Few days ago, Rolls Royce brought out their first SUV in the form of the Cullinan. Its name is inspired from the world’s largest gem-quality rough diamond, and nothing better would suit an SUV of its stature. From what I have seen, and don’t let the title mislead you, it is definitely one of the best (if not the best) premium SUV in the market. However, ‘is it something worthy of the spirit of ecstasy’ is a different question altogether!
The SUV market it flourishing and some very unlikely contenders are now part of the roost. Porsche, Alpha Romeo and even Bentley decided to try their luck first, but things really stirred up when Lamborghini brought out their version in the form of the Urus! Who can blame them; these things are selling like hot cakes. In Lamborghini’s case, the Urus is being pouched faster than Hondas in the hood.
Though I don’t like this development, a certain prancing horse has decided to add stilts to its legs too! We will bring more on this soon.
I really thought Rolls Royce was joking when they said they were bringing out an SUV three years ago. Even checked if the press release was sent out on an April 1st, just hoping the German’s funny bones have finally rubbed off on the Brits! But no, they have brought out the floating phantom, and that was not a compliment.
The Rolls Royce Cullinan- Things to love
There are lots of things to like about this car. For starters, it looks like a Phantom and is as imposing as any. The similarities decrease as we move to the back though, and for the first time ever on a Rolls, there’s a hatch. This SUV rides on the Phantom’s ‘Architecture of Luxury’ all-aluminium platform and gets 22” wheels.
Caroline Krismer, Engineering Project Leader for the Cullinan says that they wanted to expand the famed ‘magic carpet’ ride of the Rolls Royce to other terrains, not just the asphalt. For this they have re-engineered the car’s front axle suspension, brought on larger air struts with improved air volume and re-configured the self-levelling air suspension to do more calculations than ever before.
Rolls Royce claims that the Cullinan is the ‘most technologically advanced car of its type in the world’. So apart from all the fancy things that you can ever think about in something with four wheels, the SUV also gets all-round visibility and helicopter view!
On the Inside, the Cullinan gets RR’s latest generation digital instrument cluster and for the first-time-ever, a touch sensitive display. Rear seats come in two configurations- a very SUV-like standard bench seat and a more luxurious chair set-up with a massive refrigerated drink cabinet at the center.
|Engine||6.75-liter biturbo V12|
|AWD||New and improved|
|Top speed||250 kmh|
|Fuel Cunsumption||18.8 mpg|
Why I can’t accept it as a Rolls
While it might look like a Rolls, rides like a Rolls and even seat like a Rolls, the Cullinan, atleast for me, doesn’t quite ‘feel’ like one. Whether you take the Phantom or the Ghost, both cars have an imposing aura that screams ‘pinnacle of luxury and excellence’. Compared to them, the Cullinan is confusing as its neither here nor there. Think of it this way, if I am rich enough to buy a Cullinan, I probably have a Phantom (or at least an S-Class) in my Garage already. Would I choose it over the latter to pull up in front of a mansion full of multi-millionaires?
Marketing the car as a proper SUV, as something that can climb mountains and conquer forests is better left to the other RR of the automotive world- people need to start driving their Rolls for that to work.
Let me conclude by saying that Rolls Royce is ‘feeling’, a brand which arguably has zero haters. Things like these are only going to change that- for the worse.
What’s next, a Rolls Royce hatchback?
Agree or disagree? Leave your thoughts on the comment section below.