Rolls-Royce reveals the world’s most luxurious 4×4

This is the new Rolls-Royce Cullinan and it is unquestionably the most luxurious 4×4 to hit the market – at least until Aston Martin gets in on the act.

The iconic British marque says its first purpose-built sports utility vehicle is inspired by Lawrence of Arabia’s military-readied Roller – although it has undoubtedly been designed with the super-rich in mind – as it curtsies to let you in and deploys leather-bound picnic chairs so you can enjoy equestrian events without ever leaving the vehicle.

However, Rolls-Royce will face competition in three years’ time, as fellow British brand Aston Martin has confirmed it will also make its first SUV in 2021 – and that will only come with electric power.

Rolls-Royce is outright refusing to call it an SUV, instead referring to the all-new enormous machine as a ‘high-bodied car’.

That doesn’t mean it can’t go off the beaten track, though.

It’s not like the famed British marque doesn’t have previous when it comes to creating robust all-terrain models – its highly-engineered cars have been used off-road throughout the firm’s 114-year history by the British army and Indian maharajahs, as well as in desert campaigns by Lawrence of Arabia who enthused that ‘A Rolls in the desert is above rubies’.

And this is a seriously high-rech car.

Thomas Edward Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) driving through Damascus in his Rolls-Royce armoured car named Blue Mist in October 1918Thomas Edward Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) driving through Damascus in his Rolls-Royce armoured car named Blue Mist in October 1918
No slouch: The Rolls-Royce Cullinan uses a 6.75-litre twin-turbo V12 engine producing 563bhp and with a top speed that's limited to 155mph. It will be able to hit 62mph from rest in around 5 seconds
The tougher example - aimed at those with plenty of cash and kids to transport - will be a five-seater
The more luxurious model will have just two rear-chairs that look like they've been pulled from a private jet
Champagne on ice: Owners will be able to relax in the back with a bottle of bubbly that can be stored in a chilled fridge in the centre console and consumed via a pair of Rolls-Royce flutes that appear from a sliding drawer

For those with bags of cash and a bevy of offspring, there’s a flexible five-seat model with a 600-litre boot that can be extended to 1930 litres with the second-row backrests folded flat.

And for VIPs, captains of industry and monarchs on the move, Rolls-Royce has created a statelier four-seater with two ‘pavilion’ chairs in the back.

These have been fixed in a raised grandstand position and the privacy side windows – inspired by those fitted to private jets – allow the chauffeured owner to wave to an adoring crowd if the event requires it or block them out for complete privacy.

And to ensure they’re relaxed at all times, the two executive airline-style rear seats flank a fixed centre console incorporating a drinks cabinet, Rolls-Royce whisky glasses and decanter, champagne flutes and a cool box to chill your bottles.

Even the rear seats have been angled slightly towards each other to allow the two rear occupants to talk to one another without straining their necks.

To make getting in and out of the high-riding car easier too, Cullinan can curtsy by lowering 40mm (one-and-a-half inches) when the driver clicks the unlock button or touches the door handle sensor for keyless entry. It then rises back up when the vehicle’s ‘Start’ button is pressed.

To protect skirts and trouser legs from getting dirty when getting in and out of the giant off-roader, the front and rear coach doors wrap low under the sill to ensure dirt remains on the outside of the door, not on the inner sill itself and in touching distance of fine garments.

Two versions will be available. This is the first -a hardened, go-anywhere, model designed to cope with plenty of trips off the tarmac
The second Cullinan variation will be somewhat statlier and crafted for VIPs

Behemoth: It measures in at 5.3 metres long, 2.2 metres wide and 1.8 metres high and tips the scales at 2.66 tonnes

One of the most-selected options is likely to be the pop-out ‘viewing suite’ in the boot.

Two chairs and a table emerge from beneath the boot floor at the push of a button to offer the best seats in the house for those attending the races, polo or school sports days. There are also screens just in case you want to catch up on your favourite shows while under the cover of a boot lid.

And just like the rival Bentley Bentayga, Rolls-Royce will even handcraft special modules and suites for the boot along with bespoke equipment hampers for whatever leisure activity you enjoy most, be it fly-fishing, shooting, rock-climbing, snow-boarding, falconry, drone-racing or photography.

Despite stretching some 17 feet and six inches in length, six feet high, and weighing more than 2.6 tons, it won’t be a slouch.

That’s because it’s powered by a 6.75-litre twin-turbo V12 engine developing 563bhp – equivalent to around six Ford Fiestas – that can propel it from rest to 62mph in five seconds.

Foot to the floor and completely flat out, this breeze-block on wheels has a top speed that’s electronically limited to 155mph.

And it should even be usable when owners return to the city from a weekend of tackling mountain sides and sand dunes as it has a relatively nimble turning circle of 13.23 metres.

Rolls-Royce has chosen to remain on brand by keeping a 'coach door' element
The rear door hinged at the back to make it easier to get in and out of the rear

Inside Cullinan, the driver enjoys a hand-crafted luxury cockpit-style dashboard with digital dials and entirely metal or glass switches

The car the curtsies: To make sure it's easy and clean to get in and out of the Cullinan, it will curtsy by dropping down 40mm to make the step into the back less of a distance and also has specially crafted door sill that will protect your trousers and skirts from dirt

Gadgetry prepares the suspension for any potholes ahead, with a stereo camera system integrated into windscreen that reads the asphalt for bumps and craters and makes adjustments to the chassis so the biggest ripple in the tarmac can’t be felt by those inside.

Sat-nav aided transmission linked to the eight-speed automatic gearbox also prepares the car in advance for upcoming bends so no lurches or surges are experienced by passengers when the driver shifts through the gears.

To hone its composure on all terrains, Rolls-Royce has put it through its paces on the sands of Africa and the Middle East, the canyons and the mountains of North America, the frozen snow and ice of the Arctic Circle, and the rugged glens of Highlands of Scotland.

Thirsty work: The Cullinan will gulp down a gallon of unleaded every 18.8 miles and emit an environmentalist-crippling 341 grams of carbon dioxide every kilometre
Owners will have an almost endless choice of finishes for both the interior and exterior
These shots show just how different you can make the cabin look with different leathers and dashboard panels

'Tested to destruction': hone its composure on all terrains, Rolls-Royce has put it through its paces on the sands of Africa and the Middle East, the canyons and the mountains of North America, the frozen snow and ice of the Arctic Circle, and the rugged glens of Highlands of Scotland

To ford streams it even has a wading depth of 21.2 inches (540mm), though that’s less than the 900mm boasted by the Land Rover Discovery.

Flood-friendly SUV: To ford streams it even has a wading depth of 21.2 inches (540mm), though that’s less than the 900mm boasted by the Land Rover Discovery

Even the switches in the centre console are beautifully crafted. This panel  houses the Spirit of Ecstasy controller dial, an ‘Everywhere’ off-road terrain button, a hill descent control switch and a touch-sensitive central information screen

Will it fit in my garage?

Rolls-Royce Cullinan

Style: Rolls-Royce’s first Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) 4X4/ ‘all terrain high-bodied car’

Price: from £250,000

Engine: 6.75 litre twin-turbo V12

Power: 563bhp

Top speed: 155mph (limited)

Acceleration 0 to 62 mph: 5 seconds

Fuel consumption: 18.8mpg

Wading depth: 540mm (21.2 inches/1ft 9 inches)

Doors: 4 (plus rear tailgate) – rear coach doors open outwards from hinges at the back

Seats: 4 or 5 depending on style (Magma Red 5, Darkest Tungsten 4)

Length: 5341mm (210 inches/17ft 6 inches)

Width: 2164mm (85inches /7ft 1 inch)

Height: 1835mm (72 inches/6ft )

Wheelbase: 3295mm (130 inches/10ft 10 inches)

Turning circle: 13.23m

Boot volume: 600 litres (with privacy glass cover removed) and up to 1930 litres with rear seats folded down

Weight: 2660kg/ 2.66 tonnes (metric)/5864lbs/2.62 imperial ton 

Wheels: 22 inch

Inside Cullinan, the driver enjoys a hand-crafted luxury cockpit-style dashboard with digital dials and entirely metal or glass switches, including the centre console panel that houses the Spirit of Ecstasy controller dial, an ‘Everywhere’ off-road terrain button, a hill descent control switch and a touch-sensitive central information screen.

For the utmost comfort, the seats are all heated, as are the arm-rests and the centre console lid.

It’s crammed with more useful and practical tech too.

There are five USB ports, an in-car Wi-Fi hotspot and wireless charging for phones at the front.

There is also a high-resolution head-up display equipped with the latest navigation and entertainment systems.

Saferty features include a driver alertness warning, a four-camera driver assistance system with panoramic and all-round visibility and helicopter view, night vision, pedestrian and wildlife warnings, active cruise control, collision, cross-traffic warning, and lane departure and lane change warning.

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