Skiing with Rolls-Royce Cullinan is something we’ve done before. It feels like yesterday when Rolls-Royce invited me to Jackson Hole to see how their first luxury crossover took them to the challenging and steep slope near Grand Teton National Park. And naturally, Cullinan feels at home in the snow, but can the same be said about the new Rolls-Royce ghost? Cullinan all-wheel drive but it is an SUV. The second Ghost is Rolls-Royce’s first sedan or coupe that powers four wheels.
A trip to the Sun Valley
So, Rolls-Royce extended an invitation to drive with them to the mountains in San Valley, Idaho, followed by a flowing session in the snow. The Sun Valley is famous not only for its beautiful landscapes, but also for being the first ski resort in North America. Also among others were Hemingway, Gary Cooper and Marilyn Monroe, who helped promote the Sun Valley and its surroundings.
So, naturally, current celebrities and billionaires have found a home in the Sun Valley where studio-sized condo units cost 1.5 million each. And that’s exactly where a Rolls-Royce home would feel, walking quietly down the narrow, quiet streets of the Sun Valley, before heading to a ski lodge or private mansion. For the day our luxury “snowmobile” was the brand new Rolls-Royce Ghost Black Badge and Cullinan, one of the best selling products of the company today.
Stunning St. Tropez
My day begins behind the wheel of a stunning Rolls-Royce Cullinan in the color of St. Tropez, a paint work that glows under the sun and attracts everyone to it. The vibrant orange Rolls-Royce created a cult after its launch in Dawn, but it looks even more impressive on a large vehicle like the Cullinan. The chic exterior was paired with an exquisite shade of black on the inside, of course, decorated with some orange inserts. It is absolutely a combination that makes a statement.
Everything else about Cullinan is upper class. It offers those amazing “magic carpet” rides, driving effortlessly along even the most uneven terrain in the world, along snow and ice roads. All-wheel drive inspires confidence, again applying the idea that not every Rolls-Royce should come with a driver. Cullinans, and of course, ghosts, give more fun when driven by their owners. The V12 engine, and its 563 horsepower, is silky smooth, yet extremely powerful and pushes around the winding roads around the fun Sun Valley.
Culinan once again proved that the car belonged to the entire Rolls-Royce family of the Swiss Army. It does everything well without compromise and it is not surprising that it has become an instant hit for the goodwood-based luxury maker. The second part of my journey finds me in the passenger seat. And now, I can soak in the beautiful scenery and enjoy the luxuries of Rolls-Royce.
The Alter Ego – Black Badge
But of course, I was more excited to get behind the wheel of a Rolls-Royce Ghost Black badge. It was just a few months ago when we first met in Miami, in the opposite spectrum of a luxurious driving experience. The Ghost Black badge felt at home on Ocean Drive, but now it was ready to impress us even on snowy roads. Rolls-Royce has been working on it for ten years to make the best riding car in the world. The Ghost is the first roller to get new suspension and it not only improves comfort but also stability.
This new “Planner” suspension works with the brand’s “Flagbearer” suspension system, which uses the front camera to scan the front street and pre-load the suspension for what’s going to happen next. This allows the suspension to be prepared for premature road incompleteness rather than reacting in real time, thus ironing the bumps before they happen. And there were lots of random roads.
Its all-wheel steering provides a more agile ride, yet maintains that effortless driving experience. But make no mistake, luxury is still the number one goal of ghosts. In fact, chauffeurs are still considered in car development. The new Ghost, for example, is the first Rolls-Royce to have an automatic, power-open door. For ages, you can close a Rolls-Royce door with the push of a button. Now, you can open them with a long-hold of the handle. Even closing the door manually is power assisted.
Despite the random and uneven surfaces, the sound insulation is great, making it one of the quietest and cleanest cabins in the world. Even when riding on noisy winter tires. Dirt, rock and snow are no match for this new Rolls-Royce Ghost, but thanks to its air suspension that constantly adjusts to its riding height.
Rolls at drifting
Still, Rolls-Royce wanted to show off the dark, changing ego of the black badge. Owning a Rolls-Royce black badge is a way of life and work performance does not drive the owner of a black badge. But when needed, Rolls-Royce black badge models will show off their altered ego. And in this case, it was Cullinan’s turn to show the fun side. At the top of the hill, near a ski lodge, an ice-covered oval country road awaits us.
The luxury all-terrain vehicle demonstrates its flowing power with all-wheel drive system on or off, turning its wheels in style. Of course, it’s even more exciting to see Culinan sidestep when the nanny loses control. It is also a statement of how good the all-wheel drive system is. Cullinan immediately settles on the snow track, even with a hard push. Whatever the condition of the road.
But owning a Rolls-Royce is more than just a driving experience. It’s a lifestyle. So while Rolls acts as the ultimate luxury holer, it is the last tail of the journey that excites Rolls owners. In this case, it is either a day in the Bald Mountains or a ride on the many miles of well-equipped snowmobile trails and off-trail rides that can be found throughout the region.
My day also ends in the typical Rolls-Royce style: a neat drive back to town where you can find some of the best express ski spots in the world. And that’s why Rolls-Royce is, and always will be, one of the most ambitious brands in the world.