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THE ULTIMATE IN LUXURY

The New Rolls-Royce Cullinan

JOHNNY DUNCAN

 

History records that shortly after Charles Rolls and Henry Royce met for lunch at the Grand Central Hotel in Manchester, UK, they produced a luxury six-cylinder car, the Silver Ghost, that ran so smoothly a glass of water could stand on the engine without spilling. They made a great pair: Royce built the cars and Rolls handled the sales and deliveries. The automobiles produced were of such high quality that after an ad was placed in a local newspaper stating that, “The Rolls-Royce is not one of the best, but the best car in the world,” that slogan stuck and remains to this day. Continuing this trend, Rolls-Royce recently announced the arrival of its newest luxury SUV, the Cullinan.

The Cullinan, named after the largest diamond ever discovered which now resides in the British Crown Jewels, was designed to satisfy the demands of customers, according to Rolls-Royce. The slogan the company settled on for describing this vehicle that is more than a luxury SUV is, “It is Effortless, Everywhere,” meaning that this vehicle can conquer the most challenging terrain and "enjoy life’s most enriching experiences, wherever they may be.” The Cullinan is an all-terrain high-bodied car that keeps the luxury experience intact while venturing off-road.

Off the Beaten Path

For a luxury automobile company to venture off the beaten path of a proven track record in high-end cars is unprecedented—an almost leap into the unknown. But as stated in a recent Rolls-Royce press release, “The Rolls-Royce Cullinan is Rolls-Royce as it’s never seen before. When Sir Henry Royce said, ‘Strive for perfection in everything you do. Take the best that exists and make it better. When it does not exist, design it,’ he could have had Cullinan in mind.”

With any successful business, the challenge is providing what the customer wants. It is listening and then finding a way to satisfy the itch of the niche. As Torsten Müller-Ötvös, CEO, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars states, “The super-luxury lifestyle is evolving, and Rolls-Royce is in the lead. Luxury is no longer an urban concept. Increasingly it is about embracing and experiencing the wider world. Our customers expect to go everywhere in luxury, effortlessly and without compromise, conquering the most challenging terrain to enjoy life’s most enriching experiences, wherever they may be.”

All in the Design

Rolls-Royce announced the Cullinan more than three years ago, but with all Rolls-Royce products, creating perfection takes time. One of the notable, yet painstakingly design features is the company’s use of advanced technological equipment. These include: Night Vision and Vision Assist including daytime and night-time Wildlife and Pedestrian warning; Alertness Assistant; a 4-Camera system with Panoramic View, all-round visibility, and helicopter view for safer driving; Collision Warning; Cross-Traffic Warning, Lane Departure and Lane Change Warning; an industry leading 7x3 High-Resolution Head-Up Display, WiFi hotspot, and Navigation and Entertainment Systems.

 

But to handle the vehicle safely off road, according to the press release, the Cullinan also comes with a new double-wishbone front axle and 5-link rear axle deliver astounding levels of control over lateral roll and shear forces and deliver incredible agility and stability, as does the addition of four-wheel steering, all contributing to incredible drivability and nimbleness. Additionally, the electronically controlled shock absorber adjustment system uses an air compression system to actively push down any wheel it detects losing traction to ensure every wheel is constantly in contact with the ground and maximum torque is being provided to all wheels.

 

To prepare the Cullinan for off-road capability, the owner simply pushes one button and the vehicle is ready to “glide over any situation, whether it be rough track, gravel, wet grass, mud, snow or sand delivering all 850Nm of torque to all four wheels without interruption. And faced with deep snow, sand, or the need to ford streams, Cullinan delivers the deepest wading depth of any super-luxury SUV at 540mm thanks to its highest ride height.” Also, the reengineered air suspension system, the strengthening of drive and prop shafts, the inclusion of drive to the front wheels as well as the back assists this 6.75 litre twin-turbo V12 Rolls-Royce engine to deliver just the right level of torque (850Nm) at the lowest possible revolutions (1,600rpm).

 

As expected, the Cullinan luxury inside the vehicle is what you’d expect: water-resistant “box grain” black leather running along the expanse of the dash-top and doors. The classic graphics for the instrument dials, and a touchscreen central multi-media. Rear passengers sit higher than those in front, either in a lounge configuration or in magnificent individual chairs with a champagne chiller under the arm rest. Released in early May, this Rolls-Royce is poised to live up to its motto of effortless, everywhere.