Rolls-Royce Cullinan Review
Car Tested: 2020 Rolls-Royce Cullinan Black Badge; Road Test No. 1179; Test Location: Dubai
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 9 crores
Rolls-Royce’s first SUV delivers on every promise and has set a new benchmark in the ultra-luxury performance SUV space
For over a century, Rolls-Royce has been making cars fit for the uber-rich. The company has a rich history of making some of the world’s best sedans, coupes and cabriolets. This brand, which prefers to do things in a more traditional way, did not have an SUV all this while. However, the luxury SUV wave meant that Rolls-Royce had to take notice and give their customers a versatile car that can take them to their ski resort and pull in front of the Windsor castle with equal ease. The Cullinan is Rolls’ answer to the ever-growing world of mega-expensive SUVs and we find out if it deserves to wear the flying lady.
Motor Quest: The segment of super-luxury SUVs is relatively new. Bentley started it with the Bentyaga and the other manufacturers were very quick to follow. Brands which we never thought would make an SUV have one in their line-up. Lamborghini Urus, Maserati Levante and the recently unveiled Aston Martin DBX are some examples. Rolls-Royce launched the Cullinan in 2018 having based their first-ever SUV on the Phantom’s ‘Architecture of Luxury’ platform. The Cullinan was quick to earn the tag of being the most expensive series production SUV in the world. The Cullinan also happens to be the first Rolls-Royce to feature an all-wheel-drive system. The Cullinan has proved to be an incredibly successful product helping the company reach its highest-ever sales in 2019.
Exteriors – The Cullinan we had was the sportier Black Badge variant and right away the SUV leaves one with mixed feelings. The front of the car looks a bit meek and does not have the presence of the Phantom. We suspect the drooping headlight design could be the reason. However, you do get all the traditional Rolls elements like the polished Parthenon grille and of course the Spirit of Ecstasy. The Black Badge features those elements in black. Rich chrome embellishments on the standard Cullinan does make it feel expensive. However, we would’ve liked to see that bossy, slightly aloof look that most Rolls-Royce cars possess.
This special edition of the Cullinan called the Black Badge has most of its chrome elements blackened out
The Cullinan is huge and the street presence is felt as a result. The boxy silhouette makes it look very discreet and some have even compared it to London’s Black Cab. But the towering height, long wheelbase and big wheels give this the SUV stance one expects. The hinged door mechanism is a typical Rolls trade-off and we actually like how the side isn’t flooded with details. Some owners will find the minimalistic design tasteful. We loved the beautifully styled alloys with red callipers on our test car. The rear is probably the car’s best angle where it looks simple but expensive. The boot bulges in between before joining itself seamlessly with the bumpers. There are more black elements found here and the boot features a split-opening mechanism.
There is not much to discuss about the car’s design. Rolls-Royce has, to an extent stayed true to their design language and the Black Badge does make things interesting. A more aggressive front would’ve complimented well with the tremendous presence that the car otherwise has.