Rolls-Royce Cullinan SUV
"The Rolls-Royce Cullinan is the brand's first SUV, redefining the upper reaches of the market for luxury and bespoke craftsmanship"
- Supreme luxury
- Practical interior and boot
- Good to drive on and off-road
- Exorbitant running costs
- Expensive options
- Huge size
Name your first SUV after the largest and most flawless diamond ever found, and it's clear you aren't messing around. Weighing in at just under three tonnes, the Rolls-Royce Cullinan is a big deal in every sense. It's the first SUV from the iconic British luxury manufacturer, fitted with a 6.75-litre V12 petrol engine and options that include a fold-out seat for watching polo matches.
Starting from £250,000, the Cullinan also manages to make the Bentley Bentayga look relatively affordable, costing from around £140,000. And that's before you make your Cullinan a truly bespoke item, like most clients (as Rolls-Royce refers to its owners) will choose to do.
Despite its colossal 563bhp twin-turbo engine, the Cullinan isn't as fast as uber-SUVs like the Bentayga, Range Rover SVAutobiography or Lamborghini Urus, powering from 0-62mph in a still-remarkable 5.2 seconds. The priority is comfort and off-road ability rather than drag-strip times, so its complex chassis has been fitted with air suspension that actively helps smooth out bumps in the road. Cameras scan the tarmac for potholes ahead so they can be soaked up without ruffling passenger's fascinators, and the wheels push down into soft ground if the Cullinan begins to struggle for grip.
The view out from behind the wheel is a lofty one, yet surprisingly the steering feels sharper and the handling more precise than the Rolls-Royce Phantom. The Cullinan is also more agile than you'd imagine given its size and weight, partly thanks to four-wheel steering that allows the rear tyres to turn by a few degrees. In another triumph for technology, the automatic gearbox knows when best to shift thanks to information from the sat nav.
A move into SUV production also means the Cullinan is the most practical Rolls-Royce, ideal for high days and holidays. 'Clients' can choose between a conventional five-seat layout with power-folding rear seats (another Rolls-Royce first) or a four-seater version. The latter is most opulent, with the middle seat replaced by a fixed console that's home to glasses, a decanter and fridge, along with seats that can recline like those of a private jet.
Boot space is 560 litres behind the seats and up to 1,886 when they're folded flat. You can also commission 'Recreation Modules' that see your lifestyle gear for each hobby packed into its own purpose-built container. Fancy going fishing or snowboarding? Just choose the right module and load it into the motorised drawer in the boot before you head off.