It is the first Rolls-Royce with four-wheel drive, foldable bench seats and a rear windscreen wiper. Oh, and also its first SUV. We check out how the Cullinan breaks the mould.

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It is the first Rolls-Royce with four-wheel drive, foldable bench seats and a rear windscreen wiper. Oh, and also its first SUV. We check out how the Cullinan breaks the mould.



It is easy to engineer a car to not cause you to spill your champagne on Knightsbridge; much harder to contain the Cristal within its flute on the rugged Rubicon Trail. For this task, Rolls-Royce’s boffins thoroughly rethought the Cullinan’s drivetrain. The air struts in the air suspension has been beefed up to add more cushioning, and a computer makes millions of calculations per second to account for ruts and rocks. The shocks also actively push a wheel into the ground, should it detect a loss in traction in that corner.

You give up nothing by going off-road. Some traditions do not change; the Cullinan retains the marque’s signature coach doors for easier egress (and, yes, the doors still reveal that clever hidden umbrella when they open). Inside the cabin, typical RollsRoyce touches such as seats and fascia clad in the best leather remain, and the dash is similarly adorned with the familiar bookmatched wood veneer. Just wipe down your grubby boots before you enter, won’t ya?
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03 USB-C

A small but noteworthy point: Rolls has supplied five charging ports in the Cullinan – in the latest USB-C flavour. The ditching of “legacy” USB Type A sockets, which virtually all new cars still come with for backward compatibility, proves that the manufacturer is not just paying lip service when it says that it hopes to capture a younger generation of one-percenters who would naturally not be caught dead with last year’s technology.


While picking the fixed individual rear seats over the standard foldable bench appears to miss the point of an SUV, Rolls-Royce customers are unlikely to ferry their Ikea flatpack furniture in their Cullinan anyway. Unless they have a wicked sense of humour. The benefit of the former option, besides the fixed centre console for the drinks cabinet, is the glass partition that isolates the cabin from the luggage compartment. That means the bellhops can take their time to load your bags, without polluting your space with exhaust fumes.


While you could already fit a picnic hamper in the trunk of your Rolls-Royce, the Cullinan takes the concept further. It offers interchangeable trays called Recreation Modules, which house all the equipment specific to your interest, be it drone racing, fly fishing or photography. The motorised drawers are made by commission at the RollsRoyce Bespoke Collective, so expect a perfect fit for all your paraphernalia.

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If the “standard” 488 Spider is not rapid enough, meet its hardcore sibling, the 488 Pista Spider. The inserted word means “track” in Italian, which hints to the Pista’s habitat. Liberal application of lighter materials such as carbon fibre and aluminium has shaved off so much mass that its coupe counterpart ends up astonishingly heavier. Zero to 200kmh arrives in eight seconds – faster than most cars can reach 0-100. Hair-raising performance indeed, roof down or up.
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Here is one for the Minotti coffee table. Bentley Motors teams up with specialist publisher Opus to create a limited edition tome to fete the luxury carmaker’s centenary. Out in all good bookstores next year, the volume chronicles the marque’s historical success and offers a glimpse of its future through interviews with insiders. Available in three editions, the “Mulliner” version weighs 30kg, with rare pictures showcased on gatefold pages that extend 2m across, when unfurled.
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Fun fact: Half of all Land Rover drivers own canines. So to make travelling in the load space as comfy as riding up front, the SUV-maker offers premium add-ons to pamper Man’s best friend – among others, a quilted liner for Fifi to rest her tired body on; an extensible access ramp if her hips are too arthritic to make the hop; a portable rinse system for washing her muddy paws after a walkie; or a spill-resistant water bowl that leaves her hydrated regardless of how badly you drive.