Cullinan – The name of the largest gem-quality rough diamond to ever be unearthed from this planet. Found in South Africa on January 26th 1905, after it was discovered Cullinan produced various large stones, the two biggest can be seen in the Crown Jewels.
So you can see it’s a fitting name for 2.6 tons of Goodwood’s finest craftsmanship. With the keys in hand, I took Rolls Royce’s latest motor car for a cross country trip to the Wolds of Lincolnshire and back.
Setting eyes on the Cullinan in the metal for the first time and its sheer size is what hits you. It measures in shorter than a Ghost, but due to its loftiness, it seems so much bigger. Park next to a Range Rover and its owner will soon develop an inadequacy complex.
The scale of this great diamond is also more pronounced when at the helm, the long bonnet slopes out in front of you with the Spirit Of Ecstasy marking the boundary, you peer down on everyone. SUV’s are dwarfed, city cars eaten up below the front wings and only lorries can gaze down on you from up high.
This truly is grand motoring, in the way that I can only imagine large motor cars were to the average road user in the early 1900’s.
Wafting along with the 6.75 litre V12 staying perfectly silent, the Cullinan still motors when needed. There are 564 horses and a massive 850 Nm of torque below your right foot, that shoves this rare gem to 60 in 5 seconds flat, that’s the same time as a Type-R Honda Civic.
Speed is where you soon realise the size of this Roller, coming into a corner you instinctively brake because the speed/height combo makes you feel like it’s too fast. Getting a hustle on down a country lane can be a frightful experience due to its sheer size.
Outside, passersby crane their necks to see who commands this opulent carriage, others look at it and shake their head in disgust. It’s certainly a polarising experience, in a Dawn, you’ll receive nothing but compliments, not so in a Cullinan. But if you want to truly arrive, a Rolls Royce beats everything, forget supercars, a Rolls trumps them all.
Inside you’re cocooned from everything around you, there’s over 100 kg of soundproofing dotted throughout the Cullinan, that’s nearly 16 stone given over to just keeping the world at bay. The glass is thicker than any of its competitors, and the ride is undoubtedly Rolls Royce. Even with all this weight you shimmy across the worst Britain’s roads can throw at you, all the while the lambswool mats keep your feet cosy, every time you drag the world in on your shoes, it gets tangled into the thick pile.
Its Charles blue leather is sumptuously soft, matching effortlessly with the open pore Paldao wood, a tree that’s found throughout Southeast Asia. The whole interior gives off Riva Speedboat vibes, and why shouldn’t it for this money.
Due to its loftiness you get a new perspective on your travels, suddenly you can see over and above hedgerows, what was just the horizon now seems like an ever-changing watercolour with you sitting front and centre as if you were in a gallery, or maybe even the comfiest movie theatre watching as events play out around you.
Dials and switchgear have a delightful tact, something you find across the whole Rolls range, the inset clock finished in brushed steel bearing the moniker ‘Cullinan’. As the driver you find a thicker than usual rim for a Rolls Royce, normally they’re quite svelte, dainty things that hark back to a bygone era. This wheel has far more purpose about it, a nod to the chrome ‘Off Road’ switch that lays in the centre console.
There are no fancy driving modes here, Rolls want this car to be simple and effortless. Just press a single button and head off-piste.
Rear seat legroom is in a league of BA First Class, you can also spec the Cullinan with two lounge style rear seats, these fully recline, massage and extend, turning this machine into a long-haul sleeper that only dreams are made of.
You’ll find a split rear tailgate at the back, something ideally suited to country life. Perch yourself on the rear while you clean your shotgun before a day of shooting in the countryside, wonderful. Naturally, the whole thing is electronic and folds up most majestically.
Barrelling along through flat pastures up into the hilly areas of Lincolnshire the Cullinan seems to compress time. It’ so superbly snug that the minutes just melt away, hundreds of miles just disappear, and you arrive at your destination almost wondering how you got there.
As with the diamond, it’s size and worth may be called into question by others, but you truly feel as though you could drive to any destination on earth in supreme luxury. Insulated from the outside world, the elements, the noise and din. In that regard, the Cullinan is like no other SUV I’ve ever driven.