The most anticipated car of 2018 and, quite possibly, the most anticipated Rolls-Royce of all time, has been unveiled. Named after the largest diamond ever discovered which now resides in the British Crown Jewels, the Rolls-Royce Cullinan is the British marque’s most versatile, family orientated and fun-to-drive car to date, one that truly is effortless everywhere. For the first time, a Rolls-Royce has an opening tailgate, called ‘The Clasp’. In a nod to the era when luggage was mounted on the exterior of the motor-car, so the occupants did not travel with their belongings, the rear profile of Cullinan is a two-part, ‘D-Back’ format, with the bustle denoting the place of the luggage. ‘The Clasp’ opens and closes in its two sections automatically at the touch of the key fob button.
The rear passenger compartment of Cullinan has 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. With space for three passengers in the rear, it will likely be more attractive to families. The rear seats also fold down – a first for Rolls-Royce.
The seats fold electronically in a number of configurations by pressing the appropriate button in the boot or rear door pocket. One press sees each backrest effortlessly fold down, whist at the same time moving the headrests upwards to avoid making an imprint on the seat cushion. Both seat backs can be folded completely, creating a flat load area or in a 2/3 and 1/3 split, increasing practicality even further. Rear passengers can still travel with a long load, or use the carpeted seat back as an occasional table on which to rest their items.
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. Furthermore, the base of the rear seats sits higher than the boot floor, so even with both rear seats folded, the items in the boot cannot slip forward and are safely contained, unlike in any other SUV. But for those wishing to carry a long item back from their trip – whether it be a Mark Rothko from the Art Gallery or a newly discovered artefact from the latest archaeological dig – a loading length of 2245mm 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.
Knowing that the Rolls-Royce customer expects to bespoke his or her Cullinan, a second rear configuration is offered. The Individual Seat configuration is for those who value the ultimate luxury an SUV can offer over practicality. The two individual rear seats are separated by a Fixed Rear Centre Console incorporating a drinks cabinet with Rolls-Royce whisky glasses and decanter, champagne flutes and refrigerator. The seats also move in a number of planes to offer ultimate comfort whilst travelling in the rear.
One final feature brings Rolls-Royce’s ultimate level of luxury to this configuration of Cullinan, creating the first truly “three-box” SUV. 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. 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.
Speaking about the exterior, the front of the new Rolls-Royce Cullinan immediately communicates a sense of strength and power as strong vertical and horizontal lines sculpt the bodywork, specifically one that runs across the hand-polished stainless steel pantheon grille. Continuing past the raised bonnet edge to the A-pillars, a purposefully clear side is defined. Its unique roofline silhouette declines rapidly to reach the elegantly protruding boot lid, where, at the rear, the form has been reduced to increase practicality and prominence.
Delivering their renowned “magic carpet ride” was imperative for Rolls-Royce, and with a single push of the ‘everywhere’ button, the ‘Cullinan’ transcends this to unleash its off-road capability. Its lighter architecture, drivetrain and self-leveling air suspension ensure this ever-comfortable experience is delivered. On the road, the car features technologies such as night vision and vision assist, active cruise control, and the latest navigation and entertainment system. However, enhancing these technologies further and using a 6.75 liter twin-turbo V12 engine that enables 563 bhp and 850 nm of torque, the SUV truly takes luxury effortlessly everywhere.