Watch our exclusive walkaround of Rolls-Royce Cullinan, its first SUV costing upwards of £250,000

Plus Q&A

DRIVING.CO.UK got up close with Cullinan, Rolls-Royce’s first SUV – well, the prototype – ahead of the car official launch today. Watch what David Green made of it in the video above.

The new SUV’s vital statistics are below, as isd a link to our image gallery, and we also grabbed a word with the guys at Rolls-Royce to answer a few key questions about the model, including why the company renowned for making the world’s most luxurious cars even considered making a school run-mobile that costs more than a quarter of a million pounds.

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Gallery: is the new Rolls-Royce Cullinan the best 4x4xFar?

Rolls-Royce Cullinan price and specifications

  • Price Upwards of £250,000-300,000, but many will be bespoke and so cost much more
  • Engine 6.75-litre V12, petrol
  • Power 563bhp @ 5,000rpm
  • Torque 627 lb ft @ 1,600rpm
  • Top speed 155mph (limited)
  • 0-62mph TBC
  • Fuel economy 18.8mpg
  • CO2 341g/km
  • Weight 2,660kg
  • Dimensions 5,341mm x 2,164mm x 1,835mm
  • Boot space 600 litres


Rolls-Royce Cullinan: spokesperson Q&A

The wild popularity of SUVs isn’t showing any signs of slowing down but did Rolls-Royce really need to make one?

“Rolls-Royce clients couldn’t find what they really wanted in the SUV market.

“Our customers do not accept limitations or compromises in their lives. They are the new pioneers, and for them it’s about their sense of adventure and daring in how they live their experiences.

“This approach to life demands a motor car that can go-anywhere in ultimate luxury and style – Rolls-Royce style. This is why Cullinan came about.

“It was clear that these new, younger and more adventurous customers wanted a Rolls-Royce that would take them completely off the beaten track and reward them with life’s most enriching experiences.

“What they didn’t want was a vehicle as ubiquitous as an SUV with compromises such as increased cabin noise due to the “two-box” formula; shared platforms that affect performance and comfort; the choice of being good either on-road or off-road; or a lower, more featureless SUV that blends in and becomes just another car.

“Torsten Müller-Ötvös [Chief Executive Officer of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars] has said that ‘luxury is no longer an urban concept’ and that our customers expect to go everywhere in luxury, effortlessly and without compromise, conquering the most challenging terrain. Cullinan is that car. It is effortless, everywhere.”

Do you think its launch changes the image of the brand in any way?

“Rolls-Royce has a century-long pedigree of adventurous quests and campaigns, successfully carried out across all terrains thanks to the luxury offered by a stout vehicle that was swift, stealthy and dependable.”

What does “Cullinan” mean?

“It’s named after the largest diamond ever discovered which now resides in the British Crown Jewels.”

How British is the Cullinan?

“Every Cullinan is built at the home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood, England.

“We often work with family-owned, artisanal suppliers. These companies are based across Europe — particularly the UK and Italy — and share our culture of perfection and are also capable of working with the flexibility required of a truly bespoke marque.

“Success for Rolls-Royce is success for Great Britain. By placing into the hands of the wealthiest and most influential people in the world a handmade British luxury good, we do much to promote British manufacturing, craftsmanship, design, engineering excellence on the world stage.”

Does it include components from parent company BMW, though?

“There is no structural relationship between Cullinan and any BMW product. The new ‘Architecture of Luxury’, on which all future Rolls-Royce cars will be based, is exclusively engineered for Rolls-Royce.

“Yes, as a marque, Rolls-Royce is able to benefit from being part of a leading automotive group [but] we have rejected the approach employed by ‘mass luxury’ brands owned by premium car groups of spinning so-called luxury cars off existing platforms, and utilising the same supply chain as model lines that sell in the millions. This approach is entirely inappropriate for a Rolls-Royce.”

How capable is it off-road and in what extremes has it been tested?

“It’s been tested to destruction all over the planet. Cullinan is an incredibly capable off-roader that sees the development of the ‘Magic Carpet Ride’ [suspension system] for off-road enjoyment, without sacrificing any Rolls-Royce on-road behaviour.

“Testing environments have included desert driving and hot weather testing in Africa and the Middle East; additional hot weather test and off-roading in Canyonelands, North America; sub-zero snow and ice, and low-grip off-road testing in the Arctic Circle; and off-roading through the glens and trails of the Scottish Highlands.”

Do you think any customers will really want to get it muddy, or risk hitting rocks?

“We know that many of our luxury patrons pursue sports or leisure hobbies that require precisely this type of go anywhere vehicle – Cullinan’s design gesture had to possess an immediate sense of effortless accomplishment.”

“The label SUV is now applied to anything with a two-box silhouette and the least suggestion of going off tarmac. We envisioned an authentic, three-box high-bodied all-terrain car with a convention-challenging design and absolute capability that would satisfy the adventurous urges of our clients.”

Have you started production, and from when will customer cars be delivered?

The first Cullinan deliveries will be made in the first quarter of 2019

How friendly will we need to get with out bank manager, if we want to own one?

“Pricing in the UK will start between £250,000 to £300,000, including local taxes.

“It’s worth noting that most cars will leave Goodwood with a degree of Bespoke work carried out, as almost every Rolls-Royce does, which means the majority of cars will go for rather more.”