It’s opulent, costs as much as a house and just about every bit of it can be personalized.
The only drawback: the average person will have to take out a second mortgage to own one.
British carmaker Rolls-Royce teased for years that it was entering the ultra-competitive sport-utility vehicle market, and today it officially revealed the Cullinan, its first-ever SUV with a (starting) price tag of $325,000.
Like Rolls-Royce’s four other models, the Cullinan, named after the largest diamond ever discovered, takes extreme luxury to yet a new level.
The Cullinan’s grille was constructed from hand-polished stainless steel. A glass partition separates the passenger cabin from the luggage compartment, “creating an inner ecosystem for the occupants,” according to the company. There are heated front door armrests and rear side armrests. The entire backrest panel was crafted from a single piece of leather.
The company has seen “tremendous” demand for the Cullinan, a spokesman for the iconic brand said. About 2,000 units will be produced in 2019 and it will incontrovertibly become the new shiny toy for the world’s oligarchs, royals and the uber-rich. Rolls-Royces are not meant for the plebeian, of course.
Owners of these majestic cars rarely drive them -- the chauffeur or butler does. The Cullinan, however, could be the first Rolls-Royce that puts owners in the driver’s seat, according to Road & Track Editor-in-Chief Kim Wolfkill.
“It’s a capable car,” he told ABC News. “Rolls-Royce didn’t need an SUV, but it will certainly be good for business. There are people out there with this kind of money. It’s about prestige.”
Until today the Bentley Bentayga previously held the title as the world’s “most luxurious SUV.” At $229,000 it seems like a downright bargain compared to the Cullinan. But the Bentayga does not allow its occupants “to descend without dirtying their trouser legs [when] both front and rear coach cars wrap low under the sill, ensuring that all dirt remains on the outside of the door,” as the Cullinan reportedly can.
Rolls-Royce says this all-terrain vehicle, with a 6.75 liter twin-turbo V12 engine and top speed of 155 mph, has tackled every obstacle put in its path: gravel, wet grass, mud, deep snow, sand and rough track. It can even ford streams.
“Put simply, what makes the car great on-road makes the car great off-road,” according to Caroline Krismer, engineering product leader for Cullinan.
Will a Cullinan owner actually take it off-roading? Highly unlikely. What’s more important to Cullinan buyers are the accoutrements and “coddling” experience, said Wolfkill.
“[Rolls-Royce] customers are used to the best of everything,” he noted. “These vehicles are a little over the top.”
Jeremy Acevedo of Edmunds called the Cullinan the “perfect vehicle” for today’s climate.
“America's appetite for SUVs continues to boom, and adding SUVs to lineups throughout the luxury and exotic segment has been a tried and true formula for brands to add incremental sales,” he said. “Cars might be the first thing we think of when we think luxury, but the reality is that SUVs make up the majority of luxury sales.”
Rolls-Royce proudly asserts that “luxury travel is now effortless, everywhere” with the Cullinan. Especially for the 1 percent.