NOBLEMAN magazine was privileged to have the opportunity to road test the brand-new Rolls-Royce SUV, the Cullinan. Wyoming and its back roads were an appropriate and unbelievable location to put this fantastic vehicle through its paces. Whether going up the side of Snow King Mountain, which, let’s be frank, made us pay real attention, or meandering along the rocky paths of the Snake River, this was the most comfortable ride we’ve ever taken.
Bumpy road? Cold outside? The Cullinan has an easy solution. Put the air mode on “soft,” and turn on the very best seat heater we’ve ever experienced, and the journey will be a breeze. Above it all, the Cullinan is a Rolls-Royce, pure and simple. Completely engineered from the ground up, it has all the luxury that Rolls-Royce customers are accustomed to, while its design and capabilities are what you would expect from an SUV. It delivers performance, style, and luxury without compromising. Rolls-Royce has indeed created the “Rolls-Royce”of SUVs.
We sat with Rolls-Royce’s CEO, Torsten Müller-Ötvös, who spoke to our own Doug McLaughlin for an enlightening conversation about the appeal of the Cullinan, adventures, and his favorite city of the world.
What does the introduction of the Cullinan mean to you?
When I think of the Cullinan, the idea of effortless “everywhere” capabilities comes to mind. The car is able to perform at such a high level, which is very hard to explain in words, as you can probably attest to. Our engineers spend a lot of sleepless nights making it perform just like you were on a magic carpet ride.
Why is it the perfect time for an SUV now?
Our philosophy is always to release products when it is exactly right. We are not pressured by volume or by the traditional car-buying ethos. We’d like to remind people that we are not so much in the car business, but in the luxury business. Our clients know exactly what they want and are willing to wait for the exact right car at the right time. Ultimately, it needs to be right.
What is unique about the Cullinan?
The Cullinan is built on its very own architecture, while sharing components with our flagship Phantom. We’ve completely engineered and designed it from the ground up. We’ve spent a lot of time agonizing on the right platform, in order to deliver the most perfect car, which has to belong in the Rolls-Royce family. There were a lot of expectations for our first SUV, I would dare say that we’ve fulfilled all of them.
Here we are in Wyoming, in the middle of what some consider the most beautiful part of the country, so it is a propos to ask you, what does adventure mean to you?
Adventure to me means to get out of your comfort zone, to enter unchartered territory, and let your heart feel its own beat again. Being onboard the Cullinan certainly brought a sense of adventure that we very fortunate to experience first-hand on the back roads of Wyoming. It is also about letting your imagination believe in what is possible. At its core, Rolls-Royce is about inspiring people to live their full lives.
What are you most proud of?
First and foremost, my daughter. When it comes to this company, I am very proud that I get to lead a team of unbelievable people who have, for the last eight years, re-imagined what the Rolls-Royce brand can be, should be, and is today. We’ve consistently raised the bar in what was already a very lofty standard, by introducing new products and ideas to a very demanding marketplace.
What were your influences?
I would be remiss to name one particular person. A lot of the people I’ve worked for and with have challenged me to be at my best, and this challenge has not only made me a better CEO, but a better person as well. A good example of this would be my wife. She has, for a lot of years now, challenged me to always exceed expectations. Her input has been and continues to be invaluable to me.
You are a world traveler who gets to experience many wonderful countries and cities. If you had to pick, what is your favorite city?
Easy. London. For me, it is absolutely the coolest city on earth. I can’t ever get enough of its atmosphere, culture, history, architecture, fabulous nightlife, etc. It is truly the best place on earth.
Switching gears, you are a very fashionable man. Do you have a favorite label or brand?
Not at all…. I am an impulse buyer! I fall in love with things as I see them, and I buy what inspires me at the moment. I am also not a very big online shopper; I need to be able to touch things before buying!
One last question: A gentleman always…
Engine: 6.7 Liter V12
Power: 563 hp
Zero to 60: 4.8 seconds
Top Speed: 155 mph
Base Price: $325,000
Words by Yves Le Sieur
Photos and Video by Trevor Thompson, ABE1