The Jewel In Rolls-Royce’s Crown? Cullinan On Test
Andy Harris, Motoring and Property Editor
It is always a delight to spend some time with a Rolls-Royce. The epitome of luxury and one of the world’s best-known brands, the experience is still one that excites.
The Cullinan is Rolls-Royce’s first foray into the world of the all-wheel drive SUV and the British manufacturer clearly has high aspirations for its new model.
I think it would be fair to say that the Cullinan has received a mixed reception with some saying that moving into this market dilutes the brand. However, it’s the looks that are somewhat more divisive especially the rather bold front end.
So why has Rolls-Royce decided to enter this market? The business model undoubtedly makes sense as up until now, wealthy Rolls owners looking for more everyday transport for family duties etc have had to look elsewhere. A Bentley Bentayga perhaps, Maserati’s Levante a distinct possibility or most likely a Range Rover.
The Cullinan is also set to appeal to the more adventurous owner who perhaps wishes to head to a remote moorland shoot, cross a desert or perhaps just pull a horsebox.
My long weekend with the Rolls saw me journey to Northumberland and the lowlands of Scotland. There had been talk of indulging in a little off-roading and I am quite sure that the AWD Cullinan would have coped admirably.
Call me a coward but being charged with such an expensive vehicle, and one lacking a spare wheel, I chose to stick to terra firma!
And stick the Rolls most certainly did… Once adjusted to the car’s considerable girth, it can be hustled along twisting country lanes at a fair old lick.
There’s more body roll than perhaps is ideal and no option to firm the suspension up. Rolls-Royce knows best.
Far better to rein it in somewhat and enjoy the surging wave of torque which ensues with the merest prod of the accelerator.
And then there’s the ride! The Cullinan cossets like no other in its class, with only the very deepest of potholes having the audacity to disturb the calm of the cabin.
If time is short, the Cullinan will sprint to 60mph in exactly five seconds dead and will run out of steam at a restricted 155mph. Not only that but the capable all-wheel drive system allows the driver to deploy all that power whatever the weather.
Make full use of it and I suspect the 16.5mpg I recorded will be fairly representative. No matter I am sure to those with the deepest of pockets.
The highlight of any Rolls-Royce is the bespoke interior. A heady aroma of wood and leather greets and once on board, pillar-mounted buttons shut the doors electrically.
The front seats are as comfy as the best armchair and the view out imperious. The steering wheel is a delight to hold and the switches and major controls are tactile to the touch.
The silky-smooth automatic gearbox is controlled by a column-mounted stalk and once acclimatised, it makes a lot of sense.
The sunroof bathes the cabin in natural light, though opening it allows the outside world in and rather spoils the hushed ambiance.
Cullinan buyers can specify standard seating for three rear passengers or there is the option of two rather more accommodating and adjustable individual rear seats.
Whatever the choice, head and legroom is more than plentiful. In addition, electric picnic tables fold down, and these hide the twin rear touchscreens, capable of taking control of the sound system etc.
We picnicked on a couple of occasions, my only time to enjoy the rear compartment. Sadly, I forgot to order the Fortnum and Masons hamper…
The Cullinan is still a rare sight in the UK and unsurprisingly attracted a huge amount of attention wherever I journeyed. Street-parked for two nights in a Northumberland coastal village, it was interesting to watch passers-by stopping to take in the detail, many crossing the road to take a closer look.
Despite its heady pricing, the Cullinan seems destined to become Rolls-Royce’s best-selling car and it’s easy to see why.
The press office tells me that many wealthy clients already own several examples of the marque and for those a Cullinan will be an obvious addition.
For the rest of us, we can but dream. I am thankful to have been given a taste of how the other half lives and I have to say it was really rather lovely!
Iguaza Blue paint with Charles/Navy blue interior
Price from £276,000
6.75-litre twin-turbocharged V12 petrol engine
571PS and 850Nm torque
0-60mph in 5.0 seconds
Top speed 155mph (limited)
Combined economy 18.8mpg
Emissions 341g/km CO2
Options Fitted To The Test Car
22” Fully Polished Wheels
Rear Privacy Glass
Front Massage Seats
Rear Theatre Configuration
Rolls-Royce Bespoke Audio
Electronic Tow Hitch
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The Jewel In Rolls-Royce’s Crown? Cullinan On Test, 23rd April 2019, 8:01 AM