Business / #ForbesBusiness

May 14, 2018,   5:45 PM

Rolls-Royce Shifts Gears With The Launch Of Its First Luxury SUV

Samuel Wendel


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After years of anticipation, the Rolls-Royce of sports utility vehicles (SUVs) is here. The British luxury automaker recently publicly debuted its first SUV, called the Cullinan—named after the largest diamond ever discovered.

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars is touting its luxury all-terrain vehicle as the “most anticipated car of 2018 and, quite possibly, the most anticipated Rolls-Royce of all time.” Either way, its arrival should be good news for car enthusiasts in the Gulf countries, which are famous for their love of luxury vehicles and SUVs.

The launch of the Cullinan marks a shift away from the luxury coupés and sedans that Rolls-Royce is renowned for—but it was a move that was inevitable. Luxury automakers, who have traditionally limited themselves to sedans, are eyeing a share of the lucrative SUV market with new launches. Bentley, Maserati and Lamborghini have already launched SUVs, while Ferrari will follow suit in 2019.

Against that backdrop, Rolls-Royce, which is now owned by BMW, announced it was developing the Cullinan three years ago. Since then, it tested the SUV everywhere from the “Scottish highlands, to Arabian deserts,” according to the company’s website.

Still, it’s not a mass-market vehicle by any stretch of imagination, with its price tag expected to be north of $325,000. The Cullinan offers an array of bespoke features, such as a refrigerator, a retractable table, USB ports and a WiFi hotspot. And it should be plenty powerful, with a 6.75 litre twin-turbo V12 Rolls-Royce engine under the hood.

The company said it built the vehicle with customers that “were younger, very successful high-net-worth individuals who are heavily engaged in the experience economy” in mind.

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