May 15, 2018 Volume 14 Issue 18

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The 'Rolls-Royce of SUVs' is, well, a Rolls-Royce

If you want to roll up and ask for some Grey Poupon* looking effortless and super-luxe, the new Rolls-Royce Cullinan SUV will fit your town-and-country, top-shelf lifestyle. The 6.75-liter twin-turbo V12 engine delivers 563 bhp/420 kW to the all-new all-wheel drive, all-wheel steer system. It has plenty of power to handle whatever you throw at it -- just throw it with some class, please, this is a Rolls after all.

Named after the largest gem-quality diamond ever found, Rolls-Royce's first foray into the modern SUV world is $325,000 of understated elegance.

The vehicle was engineered from the ground up so the design could be scalable to the size and weight requirements of different future Rolls-Royce models, including those with different propulsion, traction, and control systems, creating a long-term product roadmap. It features an all-new aluminum sub-structure that delivers extraordinary car body stiffness for optimal performance and comfort on rough terrain.

Of chief importance was continuing to provide Rolls-Royce's celebrated Magic Carpet Ride, which is achieved thanks to a thorough re-engineering of the existing air suspension system (including adding larger air struts with more air volume to cushion the blows of the toughest of terrains), strengthening the drive and prop shafts, the inclusion of drive to the front wheels as well as the back (a first in Rolls-Royce history), and the complete reworking of the new twin-turbo V12 Rolls-Royce engine to deliver just the right level of torque (850 Nm) at the lowest possible revolutions (1,600 rpm).

The suspension makes millions of calculations every second as it continuously varies the electronically controlled shock absorber adjustment system -- reacting to body and wheel acceleration, steering inputs, and camera information. A new double-wishbone front axle and five-link rear axle deliver impressive levels of control over lateral roll and shear forces and provide agility and stability, as does the addition of four-wheel steering, all contributing to incredible drivability and nimbleness.

A single "Everywhere" button is the main control to engage readiness for any situation.

In the case of driving off-road, the electronically controlled shock absorber adjustment system uses an air compression system to actively push down any wheel it detects losing traction to ensure every wheel is constantly in contact with the ground and maximum torque is being provided to all wheels.

When you unlock the car, it lowers itself automatically by 40 mm to make for an easy entry. The doors automatically close themselves with a push of a button.

All information is clearly communicated by the latest generation of digital instruments, with the displays themselves designed with clear and beautiful virtual needles, Rolls-Royce jewellery-like chaplets. and clear lettering.

The central information screen is, for the first time, touch sensitive, allowing the driver to quickly select functions, map views, and vehicle set-up while on the trail. This portal can still be controlled from the iconic Spirit of Ecstasy controller, which nestles on the central console with the Off-Road button, Hill Descent Control button, and Air Suspension height adjustment controls.

Other tech equipment includes: Night Vision and Vision Assist, including daytime and night-time Wildlife & Pedestrian warning; Alertness Assistant; a four-camera system with Panoramic View, all-round visibility, and helicopter view; Active Cruise Control; Collision Warning; Cross-Traffic Warning, Lane Departure and Lane Change Warning; an industry-leading 7 x 3 High-Resolution Head-Up Display, WiFi hotspot, and of course the latest Navigation and Entertainment Systems.

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, while 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. 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.

In the Individual Seats configuration, the two rear seats are separated by a Fixed Rear Center 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 while traveling in the rear.

Inspired by the age when one never traveled 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 days. 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.

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The component parts of the base architecture were reconfigured into a spaceframe that was higher and shorter while also delivering a completely new feature never seen before on a series production Rolls-Royce -- a tailgate (called "The Clasp"). In a nod to the era when luggage was mounted on the exterior of the 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.

Top speed is 155. Fuel efficiency is 18.8 mpg combined. Not bad, considering.

Source: Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

Published May 2018

*[Editor's Note: For those too young to get the reference, one of the original 1980s Grey Poupon commercials (which featured Rolls-Royces).]

And a funny take on it. Maybe this is why they finally decided to make an SUV!

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