and many SUV owners give you the right choice. Cullinan has a single mode, available with a single button that says "Off-Road." Evocative? Not entirely, but the mission for all Rolls-Royce cars is to be effortless and it's actually the echo here. Press one button and the car gives its lenders, the air suspension raises about one and a half hours, and the pull control system becomes more aggressive. And then you just drive.
The car lacks some fancy lock differentials and offers nothing as green as a selectable, low order transfer bag. However, with a torque of 627 pounds at just 1600 rpm, it's quite gratifying to handle very steep increases at very low speeds, even on the custom-made 22-inch road-oriented Continental ContiSportContact 5 tires. The trails we climbed were mostly gravel, generally dry and to be honest they would not care about most lightweight SUVs. But few if any other cars could do the summit while offering that kind of comfort.
Cullinan kisses over the rocky paths and drives with the kind of tranquility that some cars struggle to maintain on slippery asphalt. Yes, I could tell when I had crested a big rock, but never once felt the car challenged, and I never felt stressed – even though my blood pressure might have tapped a bit when 360-degree cameras showed us inches away pure rock.
The hill descent control made the trip equally easy, the biggest threat was a local hiker who did not take good to share the path with a dozen or so luxurious machines.
Flaggbærer på vägen
Back on asphalt it was time to really see how Cullinan behaved in what would be his typical playground, and from here the big SUV continued its unremitting performance. Most of the roads we crossed in the Jackson Hole, Wyoming area were very good shape, but neither black potholes nor grazing could fancy the ride quality. Rolls-Royce calls it Magic Carpet, and it's not hyperbole.
Part of this comfort is thanks to another atmospheric branding, the so-called Flagbearer system dependent on stereoscopic cameras to read the sign on the road surface, adjust the active suspension every couple of milliseconds. Cullinan also lends the parent company's BMW's trick using GPS data to ensure that the trip is always ready for the road ahead.
But that's not to say you're completely isolated or actually boring when sitting behind the wheel. The control unit is slow and light, but there is a little feeling here and the brakes are progressive and solid. Drew Stearne from our British team has spent one more than his fair share of the time rolling in various rollers, andby the emotional feeling of the car.
However, the most engaging is the engine. With 563 horses on tap, hit the accelerator and Cullinan launches in a way that will put a big smile on your face. The eight-speed automatic, meanwhile, is completely invisible in its operation, and offers the kind of smoothness and consistency most CVT dream about.
Meanwhile, most EVs will be jealous of how calm Cullinan is. It took a lot of 100kg of silencing material to make it so. Worth it.
I could probably use 3000 words just to describe the sense of the Cullinan switch, how vent-pulls move with remarkable staples and even the buttons feel significant, but I do not want to. Sufficient to say, each surface is impeccably refined.
This refinement extends into many of the more complicated systems of the car. The adaptive cruise control, for example, does not blend you with infinite information and warnings on your car's virtual gauges. Instead, you get a simple carat on the speedometer that indicates your current speed, with a small red or green line that marks the distance between your current speed and what has been considered legal in your current location.
Dedicated buttons make it easy to change the follow-up distance, and if you get out of the way, the steering wheel delivers subtly to warn you. There is no annoying clock or hard vibration, just a small shake that seems to say "Pardon, but you may want to use some control."
The only place this breaks down is within the depth of the BMW iDrive-based infotainment system. On the surface it is clean and easy to use, but it is still quite easy to get lost in a sea of submenus here. Fortunately, the touch is now supported, so it's a bit easier to get out of mire.
Heaters on the seats, both front and rear, as well as many of the surrounding flats will bowl your own surfaces in a short period of time. They came pretty well on our blustery test day. And climbing in these seats is surprisingly simple. Although high, Cullinan does not sit as high as you might think. Narrow sills mean less tension to climb in, so you do not get dirty you just drive through the hollow of the fabulous new designer jeans, you'll probably never wear again anyway.
And if you really want to access, Rolls-Royce will offer a series of so-called "recreational modules" to bounce into the tailgate. The easiest has a couple of seats that extend to tailgating in the polo area, or a small, low-influenced quay hunt. Rolls plans to offer a series of these modules to suit an owner's wish, one for drone racing. You know, only if you needed another reason to try drone racing.
Cullinan starts at $ 325,000 in the United States, but when you buy a machine like this, the sky is really the limit – unless you're actually in drone racing, where do you want to define something new set of awesome borders for yourself. There is a terrible lot of money, no matter hobbies and professions, but in this segment, the term "value" is difficult to define, so Cullinan must be judged on its own values.
And these benefits are strong. Cullinan delivers all the same poisons and tranquility you expect from Rolls-Royce, now with much more usability, and I dare say that, practical. This could reasonably be the one car that can take you around the clock and then to Met Gala that evening – just make sure you swing through a car wash along the way.
Editor's Note: Roadshow accepts multi-day vehicle loans from manufacturers to provide editorial reviews. All evaluated vehicle reviews are carried out on our turf and on our terms. But for this feature, the manufacturer covered travel expenses. This is common in the automotive industry, as it is far more economical to send journalists to cars than to send cars to journalists.
Judges and opinions from Roadshow's editorial team are our own and we do not accept paid editorial content.