• Rolls-Royce’s first SUV, the glamorous Cullinan, is now available in South Africa – if you have a good couple of million to spare.
  • Everything about RR’s first SUV, aptly named after one of Africa’s largest diamonds, whispers quiet royal elegance.
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Rolls-Royce’s (RR) first SUV, the glamorous Cullinan, is now available in South Africa if you have a good couple of million to spare.

Luxury SUVs are streaming into the local market with the Bentley Bentayga and Lamborghini Urus released in the past year, and with the Aston Martin DBX and Ferrari Purosangue due for release in 2020 and 2022 respectively.

Photo Jay Caboz.

According to AfrAsia Bank and New World Wealth rich South Africans are showing a preference for such extremely high-end SUVs over the more traditional elite sports cars. While sales of other car types have been declining in the last couple of years, luxury SUV sales have shown continued growth.

SUVs are in demand because of their high road clearance, and so ability to deal with bad roads, while also offering more space for children and shopping – plus being useful for a visit to that elite private game reserve.

Photo Jay Caboz.

Three years ago, when Rolls-Royce announced it would launch the Cullinan, it promised the ultimate luxury SUV. That seemed to go against the grain of the brand, but RR has been undergoing something of a transformation.

Read: Rolls-Royce luxury Cullinan SUV makes SA debut 

“The average age of a Rolls-Royce driver has come down to about 45 now," says Marek Letowt, General Manager of RR in South Africa. "Rolls have moved to a far more contemporary state of being and there is still nothing on the market that compares to it like for like.” 

Marek Letowt, General Manager of Rolls-Royce in South Africa. Photo Jay Caboz.

Letowt says on average RR sells between 10 to 20 vehicles a year in South Africa. And thanks to a new range of cars like Wraith, Ghost, and now the Cullinan, it is now attracting a younger sort of rich buyer.

If those kind of buyers are looking for an SUV that whispers quiet royal elegance, the Cullinan might just appeal.

Named for one of Africa’s largest diamonds, which now resides in the British Crown Jewels, it comes with everything you would expect, and a little more – like reclining seats which allow you to gaze up at a ceiling of dimmable fairlylights.

Photo Jay Caboz.

Some models also come with a drinks cabinet in the centre console, complete with a refrigerator, decanter, two Rolls-Royce whiskey glasses, and two champagne flutes. The champagne cupholders close on the stems of the glass, so you won’t spill your Moet as you take on potholes.

As an extra option for your boot, you can get a "viewing suite". At a touch of a button, leather seats and a cocktail table can fold out of a storage unit in the trunk.

Read also: Rolls-Royce first super-luxury SUV in SA: 8 things you should know about the new Cullinan

RR doesn’t want to confirm local pricing, but in the UK the Cullinan costs upwards of R6 million. If its sale price here is anywhere close to that, it would make the Cullinan the most expensive SUV in South Africa by a long, long margin.

According to the 2019 South Africa Wealth Report these are the approximate prices of the most expensive SUVs in SA. 

  • Rolls Royce Cullinan: price not disclosed
  • Bentley Bentayga: R3.5 million
  • Lamborghini Urus: R3.5 million
  • Range Rover Autobiography: R2.7 million
  • Porsche Cayenne Turbo: R2.2 million
  • Mercedes GLE: R1.2 million
  • BMW X6: R1.2 million
  • Range Rover Velar: R1.1 million
  • Volvo XC90: R1.0 million
  • Jaguar F-Pace: R950,000

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