TROY, Mich. — Rolls-Royce is the epitome of the automobile as a luxurious good. It has options which are costly and opulent quite than practical, they usually create a picture that separates a Rolls-Royce from nearly the whole lot else, save maybe Bentley. I lately spent just a few days within the 2022 Rolls-Royce Cullinan, the model’s first and solely SUV. It’s a legit people-hauler. Good luck getting your retriever and her meals within the Ferrari Purosangue, however the Cullinan borders on a #vanlife operation. Right here’s three issues I discovered after driving within the opulent $429,400 Cullinan.
Worry not, it’s straightforward to drive
The intimidation issue will not be what I anticipated. The Cullinan is about so long as a Chevy Tahoe and 4 inches wider. It doesn’t drive that means. The steering is mild however direct and communicative. Consider four-wheel steering, and it’s like driving a a lot smaller automobile. The driving force’s seating place is great and offered a transparent view of my environment. With the Spirit of Ecstasy hood decoration main the way in which, it felt majestic. That’s what Rolls goes for, however the setting additionally gave me confidence with each corners clearly seen. It doesn’t matter how a lot a automobile prices in case you really feel like you understand what you’re doing.
Rolls’ well-known Magic Carpet Journey makes for maybe the smoothest expertise I’ve had in any automobile or SUV. The suspension is all the time adjusting, and nearly no bumps or potholes might trouble me or my passengers. It truly is next-level consolation. On condition that the chassis is working with 22-inch wheels, it’s all of the extra spectacular. The V12 engine places out 563 hp and 627 lb-ft of torque. Get on the throttle and it’ll transfer, however with decorum.
Sure, there’s an aura
I’ve pushed loads of luxurious vehicles that don’t stay as much as the hype. The Cullinan will not be certainly one of them. My Rolls had the Capturing Star headliner, a $7,975 possibility that turns your automobile right into a rolling planetarium. It’s a type of options that sounds contrived till you expertise it. The celestial sky is mesmerizing, and when your passengers see the shooting-star function, prepare for the oohs and ahhs. Rolls first launched the headliner in 2006 as a customized possibility, however now it’s on most of its automobiles. The celebrities are illuminated by fiber-optic cables and 6 highly effective mild cannons, in line with Rolls-Royce, and there’s as much as 1,600 hand-cut holes within the headliner. You’ll be able to personalize the constellations. Like the whole lot with Rolls, there’s a backstory, and the usual configuration depicts the skies over Goodwood on Jan. 1, 2003, marking the date the primary Rolls-Royce was constructed there after years in Crewe.
Whereas the headliner is fascinating, the Spirit of Ecstasy is the Cullinan’s grandest function. The almost four-inch hood decoration rises and descends from the entrance of the automobile when it’s locked or unlocked. It’s much more attention-getting than photos point out. Few vehicles have hood ornaments lately, so something stands out. However the hand-finished sculpture of a girl with robes trailing behind her (these are usually not wings!) is a head-turner. This one is stainless-steel, however carbon-fiber, gold-plated metal and silver are additionally out there. On condition that the Spirit of Ecstasy dates again 111 years, it makes even an SUV immediately recognizable as a Rolls.
A Rolls-Royce could be a credible SUV
Rolls-Royce was one of many final luxurious or sports-car makers to create an SUV. On condition that a few of its shoppers trip quite than drive, it was a very long time coming. I’d argue Rolls has extra enterprise making an SUV than Porsche, however the key phrase is enterprise. Porsche wanted to make an SUV to maintain making 911s. Rolls might afford to take its time.
Nonetheless, the corporate says its prospects are altering and search the lively life-style an SUV can help. By the point the Cullinan arrived again in 2018 there was pent-up demand. With file gross sales final 12 months fueled partly by the Cullinan, the SUV is justifying its existence and solidifying that of its maker.
Rolls-Royce likes to name again to its origins because the trip of T.E. Lawrence in the course of the First World Struggle to strengthen the model’s surprisingly rugged streak. He famously known as it “above rubies” throughout his desert campaigns. There’s about as a lot DNA within the Cullinan because the Escalade summons from John Pershing’s Cadillacs in that very same battle. However it’s a superb story. And after just a few days motoring round within the Cullinan, it’s clear to me that this SUV is about as much as be a legend in its personal proper. The mythology isn’t vital.
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