Rolls-Royce's new SUV is here (with help from the UAE)
Before last night, the thought of revving a Rolls-Royce up a mountain or sliding one against a sand dune would have invoked the sort of reckless excess usually reserved for hip-hop anthems.
But Rolls-Royce has unveiled a new model that dilutes the hyperbole: its very first entry into the super-luxury SUV segment, the Cullinan.
We saw Bentley come out with the Bentayga in 2016, and then Lamborghini with the Urus just last December. Now, one of the most prominent luxury brands in the world is getting in on the action too.
Named after the largest diamond ever discovered (which was, incidentally, 3,106.75 carats, and now cut up into nine still-huge diamonds), the Cullinan takes everything we know about Rolls-Royce and elevates it—literally and figuratively—for more adventurous conditions.
Rolls-Royce has designed the Cullinan to "handle dramatic landscapes with intelligence and ease," maintaining the "magic carpet ride" feel that their cars are known for, even when taking on the outdoors.
The Cullinan achieves that purpose with high-tech engineering. It's the second Rolls-Royce after the Phantom 8 to sit on the manufacturer's "Architecture of Luxury" platform, on which it packs a 6.75-liter twin-turbo V12, delivering 563bhp/420kW and 850Nm/627lb ft of torque to a new all-wheel drive, all-wheel steer system.
It also has self-levelling air suspension system to help keep all wheels on the ground, and that—get this—adapts proactively to camera information. This means that the car sees the terrain ahead and makes suspension adjustments accordingly at up to 100kph.
The Cullinan also has all the bells and whistles you would expect from Rolls-Royce—full connectivity, a cabin that near defines luxury, and a few other neat features.
But perhaps the coolest and most novel feature is the Cullinan's "Viewing Suite," which consists of two rear-facing seats and a cocktail table that automatically glides out the back of the vehicle. It's essentially a rich man's tailgate party—which can be held before some of the world's most magnificent vistas, rather than at the parking lot of a local sporting event.
To show the Cullinan at its full capabilities, Rolls-Royce partnered up with National Geographic to send the cars out on expeditions with photographer Cory Richards. The trials were documented and condensed into an epic web series:
At one point in the series, the Cullinan is taken to the deserts of the United Arab Emirates, where it dives off a cliff-like sand dune and drifts down with ease as Richards trembles in fear. It looks terrifying, but also incredibly fun.
So if you happen to have some petty cash lying around, and you consider yourself an outdoorsman with a taste for SUVs par excellence, the Cullinan is worth looking forward to.
The Cullinan is expected to begin production in the next few months, and deliveries are expected to begin late this year.