From very first view Cullinan is a powerful and assertive design, with the V-shape of the bonnet standing well proud of the front wings and leading towards the familiar Palladian Rolls-Royce grille topped by the Spirit of Ecstasy. It shares a close resemblance to the front of the new Phantom, with which it shares body architecture, but the treatment of the front bumper and air intakes gives a more rugged, warrior-like face. The large passenger compartment leads to a fastback split tailgate with a vestigial ‘boot’ or bustle, which Rolls-Royce calls a ‘D-back’ format.
Inside, driver and passengers enter a compartment of flawless luxury, with a completely flat floor and Goodwood’s hand-craftsmanship throughout. Upon touching the start button, Cullinan raises up by 40mm, giving a commanding view on the move without requiring occupants to climb up to enter the cabin. The driver’s instrument panel is now fully digital, with beautifully designed virtual needles, and there’s a new touch-sensitive central instrument screen to allow access to infotainment, vehicle set-up and map views.
For the rear compartment, owners can choose between lounge seating and individual. Lounge seating can accommodate three abreast and will be the choice of family owners, while the individual option includes two seats separated by a fixed rear centre console drinks cabinet with Rolls-Royce whisky glasses and decanter, champagne flutes and refrigerator. Whichever format is chosen, the rear passengers sit higher than those in front to enjoy the view from Cullinan’s large side windows and panoramic glass roof.
Further distinguishing Cullinan from mere luxury SUVs, the passenger compartment is separated from the luggage area by a glass screen. The occupants of a Rolls-Royce thus do not travel in the same space as their luggage; the partition reduces noise and has the further benefit that when the tailgate is open the passenger compartment remains at the optimum temperature, whatever the outside conditions.