The luxury car brand has lifted the veil on its highly anticipated Rolls Royce Cullinan, a new super SUV that promises to shift the landscape in this burgeoning market.
Rolls Royce’s so-called “high-sided vehicle” circumvents the familiar sports utility verbiage and uses new language to describe its supersized model, which takes visual cues from the flagship Phantom and applies them to a tall-standing, light, off-road-capable package. As such, the prevailing style is one of imposing and surprising modernity, like a rolling riff on the marque’s Parthenon grille.
Though its exterior silhouette is relatively linear, upright, and infected with more than a bit of refined restraint, the cabin reveals impressive swaths of mirror-matched veneers, wraparound leather surfaces, and niceties like an available fixed rear center console with a refrigerator, a whiskey decanter and glasses, and Champagne flutes.
The interior distinguishes itself with a strong sense of occasion. Touch one of the stainless-steel door handles, and the vehicle drops by 1.5 inches, beckoning you into its opulent space. The rear doors open backward and can shut themselves via a small button, à la Rolls’s sedans and coupes.
A glass partition separates the cabin from the 21.1-cubic-foot luggage compartment, while the brand’s first folding rear-seat configuration transforms the Rolls-Royce pavilion seating position into a flat, cargo-friendly layout. Rolls Royce Cullinan has dubbed its rear liftgate “the clasp” because it opens in two sections, enabling a party-friendly, rear-facing seat setup.
The Rolls Royce Cullinan’s driving dynamic appears to be consistent with Rolls Royce’s 114-year-old ethos of “waftability”—that is, effortless forward propulsion and a magic carpet ride. Thanks to the Phantom-sourced 6.75-liter, twin-turbo V-12 engine producing 563 hp and 627 ft lbs of torque, this luxury SUV should deliver effortless acceleration in spite of its nearly three-ton curb weight.