Launched into the Nigerian market about two years ago, the first-ever Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) from the house of Rolls Royce (RR), the Cullinan SUV, was released, recently, to the Nigerian motoring press for a test drive in Lagos, courtesy of Coscharis Motors Plc, Nigeria’s exclusive representative of Rolls Royce.
Motoring World’s Lagos Bureau Chief, ROTIMI ASHER, one of the selected Motoring Journalists, who attended the Ride-and-Drive media event held at Eko Atlantic City, Victoria Island, Lagos described the car as the pinnacle of the SUV universe.
Before the media test-drive began, Mr. Abiona Babarinde Coscharis Group’s General Manager, Corporate Communications, made it clear that the event was held to enable the nation’s motoring journalists to have a taste and feel of the Cullinan. Of course, they did.
So, how does it feel driving or riding in a Cullinan?
Before answering this question, it is important to note this: RR Cullinan SUV is unlike any other SUV on the planet. Aside from a new license to conquer all terrains, none of the conservative owner-pampering features found in all RR is missing in the Cullinan SUV, which confirms that the Cullinan carries the entire luxurious and top-notch DNA of Rolls Royce. What you get from the Cullinan is an added freedom to conquer beyond the city jungle.
Second, although Rolls Royce is traditionally customized for the owner’s needs, the test-driven Cullinan SUV comes with an arctic white exterior and a silver satin bonnet finish.
Styling: At first sight, you can’t miss the fact that Cullinan’s lines and engineering portray its lineage. Its style and comfort are RR at its utmost. Its pedigree shines through the styling, the elegance and the class.
Its usual imposing and intimidating grill plays a host to the Spirit of Ecstasy traditionally associated with Rolls Royce cars.
Its rear passenger door is still hinged from the rear, making it easy for a chauffeur to step out and open the door for the super-rich owner. Dimension-wise, the Cullinan is 210 inches long, 79 inches wide, 72.2 inches tall with a wheelbase of 130inches and an unlading weight of 2660kg.
Power: Unlike other luxury brands, Rolls Royce cars are traditionally powered with the brawny 6.75L twin-turbo V12 engine, which delivers an amazing 563hp and 627lb-ft of torque at 5000 rpm.
Mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission, RR’s only powerhouse is one of the features that had made it an off-roader waiting to happen, long before the birth of Cullinan. Rolls Royce’s engine was engineered with what in the engineering parlance known as ‘Quality Reserve’. That is what is under the hood of the Cullinan SUV.
Comfort and Space: Aside from details like carriage doors for easy entry and exit with inbuilt umbrellas, Cullinan’s interior is adorned with real-wood veneers and other magnificent finishes, which usually come with the RR cars.
Like its saloon siblings, it is traditionally generous with headroom, legroom and shoulder room. And for the owner’s customary rear pavilion, all the known comforts remain. What has been added is a higher ground clearance, which translates to an elevated pavilion. There are also enlarged side windows and a panoramic glass roof, both of which, for the owner, means a more pleasant and better viewing of the outside world.
Ride and handling: Because the Cullinan is built on the latest self-leveling Rolls-Royce air suspension, which calculates by the second, varying the shock-absorber system to suit the wheels’ precise conditions, the car, while on motion, exhibits fluidity and luxury, seasoned with sportiness.
Although capable of 250 km/hour, due to Nigeria’s speed limit and indeed the test-drive’s location, the speed claim could not be tested. However, what was proven is Cullinan’s capability to hit a speed of 100 km/hour in a matter of 5.2 seconds from take-off.
Fuel Economy: The Cullinan, like its siblings, is quite economical for its size and weight. Depending on the traffic situation, it covers 100 kilometer with only 21.9 – 22.4 litres of fuel in urban terrain. And on a highway or extra-urban setting, it covers the same distance with less (10.9-litre -11.0-liter).
Though a large and heavy car, Cullinan’s steering is not heavy but gentle, a characteristic that has come with Rolls Royce for decades, making it easy to go through a corner with agility and without unwanted body roll. What is in a name? Cullinan is purely a Rolls Royce.
Equipment: As standard, the SUV, among others, comes with equipment like night vision, wildlife and pedestrian crossing warnings, a cutting-edge 7×3 HD head-up display for the driver navigating the most challenging off-road terrain.
Last Words: The first-ever SUV from the house of Rolls Royce has subtracted nothing from the ruggedness as well as luxury, quality, comfort and safety features that the British iconic luxury brand has maintained for over 100 years. For the super-rich, the Cullinan SUV simply means an extension of freedom to navigate through more difficult terrains, if the owner finds the need.
Now that you know what the Cullinan is, what then isn’t it?
Answer: It is unlike any other SUV on the planet. Cullinan SUV is simply a Rolls Royce with more freedom. It has got more pedigree than Crufts
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