And it’s pretty damn impressive
It’s not every day Rolls Royce bring out an all-new vehicle, and this is the first time Unsealed 4X4 has been invited for a look. This is the first 4WD that the legendary pommy carmaker has built, and let’s just say it’s a bit different to the typical kind of 4WD we poke our snout into.
The interior of the Cullinan is quite breathtaking. Despite being a pre-production model we were looking at, every surface and finish of the Cullinan was top-shelf. Textured leathers, open-grained timbers, and other things completely lost on a boorish luddite like myself. If you think a hundred-thousand dollar vehicle has a nice interior, this thing simply blows everything else away.
The rear doors have that trademark umbrella built into them, which are a structural part of the door. They are colour-coded to the car and Teflon-coated. Along with a heated storage compartment, your umbrella never stays wet or gets mouldy. The doors also run low and wrap below the vehicle, which means no matter how thickly draped in mud, you won’t get anything on your trakky daks when getting in or out.
Interestingly, Australia is seen as a different market for Rolls Royce. Where other markets will have a 90/10 between chauffeured and self-driving owners, the split is reversed in Australia: the majority of Roller owners drive themselves. Pay all of that money, I’d want a bloody drive as well!
The Cullinan will seat either four or five, depending on how it’s spec’d. If you opt for four seats, the centre of the second row becomes a resplendent drinks console, complete with champagne flutes, a cooler for your Passion Pop, plus a crystal decanter and tumbler set, for your single malt whiskey. Or Bundy.
What’s under the bonnet? A lot. A BMW-sourced 6.75-litre V12, using two turbochargers, develops 420kW. More importantly, there is 850Nm available from only 1600rpm. This runs through an eight-speed ZF gearbox, which drives all four wheels.
The Cullinan uses an air suspension, which gives 194mm of ground clearance. An extra 40mm of extra clearance available for off-roading. The front is a double-wishbone, while the rear is an independent multi-link setup. An off-road mode is accessed by one button, and you’ll have a choice of four modes therein.
Rolls Royce have always been proud of their unmatched ‘magic-carpet ride’. I haven’t experienced it yet; the closest I’ve had is listening to Steppenwolf while my teeth rattle in my stiffly-sprung Defender (hey, it’s British, right?), but the Cullinan promises to take this ultimate comfort off-road, without any on-road compromise. The air suspension self-levels, and electronically controlled suspension dampers make millions of calculations each second to provide the upmost in comfort and control.
Will it be capable off-road? We reckon it will. 240-odd millimetres of ground clearance is quite good, and the traction control system will no doubt be finely tuned to wrangle traction out of most surfaces. It might not be following GQ Patrols up Six-Stage, but what the Rolls Royce promises is to be the ultimate in comfort and effortlessness. We’ll get behind the wheel soon, so stay tuned.
What’s the competition?
The main competition of the Cullinan are also British: ultra high-end vehicles that do possess some proper off-road capability. Bentley Bentayga and Range Rover LWB Autobiography.
Based on the Audi Q7 platform and sporting either a 447kW/900Nm twin-turbo W12, or 4.0-litre twin-turbo diesel (320kW/900Nm) or petrol (404kW/700Nm), the Bentayga starts at $334,700 for the petrol V8, or $433,200 for the W12.
The Range Rover can be had for as little as $190,000, but you’d need a top-spec model to compete in this lofty arena. The LWB SVAutobiography, with a 416kW/700Nm supercharged 5.0-litre V8, costing $398,900, should do the trick.