Nothing has been spared. At the end of the cover, the “Spirit of ecstasy” has braved the giclures slush, pebbles that skitter and scratches perfidious branches. The small leading figure of the winged has even opened the way to the peaks of a track to be used, in the winter, skiers. Organize a trip by all-terrain in the mountains of Wyoming behind the wheel of a Rolls-Royce was a fairly baroque, but our Cullinan metallic grey has taken his mud bath without grumbling or never give up at the obstacle. The English company wanted to bring the demonstration that its first SUV had to be taken seriously, even if it was long ago held the exercise in phase with its coat of arms. Behind the eternal rival, Bentley, which she could not long keep out of a category that, depending on the brand, the clients demanded, and which, incidentally, presents a significant profitability. In option, two seats and a table to cocktail can unfold from the trunk to enjoy the scenery or participate in a picnic between people of good company.

Last-born of a constructor is assumed to be conservative, the Cullinan has the first. Exit the traditional denominations spectral (Ghost, Phantom, Wraith). Its name refers to the huge rough diamond discovered in 1905 in South Africa’s mines by Sir Thomas Cullinan, in part integrated with the sceptre of the british Crown. New, also, the presence of a rear bench seat that folds out of a hatch or four-wheel steering. Another innovation, an all-wheel-drive designed by parent company BMW with what you need of crutches-mail to make climbing trees a vehicle of 2.6 tonnes and move it down with the most perfect placidity. “A Rolls-Royce is first and foremost an object of desire, but the Cullinan is a car whose customers are going to need for their family, because it adapts to their leisure, or we can raise the dog,” says a spokesperson.

Rolls-Royce, purveyor of cars for the dad, mom and the kids ? To understand the purpose of an SUV within the brand is the most upscale in the world, it is also necessary to consider the evolution of the average age of its clientele. In ten years, it has increased from 56 years to 44 years – ” you become very rich an increasingly young age in China, saudi Arabia, or in the Silicon Valley “, said our interlocutor – and the arrival of models (barely) less elitist, such as the cabriolet Dawn and coupe Wraith have accompanied the movement. The Cullinan, whose order book is already filled for the year 2019, is expected to mostly recruit just in their forties, ensures the manufacturer. Remains that build the credibility of the SUV family, while carrying high the colours of Rolls-Royce is not a small matter.

Hides grainés and woodwork

The famous grille always evokes a Greek temple, but with cleaner lines, modernised, and the lenses retain their rectangular shape, although the use of LED brings a cut of the less austere than in the past. Alas, the stiffness of the whole German air intakes fits against the current. The obligation to maintain a stature high (the car peaks at 1.84 m), and seeks to sketch a profile of “three volumes” (not a question of drawing a Rolls-Royce looks like a bar of soap) generates a formal language without the frills but rather atypical. The stern is peculiarly curved, and the large window area brings plenty of light into the interior, but tends to weigh down the profile. “We wanted to suggest the experience of a luxury casual rather than the formal expression and symbolic of status. Make it simple, authentic, ” pleads the young (40 years old) designer austrian Felix Kilbertus, who did the exterior styling of the Cullinan.

In the cabin, which is reached always by the doors-antagonists, a current of modernity is its way. The instrument panel adopts a design more contemporary without venturing too far in the digitization process and the introduction of a leather grainés inspired of the universe of the leather goods. Relief : the noble woodwork without which a Rolls-Royce would not be much of one Rolls-Royce are still there. In option, two seats and a table to cocktail can unfold from the safe to sit back, once the tailgate is opened, two people who can enjoy the scenery or participate in a picnic between people of good company.

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Under the long hood, the always silky and discreet V12 bi-turbo 6.75 litres (563 hp) is also true at the post, with its accelerations dantesque and its appetite of ogre (15 liters per 100 km on average, according to the constructor). In spite of its proportions and mass, the Cullinan delivers delicious sensations of driving. It brakes hard, turns perfectly flat, and its air suspension offers the inimitable effect ” flying carpet “, which was perceptible even when we venture off-track. At the start of the engine, the car goes up to four centimetres, so that its passengers can, in a sense, up to its edge.

The Cullinan, which should be negotiated at from about 325 000 euros, is presented very simply and without the least complex, such as a family for the super-rich. At Rolls-Royce, it does not bother discourse on the social acceptability, such as Porsche, for example. If this SUV was presented at Jackson Hole, in Wyoming, it is for his beautiful landscapes and forest trails. It is also, says the brand, because this State, where taxation is particularly advantageous, is home to the county of Teton, the one whose income per capita is the highest in the United States.