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The most sought-after Rolls-Royce gets an upgrade

The Cullinan Series 2 further refines the large jewel

The largest gem in the Rolls-Royce family gets refreshed. PHOTO FROM ROLLS-ROYCE

The Rolls-Royce Cullinan sport-utility vehicle is the brand’s most sought-after model, with a whooping 90% of Cullinan owners driving it themselves.

The Cullinan has also immensely helped lower the average age of Rolls-Royce owners from 56 in 2010 down to 43 (!) today. You can imagine then that an update to such an important model is a truly serious matter.

The Series 2, introduced six years after the launch of the Cullinan, receives some considerable visual upgrades.

There's nothing more intimidating on the road than seeing one of these in your rearview mirror. PHOTOS FROM ROLLS-ROYCE

The front retains the Pantheon grille, with new L-shaped LED running lights emphasizing its considerable width, while new air intakes at the lower portion of the bumper reduce the loftiness of the Cullinan.

The imposing grille is illuminated for the first time, and the entire front bumper has a V-shaped theme that resembles the prow of a mega yacht—something Cullinan owners will most likely own as well.

The rear gets revised flush dual exhausts on either side with a high-gloss surround in stainless steel. A stainless-steel skid plate finished in brushed aluminum is visible in between the exhaust outlets, and runs underneath the car, protecting its expensive undercarriage.

It wears massive 23-inch, seven-spoke forged-alloy wheels hewn from a single block of aluminum alloy, larger than the Series 1’s 22-inchers that suspend the Rolls from the ground.

This digital cabin does its best to make itself look as analog as possible. PHOTOS FROM ROLLS-ROYCE

Inside, it’s all about the details. The dashboard is new and looks like a solid block of glass with the Spirit operating system first seen in the Spectre. The dash is a fully digital affair with 7,000 laser-etched apertures to help give a better sense of depth perception, downplaying the digital gauges and trying to present an analog facade.

Also new is the Spirit of Ecstasy clock cabinet, where a scale representation of the famous R-R logo now resides in its own little specially lit space. The dashboard lights up in a sequence that begins with the main instrument display, and then flows across to the passenger side through the glass panel that spans the dash.

For the rear, occupants can connect two streaming devices to separate screens, with Bluetooth connectivity for headphones. You can enjoy a full-symphony orchestra concert with the Cullinan’s bespoke 18-speaker hi-fi surround-sound system that has an added punch from the 1,400W amplifier. Cavities in the aluminum space-frame chassis are used as resonance chambers, essentially natural subwoofers.

As expected, the attention to detail in this cabin is exquisite. PHOTOS FROM ROLLS-ROYCE

A gray stained ash-wood trim, with the option of an equally new textile fabric interior trim, is now available. It is called Duality Twill by Rolls-Royce, made using bamboo fibers; it features an abstract interpretation of the interlocking R-R logo.

As befits a proper Rolls, the stats are stupefying. This textile interior uses up to 2.2 million stitches and 11 miles of thread, and it took four years to develop. Similarly labor-intensive are the little holes you can see in the door trims: Imagine 408,284 perforations of between 0.8mm and 1.2mm in diameter. They’re checked by a single craftsman blessed with divine patience straight from the Creator.

Finishing all of this up is a new Rolls-Royce-developed shade, inspired by a rich brown marble known as Emperador Truffle. Indeed, something this regal requires a color of equal stature. The subtle shimmer is reminiscent of fresh snow under the morning light.

A crazier Black Badge variant is available for those who want to go even faster. PHOTOS FROM ROLLS-ROYCE

Should you find all these new touches a tad gentle, then might Rolls-Royce interest you in a Black Badge variant? Think AMG to Mercedes-Benz, S-Line to Audi, and M to BMW.

Carbon fiber, a material not normally associated with the brand, is also available inside. Dubbed the alter ego of the brand, the Black Badge Cullinan packs a whopping 600hp and 900Nm of torque, more than the standard Cullinan’s 563hp.

The Black Badge also has a shorter pedal travel to give a more immediate response, and shifts are 50% faster when the throttle is at 90% fully depressed and beyond. You can also have your forged monoblock calipers finished in yellow, red, green, or black to show through the alloy wheel designs measuring 23 inches in diameter.

Of course, both the regular Series 2 Cullinan and its Black Badge variant cost more than its predecessor, but this piece of information has never been relevant to buyers in this segment.

Botchi Santos

Botchi is your friendly, walking car encyclopedia. He loves helping people choose the right vehicle for themselves as much as he enjoys picking the right one for himself. Expect him to write about car culture, test drives and car-shopping advice. His regular column is called ‘Car Life’.