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The new, $325,000 Rolls-Royce Cullinan was just revealed, and it is, as expected, something else.
The storied British ultraluxury marque would not be satisfied with a plebian moniker like “SUV” for its first all-weather capable behemoth—especially one named after one of the world’s largest diamonds—so it created its own lexicon, referring to the massive conveyance as a “High-Riding Vehicle.”
If this sounds a bit haughty, that’s probably intentional. The Cullinan is the most expensive vehicle in an emerging category of six-figure sport utes that will soon include offerings from Lamborghini, Aston Martin, Bentley, and Mercedes.
Its imposing size and stature bring an extreme sense of presence because the vehicle not only features bold, upright styling and an impossibly potent twin-turbocharged 12-cylinder engine but also hosts classic Rolls-Royce design cues like the upright Parthenon grille, the winged Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament, center-opening “coach” doors, and a bustle-backed rear.
But this vehicle has also been “tested to destruction” in the most extreme locations on earth to ensure that it will have intense capability in everything from desert dunes to arctic ice.
Inside, there are all of the typical coddling Rolls features as well—acres of wood, leather, and metal—but adjusted for all-weather versatility and the holding of cargo. Materials are typically top-notch but enhanced to be water-, stain-, and scuff-resistant.
You can drive the Cullinan yourself, but as with many Rolls-Royces, the rear compartment is the premier location. There are two configurations available back there: a bench seat for three people or a pair of reclining thrones with a chilling box and champagne flute holster between them. Both setups position rear occupants higher than those in the front seat, so they can see above their chauffeur and out the expansive windshield.
Both configurations have heating elements in the armrests and the seats and on the inside of the rear roof pillar. And in both, the cargo area can be sealed off by glass, so your luggage doesn’t intrude on your enjoyment. An opening hatch won’t affect the climate-controlled cabin.
Speaking of the hatch, a pair of sliding event seats can be integrated into the drop-down portion of the rear portal to allow for spectating or picnicking at events. Though the Cullinan is an event in itself.