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In-depth reviews

Rolls-Royce Cullinan SUV - Engines, drive & performance

Clever suspension scans the road ahead so the Rolls-Royce Cullinan can shrug off bumps

Carbuyer Rating

4.0 out of 5

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Engines, drive & performance Rating

3.5 out of 5

Considering the Cullinan's elevated height and driving position compared to the Rolls-Royce Phantom, drivers may be surprised that its steering and handling feel sharper than the limousine. Despite huge 22-inch wheels, four-wheel steering means the turning circle is impressively tight and the Cullinan is surprisingly nimble even on the twisting country roads where you'd expect it to unravel.

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Of course, it's still massively refined, with soundproofing lining the reverse of almost every surface and body panel to suppress unwanted road, tyre and wind racket. There's still a distinctive rumble from the engine under acceleration, adding to the sense of engagement.

Rolls-Royce Cullinan petrol engine

The 6.75-litre twin-turbo V12 with 563bhp is the sole engine offered in the Cullinan, mustering a surge of thrust that gets it from 0-62mph in 5.2 seconds. It's by no means the fastest SUV, then, but provides a deep reserve of power.

Unlike in other Rolls-Royce models, it has also been tuned to give the Cullinan prodigious off-road performance, and a driving mode simply called 'Everywhere' adapts the chassis to tackle grass, gravel, snow or mud. The car's maximum wading depth of 540mm isn't far off a Land Rover Discovery, meaning a river or small lake between the Cullinan and its destination won't be a problem.

Back on tarmac, the Cullinan has another trick up its sleeve. The transmission and chassis receive a steady stream of data about the road ahead from the navigation system and GPS, helping choose the right gear and ensuring a smooth the ride for the road conditions. A 'Flagbearer' camera system even looks ahead for potholes and adjusts the air suspension to help absorb them for a 'Magic Carpet Ride'.

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Richard is a former editor of Carbuyer, as well as sister site DrivingElectric.com, and he's now Deputy Editor at Auto Express. Having spent a decade working in the automotive industry, he understands exactly what makes new car buyers tick.

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