Rolls-Royce Cullinan: style and substance

Jemima Wilson, Brummell’s style editor – and editor of Hurlingham Polo Magazine – puts Rolls-Royce’s SUV through its paces. The verdict? Impressive off-road capabilities, stylish design and superlative comfort

Motoring 15 Sep 2021

Rolls-Royce Cullinan
Test driving the Rolls-Royce Cullinan
Jemima Wilson tries out Rolls-Royce's new SUV

Creating a vehicle that’s stylish and sophisticated enough to turn heads at glamorous events, yet resilient and robust enough for demanding rural pursuits is no mean feat.

Yet the Cullinan, the first all-wheel drive SUV by Rolls-Royce, has pushed the boundaries of luxury, producing a car that not only oozes presence and panache in ways only a Rolls-Royce can, but also demonstrates remarkable power and precision off road – all the while remaining an effortlessly smooth drive for its occupants.

Indeed, if anyone doubted the Cullinan’s ability to smoothly traverse the toughest terrains, the car was tested to destruction over 12,000 miles, in partnership with National Geographic, covering three continents from Scottish Highlands and Austrian mountains to Arabian deserts – all negotiated with ease.

Arrive in style in a Rolls-Royce Cullinan
Arrive in style in a Rolls-Royce Cullinan

Launched in 2018, the indestructible design, combined with the scintillating aesthetics of the Cullinan make the choice of moniker particularly fitting. The Cullinan diamond, discovered in 1905, is the largest rough diamond ever found, weighing 3,106 metric carats. With an extraordinary blue-white colour and exceptional clarity, it was the most celebrated diamond in the world, and is now among the British Crown Jewels.

As one would expect from Rolls-Royce, the bespoke features truly set this model apart, ensuring clients are fully equipped to undertake any adventure in sublime comfort. What’s more, it’s powered by a 6.75 litre twin turbo-charged V12 engine, capable of 0-60mph in 5.1 seconds, with a top speed of 155mph. Not bad for a model that weighs in at over 2.5 tonnes!

As a polo player and follower of the sport, the Cullinan meets all my requirements for arriving in style, setting up for a seamless game, and facilitating the meet-ups with friends afterwards. Not only can it handle any ground conditions – even after heavy rainfall, navigating and parking in a wet, sticky field was light work – the spacious rear-boot compartment makes it ideal for transporting long or large items such as polo mallets and other equipment, as the boot floor can be raised electronically to meet the seat base, allowing easy loading and unloading for longer items. This is also a useful feature for those transporting kit for other equestrian disciplines, or for fly fishing or shooting equipment – plus there’s an electronic tow hitch, should you wish to tow your own trailer.

After playing in a polo game, the Hosting Service housed in the boot caters for up to eight people, complete with glassware and all the essential kit needed to create and serve a selection of refreshing drinks. With the press of a button, the compartment slides out to reveal elegant highball glasses (adorned with the discreet Rolls-Royce monogram) and wooden cutting boards, crafted from the highest quality American walnut – sure to impress even the most discerning guests. And for the best vantage point to watch the game, the Viewing Suite provides two rear-facing seats, deployed on either side of a cocktail table.

There is no doubt that the Cullinan’s eye-catching looks command attention wherever it goes – in the countryside or in the city – and at the prestigious Cowdray Gold Cup Polo Final, the car made a striking statement, amassing many admirers. While exterior and interior colour options can be configured to client’s preferences, a submariner blue exterior, with arctic white and navy-blue interior and silver birch veneer, is an extremely chic combination.

Inside, the expertise of Rolls-Royce as one of the world’s most revered and respected car marques really comes into its own, with signature details such as the shooting star headliner, ‘RR’ monogram on headrests, and contrast seat piping, all handcrafted in its Goodwood factory in the UK. Electronic details, such the Spirit of Ecstasy emerging and retracting automatically as the ignition is turned on and off; the doors, which close lightly with just a gentle stroke of the handle, and the sumptuous front massage seats all add to the graceful engineering and ergonomic experience.

And what of the assumption that Rolls-Royce cars are made to be chauffeur-driven? Despite its imposing proportions, the Cullinan is truly intuitive, effortless and exciting to drive yourself, and your friends and family, anywhere and everywhere.