A look at the first-ever Rolls-Royce SUV – named after a South African diamond


Rolls-Royce has shown-off its $325,000 Cullinan SUV ahead of its official launch in January.

The SUV is powered by a 6.75 litre twin-turbo V12 Rolls-Royce engine, which delivers 563bhp/420kW and 850Nm of torque to the all-new all-wheel drive, all-wheel steer system.

Rolls-Royce’s first-ever SUV also has special significance to the South African market because it is named after the world-famous Cullinan diamond – discovered by mine superintendent Frederick Wells in 1905.

The 3,106-carat stone was named after Sir Thomas Cullinan, the owner of the diamond mine in which it was found.

The vehicle is expected to be sold in South Africa, competing with the likes of the Lamborghini Urus (R3.5 million) and Bentley Bentayga (R4 million), however, local pricing has yet to be announced.


The shift to an SUV

In an interview with Bloomberg, Torsten Müller-Otvös, Rolls-Royce’s longtime CEO, said it was important that the Cullinan could handle both difficult terrain and ‘trips to the Opera’.

“First of all, you don’t need to be convinced that our cars drive perfect on roads, flat on land. That’s given,” he said.

“That’s the Rolls-Royce brand promise. And Cullinan delivers that in perfection. But of course we wanted to showcase to you what the car is capable of. We sent all the test cars all over the world, into the desert, into the mountains, just to showcase what the car is capable of and what it can deliver, so that customers also understand the car is a true SUV.”

Müller-Otvös added that he expects a fair number of customers to cross over from other brands by buying a Cullinan.

“We see that already today in our order books. And I’m also positively surprised by our loyal clients who are adding Cullinan into their existing garage today just for the pure sake that this car is convincing, size-wise.”

He added that Cullinan owners will likely be younger than those who typically purchase Rolls-Royce’s vehicles.

“Cullinan buyers will be younger customers, that’s for sure. Our youngest car in the portfolio is Wraith, particularly in the Black Badge edition, followed by Dawn. I think Cullinan will sit in that league of average age, around 40.

“We also foresee still the ongoing trend that ultra-high net worth individuals are getting younger. That will stay on for a number of years.”

Despite this younger user base, Müller-Otvös said that the company has no immediate plans to make an electric version of the Cullinan.

“There is an electric future for Rolls-Royce. We have not made our plan about what comes first, and what comes when, but we know that we will go full electric. We will not do hybrids or whatever. Our proposition is full electric. It will come in the next decade, step by step by step,” he said.

“But I can also tell you we will stick with our beloved 12-cylinder as long as we can.”


Photo Credit – Auto Trader

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