TROY, Mich. — Rolls-Royce is the epitome of the automobile as a luxurious good. It has options which might be costly and opulent reasonably than purposeful, and so they create a picture that separates a Rolls-Royce from virtually every part else, save maybe Bentley. I just lately spent a number of days within the 2022 Rolls-Royce Cullinan, the model’s first and solely SUV. It’s a legit people-hauler. Good luck getting your retriever and her meals within the Ferrari Purosangue, however the Cullinan borders on a #vanlife operation. Right here’s three issues I realized after driving within the opulent $429,400 Cullinan.
Concern not, it’s straightforward to drive
The intimidation issue is just not what I anticipated. The Cullinan is about so long as a Chevy Tahoe and 4 inches wider. It doesn’t drive that approach. The steering is gentle however direct and communicative. Consider four-wheel steering, and it’s like driving a a lot smaller automobile. The motive force’s seating place is superb and offered a transparent view of my environment. With the Spirit of Ecstasy hood decoration main the best way, it felt majestic. That’s what Rolls goes for, however the setting additionally gave me confidence with each corners clearly seen. It doesn’t matter how a lot a automobile prices in case you really feel like you understand what you’re doing.
Rolls’ well-known Magic Carpet Trip makes for maybe the smoothest expertise I’ve had in any automobile or SUV. The suspension is at all times adjusting, and virtually no bumps or potholes may trouble me or my passengers. It truly is next-level consolation. On condition that the chassis is working with 22-inch wheels, it’s all of the extra spectacular. The V12 engine places out 563 hp and 627 lb-ft of torque. Get on the throttle and it’ll transfer, however with decorum.
Sure, there’s an aura
I’ve pushed loads of luxurious automobiles that don’t dwell as much as the hype. The Cullinan is just not one among them. My Rolls had the Capturing Star headliner, a $7,975 possibility that turns your automobile right into a rolling planetarium. It’s a type of options that sounds contrived till you expertise it. The celestial sky is mesmerizing, and when your passengers see the shooting-star function, prepare for the oohs and ahhs. Rolls first launched the headliner in 2006 as a customized possibility, however now it’s on most of its autos. The celebs are illuminated by fiber-optic cables and 6 highly effective gentle cannons, in response to Rolls-Royce, and there’s as much as 1,600 hand-cut holes within the headliner. You possibly can personalize the constellations. Like every part with Rolls, there’s a backstory, and the usual configuration depicts the skies over Goodwood on Jan. 1, 2003, marking the date the primary Rolls-Royce was constructed there after years in Crewe.
Whereas the headliner is charming, the Spirit of Ecstasy is the Cullinan’s grandest function. The almost four-inch hood decoration rises and descends from the entrance of the automobile when it’s locked or unlocked. It’s much more attention-getting than photos point out. Few automobiles have hood ornaments nowadays, so something stands out. However the hand-finished sculpture of a girl with robes trailing behind her (these aren’t wings!) is a head-turner. This one is stainless-steel, however carbon-fiber, gold-plated metal and silver are additionally accessible. On condition that the Spirit of Ecstasy dates again 111 years, it makes even an SUV immediately recognizable as a Rolls.
A Rolls-Royce generally is a credible SUV
Rolls-Royce was one of many final luxurious or sports-car makers to create an SUV. On condition that a few of its purchasers journey reasonably than drive, it was a very long time coming. I’d argue Rolls has extra enterprise making an SUV than Porsche, however the key phrase is enterprise. Porsche wanted to make an SUV to maintain making 911s. Rolls may afford to take its time.
Nonetheless, the corporate says its prospects are altering and search the lively life-style an SUV can assist. By the point the Cullinan arrived again in 2018 there was pent-up demand. With report gross sales final 12 months fueled partly by the Cullinan, the SUV is justifying its existence and solidifying that of its maker.
Rolls-Royce likes to name again to its origins because the journey of T.E. Lawrence throughout the First World Warfare to strengthen the model’s surprisingly rugged streak. He famously known as it “above rubies” throughout his desert campaigns. There’s about as a lot DNA within the Cullinan because the Escalade summons from John Pershing’s Cadillacs in that very same battle. Nevertheless it’s a very good story. And after a number of days motoring round within the Cullinan, it’s clear to me that this SUV is about as much as be a legend in its personal proper. The mythology isn’t mandatory.
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