Rolls-Royce has unveiled its first modern SUV, a vehicle that has already caused a stir among purists at the very thought of the world's leading super-luxury brand making anything but a car.
The Cullinan — named for a diamond that's part of the British crown jewels —- keeps the genteel looks of a Rolls. But the company says it is as rugged as any SUV and includes an "off road" button for those who wish to take all 5,864 pounds of it careening over dirt trails. Rolls calls it "an incredibly capable off-roader."
At $325,000 to start, plus an extra $5,250 for the gas-guzzler tax and extras, it's going to take some serious guts to want to drill it through the dirt. But hey, nice to know you can do it.
Hear that, Jeep fans?
Rolls, a unit of Germany's BMW, says it tried to give the new vehicle everything that is expected of the brand. There is, for instance, a partition behind the back seat to isolate the luggage compartment from the passengers.
This SUV is certainly no slouch when it comes to performance. It's powered by a 6.75-liter, twin-turbocharged V-12 — yes, 12 cylinders — good for 563 horsepower. Despite its heft, the engine should allow it to go at 155 mph. It's expected to get 18.8 miles per gallon in mixed city and highway driving.
Cullinan is "a motor car for customers who are well-connected, highly mobile and have a global perspective," said Peter Schwarzenbauer, chairman of Rolls-Royce, in a statement.