“At this point in the history of automotive design, SUVs have become homogenous and ubiquitous,” comments Giles Taylor, Director of Design at Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, looking at the brand new Rolls Royce Cullinan. “The label SUV is now applied to anything with a two-box silhouette and the least suggestion of going off tarmac. We envisioned an authentic, three-box all-terrain high-bodied car with a convention-challenging design and absolute capability that would satisfy the adventurous urges of our clients.” Working with the Architecture of Luxury, Taylor and his team designed the car he knew would meet expectations. Iconic design, proper Rolls-Royce proportions inside and out, and uncompromised levels of luxury.
“One of the first benefits of the Architecture of Luxury to the design of Cullinan was the ability to place the wheels and create a unique roofline silhouette that would give Cullinan an immediate sense of Rolls-Royce pedigree,” comments the head of Rolls Royce design. This strength and power are immediately apparent from the face of Cullinan. Key features such as lights and air intakes are deep set into the bodywork, whilst strong vertical and horizontal lines create a powerful visage, with the prominent brow of a Saxon warrior created by the line that runs across the top of the pantheon grille and ‘eyebrow’-like daytime running lights. This approach lends a toughness of expression to the front of Cullinan. The grille is created from hand-polished stainless steel, but for Cullinan it is set slightly proud of the surrounding bodywork that pushes it up and forward.
From the side, the purposefulness of Cullinan is clear. There is an uncompromising sheerness of the typical Rolls-Royce long bonnet profile, with the bonnet itself seen to be set higher than the wings of the car to communicate greater toughness. The line then rises quickly on the A-pillar to resolve in an ultimate height for Cullinan of 1,836mm, a height accentuated by the glass to metal ratio as seen from the side. From just over the B-pillar, the roofline becomes quite fast and drops away to the even faster rear glass which resolves in an elegantly protruding boot lid that reminds one of the D-Back Rolls-Royces of the 1930’s, some of the last of the marque to still carry their owner’s luggage on a shelf outside the car.
Inside, the cabin of Cullinan combines authentic Rolls-Royce luxury with simple, symmetrical functionality to express the car’s inherent strength. Whether the fascia and centre stack of the dashboard or the arm rests on the doors, structural horizontal and vertical elements underpin the interior design. The centre stack is framed by hand-finished metal pillars that bridge the upper fascia and middle console, giving it a sense of robustness, whilst also suspending the horizontal elements of the fascia to give a more commanding feel. The upper fascia is clad in a newly developed contemporary ‘Box Grain’ black leather – a durable and water resistant boarded leather similar to that used in Italian high-end luggage and handbag design. It gives the fascia a sense of width as it runs across its upper segment, allowing the jewellery-like elements of clock and air vents to stand out beautifully.
Finally, the seats in Cullinan have a bold, confident character, showcasing Rolls-Royce quality and craftsmanship. Designed to suit the more casual and dynamic quality of Cullinan, they feature a simple but modern horseshoe graphic which emphasises the supportive bolsters of the seat. These new seats also showcase Rolls-Royce’s mastery of leather craft as this entire backrest panel has been crafted from a single piece of leather to pick out a highly three-dimensional surface.