Rolls-Royce Cullinan: A Rolls-Royce with all its soul Even the largest luxurious car manufacturers have had to put up with the pressures exerted by the market: Rolls-Royce thus presents his very first SUV, a vehicle obviously imposing, but which holds a lot of promises and especially that of remaining faithful to the philosophy of the mark.
Five years ago, we had a conversation with Torsten Müller-Ötvös, the CEO of Rolls-Royce and we proposed the idea of an SUV in the range. In his impeccable English, he answered “over my dead body”, in other words: he should be passed on the body before seeing such a vehicle born. Now Cullinan is here and Mr Müller-Ötvös is still alive. The evolution is simple to understand: in this period of time, all the most serious competitors have launched their SUV (pending Ferrari in 2021 or Aston Martin in 2020) while the market pressure for the SUV has not stopped growing. How could it be otherwise? Because a CEO who explicitly denies half of the car market could not keep up for a very long time.
Also, the few millionaires who decided to leave their limousines, cabriolets or luxury coupe to turn to less known brands, such as Land Rover / Range Rover or one of the three major German brands can again turn to brands luxury such as Bentley (Bentayga), Lamborghini (Urus), Maserati (Levante) or Porsche (Cayenne) and today Rolls-Royce with Cullinan. For the record, the name is borrowed from the largest diamond ever discovered (3106 carats), which is obviously a way to refer to the unique position that Rolls-Royce intends to occupy in this segment of the growing market.
Many things are obviously new, but not everything because some of the parts are shared with other Rolls-Royce, but also with other vehicles from BMW, the parent company of Rolls-Royce. Thus, last year, the brand introduced with the Phantom II a new structure entirely in aluminum (Architecture of Luxury) and will be used for all models that will succeed the limousine and Cullinan. According to its designers, this platform is also so modular that it is able to meet the specifications of an SUV and despite the vastness of the tailgate (in two parts) that certainly requires alone a small series of reinforcements.
Under the hood, there is the 6.75-liter V12 biturbo already known from the Phantom. It delivers 571 hp and 850 Nm of torque from 1600 rpm. The power transits through an 8-speed automatic transmission in priority to the rear wheels (and up to 100%).
The front wheels are used only when the electronics detect a sufficient initiation of slippage which can then vary the distribution up to 50/50). Seen like this, the Cullinan remains well built as an authentic propulsion, which is also the creed of BMW. On the suspension side, there is a double wishbone at the front and a 5-arm guided axle at the rear. The damping is obviously controlled while it is air cushions that support the bodywork above each wheel. Among the originalities, it must be specified that the Cullinan is the vehicle equipped with the largest reserve of air for its suspension which also determines a capacity of exceptional and unprecedented travel of 540 mm which naturally helps to climb on board.
To increase the liveliness and maneuverability of this colossus (2660 kg empty), the four-wheel steering is also in the game. The car is based on 21-inch wheels, but 22-inch wheels are also available as an option. If Rolls-Royce remained reasonable for the maximum speed (250 km / h electronically limited), the 0-100 km / h is swallowed in 5.2 s. The consumption (WLTP cycle) oscillates according to the tire setting. The brand advertises 21.9 to 22.4 in the city, 10.9 to 11.0 l / 100 km in extra-urban cycle and 15 l / 100 km in mixed use. This leaves with CO2 emissions of 341 g / km which are not likely to enter the conditions of a favorable taxation, of course.
It is rare to see Rolls-Royce launch two models in a row in just 2 years – which may not happen often. The brand has seen fit to choose Goodwood in England to introduce its baby, but also Jackson Hole, in the state of Wyoming in the US to roll it for the first time. Specificity: this rather lost region turns out to be a concentrate of millionaires while it also hosts every year a conference of bankers wealth managers from around the world. More interesting for us: Jackson Hole is located at an altitude of about 2000 m, at the foot of the Rocky Mountains which rise to this point at more than 4000 m.
Those who have doubts are reassured: the Cullinan is a real Rolls-Royce and it perpetuates all the genetics typical of other models. Difference however: Cullinan can reach remote places forbidden to other Rolls. But frankly, aboard this SUV, comfort is also written with a capital C. Note however that, reduced to the external dimensions, the livability is not exceptional while the rear doors in the opposite direction do not bring them any real benefit if it is that of originality. Of course, we must mention the astronomical price of this Cullinan, but it is probably the factor that will preoccupy the least potential customers of this great SUV.