Of all the automobiles ever produced, very few have been able to maintain the standards of craftsmanship and engineering that they were initially known for – except, perhaps, Rolls Royce. Originally the motor vehicle of choice for heads of state and royalty, the Rolls Royce motor car has enjoyed a cult of personality that places it in an exclusive club of one.
Throughout the history of Rolls Royce, their cars have been used by billionaires to cross continents, race trains and generally as a tool for the jet set lifestyle that signified much of the social activities of the elite in the 20th century. Rolls Royce Corniches have been used to cross vast deserts, Silver Seraphs have been used for hunting expeditions through marshes and wetlands, and parked in front of vast mansions the next day, ready and waiting to do whatever their owners asked of them. It even served in war-time – T.E. Lawrence, otherwise known popularly as Lawerence of Arabia, used six armoured Rolls Royce Ghosts to rout the Ottomans at Tel Shahm in April 1918, during one of the most significant battles of the First World War. He went on to say of the trusty Rolls – “A Rolls Royce in the desert is worth more than rubies.” High praise, but worthy – these armoured Rolls Royces would serve Britain till 1941 and the start of the Second World War.
With such pedigree, one would assume the recent unveiling of the Rolls Royce Cullinan – the first dedicated SUV ever made by the British marque – to have precedence.
They'd be wrong to assume that. Rolls Royce in the past did not need a dedicated off-road capable car because engineering excellence took the RR badge to great heights anyway. The level of engineering that RR models displayed all throughout their lives meant they could handle anything you throw at them and more. Building a dedicated SUV seems to be a slippery slope for a brand that has refused to hand out horsepower and torque figures to potential customers, opting for the saying “just enough” instead. Who knows, the Cullinan's appearance on the automotive radar might even yield a “sporty” Rolls Royce in the near future.
It's not that they shouldn't have made the Cullinan. What they shouldn't have done is used thinly veiled marketing gimmicks to justify its existence. The promo video for the Cullinan shows the project's heads talking about how they understood the market's needs for the Cullinan and listened to it – that simply isn't the RR way. If Rolls is listening to customers' needs instead of engineering the best vehicle they can regardless, they're diluting the ethos of one of the greatest automotive brands in the world, and that's a sad sight.
Reactions to the RR Cullinan off our Facebook group:
Usama Mustafa Zaman– “Never expected to find a Rolls Royce so ordinary. This makes the Prius look exciting and fun.”
Alvee Shehtaz – “I knew the Apocalypse is near when Lambo introduced the Urus. Let's just wait for Ferrari to give the final blow to this SUV based market trend.”
Tanzim Abir– “650 Nm at 1600 (RPM) is what I find more interesting, to be honest.”