Rolls-Royce makes a big, bold, unmissable statement with the Cullinan Series II

The long-awaited follow-up to the 2018 original, this is an important moment for the great British venture

The Cullinan was a mighty big deal when it first arrived on the scene six years ago. It saw Rolls-Royce nail its colours to the mast, as yet another storied marque jumped headfirst into the SUV market – only it promised to be a cut above the rest as the world’s first super-luxury option. Despite that, its critics were quick to call out its near-three-tonne weight, boxy proportions and divisive looks. But all that missed the point entirely.

Since its founding, 120 years ago, Rolls-Royce has been in the business of making four-wheeled statements. From eccentric maharajas commissioning trophy cars in the early 1900s to Kim Kardashian causing a scene with her modified Ghost, no one buys a Rolls for practical reasons or to blend in, not least a Cullinan.

Since it launched, in 2018, the Cullinan has gone on to be Rolls-Royce’s ‘most requested’ (read: best-selling) car, so the long-awaited follow-up Series II is an important moment for the great British venture.

From the outside, the ‘off-road’ Rolls sports a distinctive new front end, with striking daytime running lights that draw the eye out in order to accentuate the car’s width. “It emphasises the width and verticality of the car. In my view, a Rolls-Royce is about posture and presence,” insists Rolls-Royce director of design Anders Warming. With the thin light strip running across the bonnet line and down to the lower air intakes, Rolls is keen to make sure the new Cullinan is easily identifiable, both day and night, not that there was ever a chance of missing it.

Below the new lamps are newly configured air intakes that form a shallow ‘V’ from the lowest point of the daytime running lights to the centre point, a reference to the “sharp bow lines of modern sports yachts,” says the marque. Like the revised Phantom and all-electric Spectre, the Cullinan Series II’s Pantheon grille is subtly illuminated, meanwhile 23-inch rims fill up the cavernous wheel arches.

On the inside, it’s evolution rather than revolution, with more opportunities for “expression,” insists Rolls. In practice, that means the inclusion of the digital dash first seen in the Spectre, which can be customised – owners can tailor the colour of the instrument dials to complement the car’s interior or exterior palette. On top of that, there’s a new, full-length panel that stretches across the dashboard, which includes a new ‘clock cabinet’ that features a scaled-down Spirit of Ecstasy figurine to remind you of what’s riding out up front. In the back, passengers can connect two streaming devices to the separate screens and control the heated and cooled massage seats as they wish.

Making its debut is the option to spec a new interior-textile trim called Duality Twill, made using bamboo fibres. Should you opt for this fabric, Rolls will put no fewer than 20 hours into making sure up to 2.2 million stitches and 11 miles of thread line up seamlessly. One can also opt for the new Placed Perforation, which can replicate any artwork via tiny perforations in the leather.

Mechanically, the Cullinan is largely the same beast it always has been, with its mighty 6.75L twin-turbo V12 engine that offers up 563bhp and more torque than a tug boat – not that you’d notice it when ensconced in a near-soundproof cockpit. With a Black Badge option available from the get-go, featuring black chrome, a carbon trim and a more dynamic air-intake design, Rolls hopes to further extend the Cullinan’s appeal to a younger audience. Already, the average age of a Rolls buyer has dropped from 56, in 2010, to 43.

Moreover, as before, Rolls is offering the usual, near-endless roster of optional extras, including its in-house-designed Viewing Suite. This feature gives the Cullinan another party piece – quite literally – as two leather chairs and a matching table fold out of the boot at the touch of a button. Handy for those all-important regattas, polo matches and impromptu picnics.

Though no word on price at the car’s reveal, it’s likely the new Cullinan will weigh in around the Spectre’s £330,000 starting point. Then again, if you have to ask, it’s probably not for you. The terms ‘off-roading’ are, well, largely off the cards when it comes to anything regarding the Cullinan, although Rolls is keen to point out that its most popular car is “effortless, everywhere.”

With deliveries expected before the end of 2024, make sure to keep your eyes peeled for the moment when Rolls’s latest creation makes a statement on a street near you.

Want more car content? Read our review of the Aston Martin DB12 Volante…

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