High Roller not alone Rolls-Royce debuts SUV as Aston Martin previews forthcoming Lagonda.
Following its dramatic U-turn over whether it would ever produce an SUV, Rolls-Royce has launched the £250,000 Cullinan to the inevitable brickbats and bouquets. With the tagline ‘Effortless Everywhere’, the new Rolls-Royce will be built at Goodwood and is named after the largest diamond ever discovered, which currently forms part of the Crown Jewels. Powered by a 6.75-litre twin-turbo V12 giving 563bhp and 727lb ft, the Cullinan features both all-wheel drive and all-wheel steering. But it is clearly as much about luxury as it is engineering, as Rolls-Royce strives to topple Range Rover and Bentley at the pinnacle of the burgeoning luxury SUV market. It is unashamedly aimed at the young high-net-worth buyers that Rolls-Royce says prompted it to change its mind.
Rolls-Royce design director Giles Taylor explains: ‘SUVs have become homogenous and ubiquitous. The label SUV is now applied to anything with a two-box silhouette and the least suggestion of going off-tarmac. We envisioned an authentic, three-box allterrain high-bodied car with a convention-challenging design and absolute capability.’
Meanwhile, on the eve of the muchanticipated Cullinan launch, Aston Martin seemed to be trying to steal a little bit of Rolls-Royce’s thunder by announcing a futuristic Lagonda SUV for 2021. Claimed to be the first emission-free luxury battery-electric, it is an evolution of the Vision Concept shown at Geneva in 2018.
Less environmentally friendly is a run of V12 Vantage V600s that are to be built following a customer order some 20 years after the original V8 supercharged V600 was launched. Seven roadsters and seven coupés, all of which feature a seven-speed manual transmission, will be built at the Q by Aston Martin department and will become available at the end of the year.
‘AN ARK OF KITSCH,
A TRAVESTY OF TASTE,
A FATUOUS FRIVOLITY,
A REBUKE TO GOOD MANNERS,
A BLOVIATED DISCOURSE ON
VULGARITY, A CRUEL REPRIMAND
TO DESIGN INTELLIGENCE.
I WANT ONE!’ Stephen Bayley on the Rolls-Royce Cullinan