That the Rolls Royce Cullinan doesn’t seem like such a high-rise vehicle when you first get in may well be because the car automatically lowers its body by 40mm as you unlock it and open the door. Its ‘coach’ doors are heavy to pull but have intelligent hinge stays that will hold each firmly in place once you’ve arrested its progress. They then motor-close automatically either as the passenger holds down an adjacent button inside or after the chauffeur presses the exterior keyless unlocking button.
The interior doesn’t quite match a Rolls Royce Rolls-Royce Phantom for spaciousness in both rows, and some testers reported just the merest sense of restricted access to the rear of the cabin as they boarded through those ‘suicide’ rear doors – but neither is a problem about which it would even occur to you to complain. The cabin can be laid out like that of a large, fairly conventional five-seat SUV, with split-folding back seats and an expanding boot (the Lounge seating option) or in more Rolls-Royce-typical four-seat fashion, with individual motorised rear chairs, a fixed centre console and a fixed rear bulkhead partition.
The latter keeps luggage separate from the cabin, boosting on-board refinement and preventing any unnecessary disturbance to the cabin as the driver opens the boot (which is considered a selling point in colder markets). Our test car had the five-seat Lounge layout, with motorised folding seatbacks that stowed completely flat and a motorised boot floor that could be raised to produce a handily flat loading surface.
The driving position has an SUV-typical vantage point and is wrapped in Rolls-Royce-grade opulence and sense of occasion very cleverly. The Phantom itself is, after all, a large and fairly high-riding limousine with quite a raised roof and hip point, and so by transposing all of that upwards by nine inches or so, the Cullinan delivers a more commanding view of the world outside but doesn’t need to redefine a familiar and beautifully enveloping interior theme.
The cabin’s Black Badge alterations include an attractive if predictable mirror-shine carbonfibre veneer that the firm calls ‘Technical Carbon’, and red-tipped needles for the car’s hybrid analogue and digital instruments.
They’re the subtle touches you’d hope for in a gently warmed Rolls-Royce, but perhaps not the ones you’d expect of a Cullinan. For those who’d prefer something brasher still, meanwhile, leather upholstery in Forge Yellow is available – although you can’t help thinking that actually ordering it probably ought to come with a custodial sentence.
Rolls Royce Cullinan infotainment and sat nav
The Cullinan must have missed out on getting the very latest ID7 infotainment technology of Rolls-Royce parent BMW by a pretty narrow margin. The system the Cullinan uses instead remains very good, though – and it’s debatable whether Rolls-Royce would have integrated some of the newer set-up’s functionality even if it could have. Still, there’s a chance that at least some of the younger, more tech-literate owners that Rolls-Royce is reaching out to with this car may feel just a little short-changed.
The system it has fitted is smartly presented and easy to use, whether you’re sticking with the iDrive-style rotary controller or going touchscreen (as no Rolls-Royce before has permitted). The voice control set-up likes you to input addresses in a slightly unintuitive order (town, street, house number) but it works well in other respects.
Wireless smartphone charging is standard, as is wireless phone mirroring. Our test car had a Rolls-Royce Bespoke audio system fitted, whose amplification level wasn’t specified, but it had excellent power and clarity.