Can Rolls Royce’s Bold New SUV Conquer The Peaks Of Luxury?

As part of the Final Challenge in the days leading to the big reveal of the Rolls-Royce Cullinan, the luxury SUV has been dispatched to various locations to tackle a variety of terrains. In a recent stint, it climbed the treacherous Pikes Peak—a mountain of a task.

The Rolls-Royce Cullinan is not just an SUV. It signals the dawn of a new era for the BMW Group-owned British manufacturer as it, for the first time in its 112 year history, will have a high-riding, all-terrain-capable SUV in its lineup of ultimate luxury vehicles. And because of its unique off-road talent, once alien to the brand, it even trumps the very ostentatious Phantom super sedan, some might say.

The Cullinan prototype took on several challenges across three countries in collaboration with National Geographic, in the aptly named “Final Challenge.” The journey that began in the highlands of Scotland, continued through the arid deserts of the United Arab Emirates and finally ending up state-side.

The most recent episode in the Cullinan’s journey found the SUV tackling the heights of the Pikes Peak, which as most of everyone knows, is renowned for its high-speed and high-risk annual hillclimb race which takes place during the warmer months. The 12.4-mile race course alone is the very definition of switchback roads, with as many as 156 turns that will put the chassis to the ultimate test. Some of these turns don't have guardrails, and the gradual rise in elevaton to 14,115 feet above sea level can make breathing more of a challenge for both man and motor.

For episode 17, Clemens Grosse took the wheel and fought adversaries such as gravity, mass, and fear to finally conquer Pikes Peak in what seemed to be in devastating speed. Unfortunately, the time elapsed wasn't mentioned. Then again, how fast are you meant to go in a Rolls-Royce?

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