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Rolls-Royce Cullinan. Photo: Supplied
 
 

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Andrew Maclean | May, 14 2018 | 0 Comments

This is the Rolls-Royce of SUVs.

The uber-luxury British brand has officially revealed full details of its groundbreaking Cullinan, a high-riding limousine that wouldn't look out of place at a red carpet event or the red centre of Australia.

Joining the likes of Bentley and Lamborghini with an SUV that steps outside of the brand's traditional boundaries, the Cullinan forges a path where Rolls-Royce has never been before but one which it acknowledges its wealthy customers were demanding to go.

"History set our precedent, and today Rolls-Royce answers it call to action," said company CEO, Torsten Muller-Otvos.

"Our answer to history, to the visionaries, adventurers, explorers and those who beleive in the supremacy of liberty is the Rolls-Royce Cullinan.

Rolls-Royce said it was clear its customers would not accept a rebodied SUV based on the upcoming BMW X7, as the British brand is owned by the German car maker, and demanded a vehicle that was peerless in its luxury and on-road refinement while stretching the capabilities of off-road capabilities.

The Cullinan is unique in more than just the fact it wears the Spirit of Ecstasy on top of its signature upright grille. Measuring 5341mm long, 2164mm wide and standing 1835mm high, it is based on the same all-new platform first introduced on the latest-generation Phantom limousine, which Rolls dubs 'The Architecture of Luxury'.

Obviously, it sits higher off the ground than a Phantom and its wagon body style is exclusive to the Cullinan, but it visually represents the brand's iconic design with its signature upright stainless steel grille, sleek laser headlights and rearward-opening back doors. 

“Every one of our customers asks for something more individual to, and reflective of, their personality and life experience. We were adamant that that was what they should have," added Rolls-Royce's Director of Design, Giles Taylor.

“As with New Phantom, the Architecture of Luxury gives us the canvas to protect the lineage and brand integrity of Rolls-Royce whilst establishing a modern footprint for the Rolls-Royce Cullinan, without compromise."

Under the Cullinan's long bonnet resides a tailored version of the Phantom's iconic 6.75-litre twin-turbo V12, producing 420kW of power and 850Nm of torque. It is hooked-up to a new all-wheel drive system via an eight-speed automatic transmission that uses satellite information to pre-empt gearchanges.

Rolls-Royce says the Cullinan has been "tested to destruction" during its development to ensure it is geniunely capable of handling the toughest off-road terrain, from the searing heat of the deserts and sand dunes in the Middle East to the frozen Arctic Circle.

But the company also says the car retains Rolls-Royce's hallmark 'Magic Carpet Ride' no matter the environment, thanks to an upgraded suspension set-up with double wishbones at the front, a five-link rear axle, four-wheel steering, stronger drive and prop shafts and larger chambers for the air-filled shock absorbers.

Owners that choose to head off the beaten track can alter the car's character by depressing a simple "Everywhere" button in the drive controller located in the centre console, which then uses powerful computer processors to control each wheel individually, proactively pushing down on any of the 22-inch wheels it detects is losing grip to ensure maximum traction. Rolls-Royce claims the Cullinan also has a wading depth of 540mm when the suspension is at its highest setting.

While the car is more utilitarian than any other Roller, those inside are still pampered with the ultimate in automotive luxury. The dash is similar in design to that in the Phantom, but features a centre console that is framed by metal pillars and is cloaked in water-resistant leather with more padding to protect its occupants in the rough stuff.

The instrument cluster is a more modern, fully-digital display and the infotainment screen is touch sensitive - a first for Rolls-Royce - and incorporates a 360-degree camera, navigation, WiFi connectivity and high-grade audio system. The Cullinan also comes equipped with the latest active safety systems, including active cruise control, automated emergency braking, lane departure warning, pedestrian and wildlife alerts and night vision assistance.

Those travelling in the back seats - which can be configured with either a conventional 'Lounge' bench seat or two individual pews with a cooled drinks cabinet in the centre console - sit higher than the driver and front seat passenger. In another first for the brand, the bench seat can be automatically lowered - with a 60:40 split fold  - to enlarge the boot space from its standard 530L capacity to over 1900L of load area. There owners can fit a "recreational module", which is essentially a lockable storage unit designed for specific outdoor pursuits that rolls out on a motorised drawer. Rolls-Royce says it can tailor this for any pursuit, from photography, fly fishing, rock climbing, snowboarding or kite surfing.

It has decided to showcase the module with what it calls the Cullinan Viewing Suite, which, at the touch of a button, reveals a pair of rear-facing leather chairs and a cocktail table, allowing owners to pull-up to their local polo match or, in the most extreme, witness the sunset over the Sahara from the tailgate of the car.

Another interesting detail that Rolls-Royce has gone to in ensuring owners are not inconvenienced by its off-road ability are the lower edges of doors wrap around under the car so the sills don't get muddy or dusty, and those exiting the cabin are prevented from spoiling their expensive clothes.

It has also developed a glass partition between the boot and the rear seats that eliminates any booming noises from the large space entering the cabin.

Rolls-Royce has yet to define where the Cullinan will slot into its range - whether it will slot in between the Ghost and Phantom limousines or become the company's flagship - but it will be in showrooms next year.

2019 Rolls-Royce Cullinan Price and Specifications

On-sale: 2019

Price: $850,000 (estimated)

Engine: 6.75-litre V12 twin-turbo petrol

Power: 420kW at 5000rpm

Torque: 850Nm at 1600rpm

Transmission: Eight-speed automatic, AWD

Fuel use: 15L/100km

 
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