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Cullinan – Rolls-Royce first SUV

12th May, 2018


When Rolls-Royce announced it would launch its very first SUV, it was not a move which was done just to ‘follow the crowd’. Indeed, people who own its cars had asked the company to build ‘the Rolls-Royce of SUVs’, with the sort of superlative luxury and performance for which the brand was most famous.

Like designers in other companies, from the very beginning, those at Rolls-Royce treated this brand new Rolls-Royce – known as Cullinan – as a unique, high-bodied car. With global customer expectations in mind, the aim was two-fold – realise a presence to match the magnificent capability of Cullinan, whilst setting sector defining standards for luxury and elegance.

Key to the creation of the Cullinan was the ‘Architecture of Luxury’ – Rolls-Royce’s proprietary all-aluminium architecture. The engineering team could adapt the Architecture of Luxury to the design template of a high-bodied car, thanks to its adaptability.

It was designed and engineered from the ground up in such a way as to be scalable to the size and weight requirements of different future Rolls-Royce models, including those with different propulsion, traction and control systems, thus underpinning the long-term future product roadmap.

The Cullinan uses this new architecture in a wholly different manner to deliver an iconic design and presence, uncompromised comfort, space and usability, cutting edge technology and the peerless on-road and off-road driving experience and capability.

The component parts of the base architecture were reconfigured into a spaceframe that was higher and shorter whilst also delivering a completely new feature never seen before on a Rolls-Royce for sale – a tailgate.

Yes, this is a radical feature and it even has a name – The Clasp, which opens and closes in its two sections automatically at the touch of the key fob button. For those who intend to transport large items back from their adventures, the rear of Cullinan offers a large amount of space in different arrangements.

The rear compartment or boot area offers a standard 560 litres of space, growing to 600 with the parcel shelf removed. And for those wishing to carry a long item back from their trip, a loading length of 2245 mm and load capacity of 1930 litres is accessed by electronically raising the boot floor to meet the seat base, allowing the item to slide through effortlessly.

Inside, the cabin combines authentic Rolls-Royce luxury with simple, symmetrical functionality to express the car’s inherent strength. The first truly ‘three-box’ SUV is inspired by the age when one never travelled with one’s luggage; a glass partition isolates the passenger cabin from the luggage compartment, creating an inner ecosystem for the occupants.

The rear passenger compartment of Cullinan has also been designed to offer ‘the best seat in the house’ for the owner’s particular needs. Two rear configurations are offered – Lounge Seats or Individual Seats. The Lounge Seat configuration is the more functional of the two options, providing space for three passengers in the rear. The rear seats also fold down – a first for Rolls-Royce.

In addition to enhanced and class-leading silence within the cabin, a further benefit becomes clear in the hottest and coldest of environments. Thanks to the sealed cabin created by the glass partition wall, the occupants can remain in the optimum temperature even when the luggage compartment stands open.

The integration of new technologies into the architecture was also key to ensuring the fundamental quality of Cullinan as ‘Effortless, Everywhere’. The engineering team began by creating a drivetrain that would bring Rolls-Royce’s famous ‘Magic Carpet Ride’ off-road.

The Magic Carpet Ride benefits from the new lighter architecture and the latest generation of self-levelling air suspension. Through a thorough re-engineering of the existing air suspension system, the Cullinan will take owners to places no modern Rolls-Royce owner has travelled in luxury before. If faced with deep mud, sand or the need to cross streams, the Cullinan has the deepest wading depth of any super-luxury SUV at 540 mm when set to its highest ride height.

The complete reworking of the new 6.75-litre twin-turbo V12 Rolls-Royce engine delivers 563 bhp and just the right level of torque (850 Nm) at the lowest possible revolutions (1,600 rpm). There is not only the requisite all-wheel drive system but also an all-wheel steer system.

“The launch of a new Rolls-Royce model is always a seminal moment in the luxury industry. We are setting a new standard by creating a new class of motoring and motor car for customers who are well-connected, highly mobile and have a global perspective. They want a new type of motor car that gives them unbounded access in ultimate luxury. Their sense of adventure and daring demands a ‘go-anywhere in ultimate luxury’ motor car that will both take them to and meet them at the pinnacle of life. Cullinan is that motor-car,” declared Peter Schwarzenbauer, Chairman of Rolls-Royce and Member of the Board of the BMW Group.

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