Rolls-Royce has officially revealed the Cullinan SUV, and it looks exactly as you would have imagined it, complete with motorised banquet-hall doors and imposing grille with the “Spirit of Ecstacy” sitting on the bonnet.
While you could argue that the world didn’t need a Rolls SUV, it’s a bit obvious that the Middle East, and to a lesser extent the United States and China, were responsible for its conception. We even got a secret preview of the production car in the flesh at the Abu Dhabi dealership a couple of weeks ago, as it was brought here to be shown to potential customers, so you can guess the UAE is an important market.
Named after the largest diamond ever discovered, the Cullinan is powered by a 6.75-litre twin-turbo V12 engine that delivers 563 hp as well as 850 Nm of torque. It comes with standard all-wheel-drive, and the “off-road mode” automatically decides what type of terrain the car is driving on, to adjust the suspension and maintain the ride. There is no low-range gearing, and it can wade in water only slightly deeper than the offroad-incapable Bentley Bentayga, so it will probably manage the sand dunes only in capable hands.
Built on a new platform that’s based on the all-aluminium base of the new Phantom, the Cullinan is shorter than the Phantom in length and wheelbase, but wider and of course taller. It has the expected air suspension that is height-adjustable, and can be lowered for easier entry/exit, although curiously there are no side-steps.
The dash design and details are all similar to existing Rolls-Royce models. The rear seating is pushed back towards the boot area in keeping with the limo feel of a Rolls, and can be had in a 3-seater or 2-seater configuration for the back. The 2-seater models have a console to hold your family-size “Shani” bottles and glasses, as well as a glass partition to separate the occupants from the boot. Speaking of the boot, it can be configured to hold two motorised pull-out jump chairs for chilling on the tailgate.
Other features include heated and ventilated front seats, touch-sensitive display, four-camera view system, collision warning, Night Vision system, wireless charging, cross-traffic warning, lane departure and lane change warnings, WiFi hotspot and five USB ports.
When it hits showrooms by the end of the year, the Cullinan is expected to start at a reasonable Dhs 1.9 million, but models coming to the UAE are expected to be loaded with options already, driving up the price to Dhs 2.2 million. At that price, it has no rivals.