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Meet The Rolls-Royce Cullinan Ultra-Luxury SUV: Epic In Every Way

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"Effortless, everywhere," the ultra-luxury SUV world has a new king.

Today marks an important new chapter in the history of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. The British automaker is normally associated with ultra-luxurious limos, but now Rolls-Royce is embarking on its first foray into the SUV market with the highly-anticipated Cullinan - and it looks set to redefine the luxury SUV segment. First announced back in 2015, the Cullinan lives up to its name as "The Rolls-Royce of SUVs," combining the opulence the automaker is renowned for with performance and off-road prowess to battle the Bentley Bentayga.

It's named after the largest diamond ever discovered which now resides in the British Crown Jewels. Rolls-Royce describes the Cullinan as an "all-terrain, high-bodied car that makes the idea of authentic, luxury off-road travel a reality for the first time". Following the eighth-generation Phantom, the Rolls-Royce Cullinan is the second model to be built on the automaker's new aluminum 'Architecture of Luxury' platform. Like the Phantom, at the SUV's heart is a twin-turbo 6.75-liter V12 engine, which has been reworked to produce 563 horsepower and 627 lb-ft of peak torque at 1,600 rpm.

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Unsurprisingly, the 0-62 mph time has not been disclosed, but Rolls-Royce claims the Cullinan will hit a limited top speed of 155 mph. It may be super-luxurious, but Rolls-Royce also claims the Cullinan is a very capable off-roader. Engineers have created a new drivetrain that ensures Rolls-Royce's famed 'Magic Carpet Ride' experience isn't sacrificed off-road. The existing air suspension system has been re-engineered and features larger air struts with more air volume and stronger drive and prop shafts. There's a new double-wishbone front axle and five--link rear axle, and the new all-wheel drive system also comes with a special 'Everywhere' button.

When engaged, all 627 lb-ft of torque is sent to the wheels, allowing the Cullinan to "glide" effortlessly over any terrain, from gravel and wet grass, to mud, snow or sand. An active damper adjustment system also uses an air compressor to actively push down any wheel it detects losing traction. Measuring 210 inches long, 85 inches wide, 72 inches tall and riding on a wheelbase almost 130 inches long, the Cullinan is gargantuan, and is even bigger than the Bentley Bentayga. Consequently, it weighs a substantial 5,846 pounds. Inside, the cabin is as grandiose and opulent as you would expect – just look at those sumptuous seats.

The steering wheel is thicker and smaller than other Rolls Royces and the central infotainment screen is now touch sensitive for the first time. Two configurations are available for the rear passenger seats, including a normal bench (Lounge Seats) and a more luxurious two-seat setup (Individual Seats). There's also a deployable glass partition that isolates the cabin from the luggage compartment allowing passengers to travel in class-leading silence. The sealed cabin created by the glass partition wall even ensures occupants remain in the optimum temperature, even when the luggage compartment is open. Prices start at $325,000 – and that's before you start exploring the extensive options list.