The two-sided Rolls-Royce – Speedhunters


Every now and then I like to try out vehicles for no other reason than to scratch an itch. This is exactly why you are seeing the Rolls-Royce Cullinan on the Speedhunters digital pages.

I am offered the opportunity to drive a brand new Rolls-Royce it doesn’t happen often for me, but when it does it is nothing short of a pleasure. The sumptuous models of the British brand are so alien and detached from my personal automotive reality, but they always end up surprising me.

Any car, even the one you drive every day on your commute, should be able to make you smile. Sports cars have always done this for me, but now as part of a family of five, owning a large SUV is something I think about every now and then. It’s all theoretical, of course, approached in a “what if” way.


And that “what if” notion sparked the idea of ​​this story. I thought it would be nice to spend the odd weekend here and there sampling the A-list of SUVs to really see what’s on offer at the top tier of the segment. And what better way to kick things off with what should probably be called an LUV – a luxury utility vehicle – the Rolls-Royce Cullinan.

I’m actually three vehicles deep in this studio now, but it’s the Cullinan my kids enjoyed the most. Obviously they would choose the one that costs as much as a villa – or a 68m2 apartment in the far outskirts of Tokyo.

I don’t blame them though; the Cullinan is an impressive machine from anywhere you look at it.


This is probably the right time to highlight the fact that most new Rolls-Royce buyers will have five other cars in their garage and they really like individualism and personalization. So there’s a little link here with any of us who have more custom designs on the go.


That’s why I chose the “Black Badge” version for this unit – which features elements like blacked-out chrome detailing and carbon fiber trims throughout the cabin – in addition to the common (yes, right) Cullinan.

I should also recognize the elephant in the room which is the metallic purple exterior. To be honest, that’s probably my favorite thing about this Rolls-Royce. Because if you’re in a position to spend half a million dollars on something like that, go wild I say.


In order to taste the sandwiches in their entirety, I have planned two very different excursions. The first was a trip out of Tokyo to the Chiba countryside to take my three boys for riding lessons. Had I had a butler and his name was Jeeves, Jeeves would surely have turned around and congratulated me on an appropriate choice of activity for the colossal Cullinan.


The one hour trip outside the capital of Japan was better than I expected. I had a great time pointing out the 2.7 ton Cullinan along the Shuto Expressway and then the provincial highways.

While I usually thunder over the steering feel and a communicative chassis, this time I was equally puzzled and impressed by the isolation this vehicle was creating around me. The near-silent ride, soft air suspension and concert stage created by the sound system resulted in the most comfortable driving experience of my life. The children also agreed, as they were all asleep within 10 minutes of leaving the house.


Under the hood, it’s the same 6.75-liter twin-turbo V12 used across the Rolls-Royce range, but in this Black Badge version it’s slightly scaled down to produce 600 horsepower and 850 Nm of smooth, creamy torque. It’s so over the top that it may just be the obvious choice for the vehicle.

This level of power provides the Cullinan with performance beyond what you would ever need, allowing for instant strong acceleration and overtaking capabilities despite the vehicle’s enormous weight. As for fuel consumption, it’s probably best not to mention it. Of course, if you can afford this in the first place, you will hardly worry about running costs.

Clerical Purple & Gentleman’s Carbon


Open the doors (which close automatically, by the way) and you’re greeted by a custom cabin. Of course, the exterior can also be set up at will, and there are so many colors and body options that you can easily spend the whole day playing with the configurator.


The choice of material is unlike any other car.


It’s all in soft leather, perfectly finished metal or soft carpet.


Not forgetting the carbon fiber accents that Black Badge cars receive.


The plot is really something else. I call it “gentleman carbon” because it is inherently complex and visually stunning, but it serves absolutely no purpose to lighten or strengthen the Cullinan. But it’s ridiculously cool and therefore a must-have.


The milled and polished billet speaker grilles are pretty wild too.


The infinite logo has nothing to do with Mazda or Nissan luxury brand, but rather the Black Badge symbol taken from the Rolls-Royce-powered Bluebird K3 seaplane with which Malcolm Campbell set a speed record in 1930. Now it’s a legacy to brag about.


The rear doors open until they are perpendicular to the body, facilitating unrestricted entry, even with three children trying to enter at the same time. To say that legroom is ample would be the understatement of the century.

Incidentally, you can specify the rear seat layout with a more luxurious two-seater option complete with a fixed center console.


The rear infotainment consists of two touch screens that open when the tables with chrome profiles are lowered. In our case, two screens for three kids would never have turned out well.


You may have noticed that the interface is controlled by an i-Drive-like controller of BMW origin and that all menus are very similar to those of BMWs. This is not a bad thing as it is a proven system that works.


One of the Cullinan’s coolest party tricks are the optional picnic seats and table that open from the back. I enjoyed sitting here and watching my children; it’s just a shame there was no champagne to sip.


Eventually I was asked to move the giant vehicle from the only access road to the camps, but the day’s riding activities were still almost over. We packed up and went home.

The other side of the Cullinan


The Cullinan proved to be an amazing family car during the day. Now was the time to admire his demeanor at night, in the city.


For this, I had only one place in mind: the Kabukicho area of ​​Shinjuku. This is one of the shadiest neighborhoods in Tokyo and a place where you can find all sorts of themed bars to tickle your fancy. Emphasis on tickling.


The Cullinan out in town after dark was quite a sight, and simply towered over any passing car.


It elegantly announces that someone important may be nearby. Not this particular night though, just a sweaty photographer trying to dodge oncoming traffic for the perfect shot.


It was here that I finally got some time to think about vehicles like the Cullinan, which most would probably dismiss as totally outlandish.


That might be true, but there continues to be a market for models like this one.


And after spending a few days with the rollers, I came to the conclusion that if I was ever able to own something like this as part of a larger car garage, I absolutely would. What the Cullinan offers is unlike anything else out there.


In a world of excess, it fits perfectly, especially in this exact configuration and color.


What Rolls-Royce has done once again is to offer its customers a unique product with the same character as any sports car. He’s a completely different kind of character, but just as endearing.

Different worlds. Different priorities. Same smile.

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: dino_dalle_carbonare
[email protected]


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