Crossover & Midsize

Rolls-Royce Cullinan Black Badge Shows What a $500k SUV Looks Like

In the most #FirstWorldProblems way possible, some high-end luxury SUVs are just too popular. The Lamborghini Urus, for example, sold so well the automaker has to artificially limit production to maintain a sense of ‘exclusivity.’ Even the $300,000+ club is getting crowded, what with SUVs like the Aston Martin DBX and Mercedes G550 4×4 Squared joining in. Thus, we’ve come to this: the Rolls-Royce Cullinan Black Badge.

Rolls Royce Cullinan luxury features

There’s a reason the Toyota Century is often compared to a Rolls-Royce: the British automaker sweats the details. And the Cullinan SUV is no exception.

The dials are made with real metal; the climate control dials are even wrapped in leather. The leather seats are hand-stitched, and for ultimate comfort, rear passengers get pillows on top of their headrests. And for $1500, you can get lambswool carpets that Autotrader’s Doug Demuro claims are nicer than his home’s carpets. Don’t like any of the Cullinan’s standard exterior or interior colors? Not to worry, Rolls-Royce will match any shade or material imaginable, reports Car and Driver.

2020 Rolls-Royce Cullinan interior front
2020 Rolls-Royce Cullinan interior front | Rolls-Royce

The rear passengers get more air vents than the front passengers do. But the front passengers do at least get their own power-closing doors. The rear rear-hinged (aka ‘suicide’) doors can also close with a tap, and come with a pop-out umbrella that’s stowed in a compartment that blows hot air around it.

2020 Rolls-Royce Cullinan interior rear
2020 Rolls-Royce Cullinan interior rear | Rolls-Royce

There are also two kinds of rear seating options. If you opt for the dual captain’s chairs over the 3-seat option, you can also get a console between the armrests (which are heated, by the way) that houses a crystal carafe and glasses with the Rolls-Royce logo. That console also has a separate refrigerator, with its own carafe and glasses—and you can adjust the temperature.

However, the Rolls-Royce Cullinan does lack something the DBX offers: a dog package. But, there’s a good reason for that. The Cullinan has a glass partition between the rear passengers and the cargo area to cut down on noise. The partition also limits air-flow, which would be dangerous to any pooch that hopped in there. Hence, the Cullinan gets a factory ‘No Dogs’ sticker.

Off-road features

Rolls-Royce Cullinan racing in the Rebelle Rally
Rolls-Royce Cullinan racing in the Rebelle Rally | Rebelle Rally via Instagram

But make no mistake: the Cullinan is a proper off-roader. And, like the Urus and Porsche Cayenne before it, the Rolls-Royce is more capable than most would think. Roadshow took one to the Rebelle Rally desert race and won it outright with no mods beyond a tire rack.

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Scotland boasts more than 30,000 lochs, ranging from diminutive lochans to the fabled Loch Ness — a plummeting body of water and supposed haunt of the folkloric Loch Ness Monster. These freshwater lochs invite fearless exploration and make for an unforgettable off-roading opportunity. This is #Cullinan country. NEDCcorr (combined): CO2 emission: 341 g/km ; Fuel consumption: 18.8 mpg / 15.0 l/100km (*) WLTP (combined): CO2 emission: 377-355 g/km ; Fuel consumption: 17.0-18.1 mpg / 16.6-15.6 l/100km (#) The fuel efficiency specifications are determined according to the European Regulation (EC) 715/2007 in the version applicable at the time of type approval. The figures shown consider optional equipment and the different size of wheels and tyres available on the selected model. Changes of the configuration can lead to changes of the values. The figures marked with (*) are based on the new test (WLTP) and are translated back into outgoing test (NEDC) in order to ensure a comparison between the vehicles. The figures marked with (#) are already based on the new test (WLTP). For vehicle related taxes or other duties based (at least inter alia) on CO2 emissions the CO2 values may differ to the values stated here. They do not relate to any one particular vehicle, nor are they part of any offer made, rather they are solely for the purpose of comparing different kinds of vehicle. Further information about the official fuel consumption and the specific CO2 emissions of new passenger cars can be taken out of the “Guide to Fuel Consumption, CO2 Emissions and Electricity Consumption of New Passenger Cars”, which is available at all selling points and at http://carfueldata.direct.gov.uk/ in the United Kingdom, http://www.dat.de/angebote/verlagsprodukte/leitfaden-kraftstoffverbrauch.html in Germany and or your local government authority.

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In addition to all-wheel drive, the Cullinan has four-wheel steering and three electronically-controlled stabilizer bars. The SUV’s adjustable air suspension gives it 9” of ground clearance, and Road & Track reports it can wade into water 21” deep. It has a Low Mode, which lets the 8-speed transmission hold each gear longer, and provide extra acceleration off the line. The Rolls-Royce Cullinan also has a 360° camera that can be used to spot obstacles.

All this doesn’t come cheap. The base Cullinan starts at $325,000; the one Roadshow raced cost almost $400,000. But that still wasn’t enough for some potential buyers.

Rolls Royce Cullinan Black Badge unique touches

Rolls-Royce Cullinan Black Badge
Rolls-Royce Cullinan Black Badge | Rolls-Royce

Car and Driver reports that to cash in on the rising trend of customizing and blacking-out other Rolls-Royce models, the automaker decided to offer an in-house option. Thus, the Rolls-Royce Cullinan Black Badge.

Inside, the Cullinan’s usual wood has been replaced by carbon-fiber, and instead of an ‘RR’, the seats and center fridge get the Black Badge infinity sign. The chrome trim on the grille, exhaust tips, windows, and air intakes have all been tinted black, as has the Spirit of Ecstasy on the hood. Rolls-Royce even modified the Starlight headliner: now, on top of the customizable fiber-optic lights, shooting stars randomly appear for an instant.

And, in a bit of a departure from traditional Rolls-Royces, the Black Badge gets some performance mods. The Cullinan Black Badge is the first Rolls-Royce to have red brake calipers. In addition to the new rotors, Rolls-Royce retuned the brake pedal for better feel and driver confidence. Engineers also allegedly tweaked the air suspension and steering.

The drivetrain was also modified. In addition to an active exhaust, the 6.75-liter twin-turbocharged V12 makes more power and torque. Instead of 563 hp and 627 lb-ft, the Black Badge makes 592 hp and 664 lb-ft.

Total cost? A base Cullinan Black Badge starts at $382,000. But the one Doug Demuro recently drove was optioned up to $480,000.

How it drives

The Black Badge seemingly doesn’t add a significant amount of power. However, both Demuro and Carwow’s Mat Watson found that, especially in Low Mode, the Cullinan Black Badge is noticeably quicker than the standard SUV. And Motor1 found the revisions to the air suspension and steering did make for a sportier ride and better handling.

But firming up the suspension didn’t ruin the Cullinan’s fantastic ride comfort. And the interior can still be described as ‘dead quiet.’ It just goes to show what’s possible when an SUV costs as much as a house.

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