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Rolls-Royce reveals long-awaited SUV. Image by Rolls-Royce.

Rolls-Royce reveals long-awaited SUV
The new Rolls-Royce is called the Cullinan and it could be the ultimate luxury 4x4.
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What on Earth is this? It's so huge! It's blocking out the sun!

Yes, it is a trifle large, isn't it?

Is it the meteor that will finally end all life on Earth?

No, it's bigger than that. It's the Rolls-Royce Cullinan, the company's first SUV and the only car we can think of to be named after a diamond.

Come again?

Yup, it's named after the famous Cullinan diamond, the largest ever found, which now resides in the personal collection of one Liz Windsor, of London W1. But enough of that, on with the car. Obviously, from the styling, it's based on the same aluminium 'Architecture of Luxury' as the current Phantom, and it also uses that car's turbocharged V12 6.75-litre engine. That means 571hp and 850Nm of torque, from barely above idle.

A Rolls SUV, eh? Wonders will never cease.

Indeed, but don't call it an SUV. Rolls-Royce refers to it as a 'high-sided all-terrain motor-car' so don't go confusing it with a Nissan Qashqai, now will you? It really will go off-road, too. There's four-wheel drive, adjustable suspension and a one-push 'Off-Road' mode that automatically sets the Cullinan up perfectly for whatever terrain you happen to be driving across. Air suspension means it can lower by 40mm to make getting in and out easier, or raise itself up to full height to ford up to 540mm of standing water.

Being able to raid the BMW parts bin means it's also very, very high tech, and equipment includes Night Vision and Vision Assist including daytime and night-time Wildlife & Pedestrian warning; Alertness Assistant; a 4-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 7x3 High-Resolution Head-Up Display, Wi-Fi hotspot, and of course the latest Navigation and Entertainment Systems.

All of that, and much of the interior, is lifted from the Phantom, so anyone who's driven a recent Rolls will instantly recognise the luxurious interior. Where things get a bit different is in the back.

You can choose from two types of rear seat - the 'Lounge' layout is a three-person bench seat, that electrically split-folds and reclines. Rolls calls this the practical option. Those seeking a little more comfort should go for the individual rear seat setup, which uses two huge armchairs separated by a large centre console, in which you'll find a decanter, crystal glasses and a fridge.

That's not the interesting bit, though. That comes when you get to the boot. Rolls has fitted the Cullinan with a huge glass divider that separates the main cabin from the boot, claiming it to be the first 'three-box' SUV ever. That divider keeps out the noise, keeps in the heat (or the air conditioning, depending on what the outside temperature is like) and keeps your luggage separate from you, which Rolls says is in keeping with classical first class travel.

The boot itself isn't massive - 560-600 litres, with an adjustable floor to create a flat-loading space, but it is accessed by a big two-piece electric tailgate Rolls-Royce calls 'The Clam.' Open 'The Clam' and you can optionally have a fold-out pair of hugely luxurious seats, so that you can sit comfortably as you admire the view, or watch your racehorse coming in first (delete as applicable).

Rolls will also offer bespoke 'Recreation Modules' - fitted drawers and storage compartments, which can be easily swapped over or removed, that allow you to neatly pack away your gear for fishing, hiking, drone-flying, falconry - you name it.

How much?

No official prices yet, but it's not going to be cheap. Think about the same price as a house. A nice house. A big nice house.

Blenheim Palace?

Yup, that sounds about right.

Neil Briscoe - 10 May 2018

Earlier articles featuring 2018 Rolls-Royce Cullinan

2018-02-13: Rolls confirms Cullinan name for new SUV

2019 Rolls-Royce Cullinan. Image by Rolls-Royce.2019 Rolls-Royce Cullinan. Image by Rolls-Royce.2019 Rolls-Royce Cullinan. Image by Rolls-Royce.2019 Rolls-Royce Cullinan. Image by Rolls-Royce.2019 Rolls-Royce Cullinan. Image by Rolls-Royce.

2019 Rolls-Royce Cullinan. Image by Rolls-Royce.2019 Rolls-Royce Cullinan. Image by Rolls-Royce.2019 Rolls-Royce Cullinan. Image by Rolls-Royce.2019 Rolls-Royce Cullinan. Image by Rolls-Royce.2019 Rolls-Royce Cullinan. Image by Rolls-Royce.    - Rolls-Royce road tests
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