The 2021 Rolls-Royce Cullinan enters the game of luxury SUVs with the trophy already in the bag. It has the off-roading capabilities of a Land Rover but really departs the field with endless levels of customization. Here’s a closer look at the Rolls-Royce of SUVs – the Cullinan.
Detailed Review of the 2021 Rolls-Royce Cullinan
The Cullinan is the first SUV from Rolls-Royce and establishes the very pinnacle of refinement. It’s a luxury off-road vehicle built from the inside out. It first debuted in 2018, but it’s still building a fanbase. Auto enthusiasts have been whispering about the prospect of a Cullinan for more than five years, aided by perfectly planned sneak peeks being leaked by RR every year.
In a company press release, Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös had this to say:
“The super-luxury lifestyle is evolving, and Rolls-Royce is in the lead. Luxury is no longer an urban concept. More and more 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. For this reason, they have asked us to create a Rolls-Royce that offers uncompromised luxury wherever they dare to venture. Cullinan is that car. It is Effortless, Everywhere.”
Distinctive Style of the Cullinan
The first take of the Cullinan’s exterior might draw one to believe that it’s slow or bulky. It has a powerful stance and flat front fascia. It certainly doesn’t look nimble. The Rolls-Royce Cullinan weighs in at an astonishing 6,069 pounds.
The Cullinan has an upright, boxy exterior that looks a bit like the Mercedes-Benz G Wagon or the Land Rover platforms. The Cullinan is 210.3 inches long and 72.3 inches in height. That makes the Cullinan slightly shorter and slightly longer than a Land Rover Defender.
The Cullinan’s appearance provides a blank canvas for a bespoke design. Customers can choose nearly any wheel style, paint job, or exterior feature. So, the Cullinan base model is more like an unmolded block of expensive clay.
Performance of the 2021 Rolls-Royce Cullinan
The Cullinan is motivated by a 6.8 Liter, V12 engine that produces 563 horsepower and 627-pound feet of torque. The engine in the Rolls-Royce Cullinan is the same powertrain from the Phantom and it’s managed by an 8-speed automatic transmission. It’s fast enough to travel from zero to 60 in about 5 seconds with a top speed of 151 MPH. It certainly moves its weight well, but the Cullinan SUV gets roughly 18 miles per gallon.
The Cullinan’s driving dynamics hinge largely upon the torque and suspension. All that torque gets shunted to the rear wheels most of the time, but the Cullinan is classed as an all-wheel-drive vehicle. It doesn’t use torque vectoring as one would suspect but instead relies on its own advanced form of all-wheel drive management.
The Cullinan can go into an off-road mode with a press of a button. Then, there are six different driving modes to control the vehicle’s traction response. There’s mud, gravel, sand, snow, wet grass, and rough trails. Its air suspension works in concert with adaptive dampers, double-wishbone suspension up front, and a multi-link suspension in the rear.
The airbag suspension works best to control the ride quality, not to challenge it. This is also part of the design philosophy behind the Cullinan – to be impervious to environmental conditions, whatever they may be.
Although Rolls-Royce was very public about its off-road testing, the Cullinan uses regular old hill descent electronic controls and anti-lock braking to handle slopes. The Cullinan can rise to a maximum ground clearance of 7.3 inches and it can ford 12 inches of water.
To showcase the offroad prowess of the RR Cullinan, it was sent around the world with National Geographic. The Cullinan tackled extreme landscapes from sand dunes and rock-encrusted mountains to stony rivers and snow-packed plains. In keeping with brand ethos, the Cullinan appeared to master all of the terrain types in the final challenge effortlessly.
Luxurious Interior of the New Cullinan
Getting inside the Cullinan is a treat as the ride height is lowered to allow for easy access to the interior. Once you get inside, the doors are power closing. The doors open “suicide style” with the rear doors opening from the center of the Cullinan outward on rear hinges. This opens up the entire cabin-like double doors to a luxury penthouse suite.
The Cullinan has a panoramic glass roof that retracts and tilts at the press of a button. Super soft headliner and carpeted floors make shoes optional. The interior of the Cullinan comes with certain luxury trappings like leather upholstery and premium wood trim, but these are just placeholders. Customers are paired with designers from Rolls-Royce to create their own amenities. The options list is extensive.
The rear of the Cullinan is the place to tune out the cold, cruel world. Seating in the rear of the Cullinan can be outfitted with two heated, massaging captain’s chairs or a rear bench that seats three occupants. The rear seats recline with a footrest, retractable worktables, and touchscreens.
The rear cargo compartment can accommodate 68 cubic feet of storage in total. The Cullinan has a glass partition to exclude the cargo compartment and acoustic glass on all the windows. You don’t have to know what your luggage is doing; that’s the driver’s job. The rear hatch has two opening liftgate panels, one above and one below. However, the rear seats fold down to allow occupants to access the trunk for spare blankets, a pair of skis, or to put more golf clubs inside.
Safety Gear of the Cullinan
It’s refreshing to see that the 2021 Rolls-Royce Cullinan is outfitted with some of the latest safety technology. Unlike other luxury SUVs that value performance over safety, the Cullinan leaves no stone unturned. It comes with forward-collision warnings, a surround-view camera system, automatic emergency braking, and driver attention alerts. There’s a heads-up display for the driver and lane departure warnings, too.
There are 44,000 different paint combinations you can choose for the Rolls-Royce Cullinan and many other ways to customize the vehicle. The super-luxury automaker specializes in producing truly bespoke vehicles. Customers can manage nearly every aspect of the build-out, even designing the sound system to create their own personal level of audio enjoyment.
The Cullinan is available as part of the Black Badge series, too. It joins the Ghost and Wraith in getting the all-black treatment from Rolls-Royce. There is a bespoke wheel design available as well as yellow leather upholstery with carbon inlays. It’s not all cosmetic. The Cullinan Black Badge edition has increased horsepower and torque. It also gets updates to the drivetrain and chassis for better handling and performance.
Summing it Up
The name Cullinan comes from a 3,000-carat diamond worth $2 billion dollars that was gifted to the British during their colonization of South Africa. It seems that every aspect of the Cullinan SUV is a statement piece, even the name.
The 2021 Rolls-Royce Cullinan is the most expensive SUV on the mainstream market. Before any sort of customization, the Cullinan comes in at $325,000. Even with such a large price tag, the Cullinan presents a daunting challenge for producers of the Range Rover, the DBX, and other luxury SUVs. For the super-wealthy, the 2021 Rolls-Royce Cullinan is unparalleled and exists in its own stratosphere. The Rolls-Royce Cullinan presents owners with an unprecedented challenge – drive or ride. Surely, it will be a pleasure to do both.