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Driven: 2022 Rolls-Royce Cullinan Frozen Lakes Collection, a One-of-14 Model

As a regular person, if you see a famous athlete, musician, or international celebrity in an everyday place, you might say that your day was more interesting than yesterday. If you say hi, and they respond, it may turn the day into a good one. If you spend time together with a celebrity, it might get even better than that, right? Well, that is how one feels after driving a limited-edition Rolls-Royce Cullinan.
2023 Rolls-Royce Cullinan Frozen Lakes Special Edition 73 photos
Photo: Florin Profir for autoevolution.com
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I only spent a couple of hours with the one-of-14 Rolls-Royce Cullinan Frozen Lakes Edition, and I wanted to take my time with my impressions, as it was the kind of thing that you want to let sink in before you share your thoughts about it. Sure, I could have written something right after I had dropped the vehicle at the dealer, but there was something different about this one.

Even though it is named after a town that was named after a person who opened a diamond mine, where the largest gem-quality rough diamond was discovered, and then named after both, the Rolls-Royce Cullinan is more like a fine alcoholic beverage. It will have a distinctive aftertaste while also making everything else feel subpar in comparison.

Sure, you feel pampered while you are driving or sitting inside it, but it gets mind-blowing when you return to normal life. For its customers, though, it is one of those vehicles that just make the other cars in their fleet feel less special or made with less care.

Now, once everyone is on the same page and hopefully has understood the kind of feeling that is being described, it is time to tell you what it is like to get inside a limited-edition Rolls-Royce Cullinan, as well as what it is like to drive, as well as assess some conventional traits referring to vehicles.

2023 Rolls\-Royce Cullinan Frozen Lakes Special Edition
Photo: Florin Profir for autoevolution.com
Design-wise, it does a good job at masking most of its size, but it cannot work miracles. The limited-edition model in question came with a deep shade of blue (Crystal over Midnight Sapphire) for the main paint, with an ice-like blue coach line that matches the interior piping on the seats, as well as the brake calipers.

First, the thing that you notice when you see this vehicle in real life is its size. It is huge, and it is unusually tall. The Spirit of Ecstasy statue sits tall on a grille that makes the one on the BMW iX look like a child's toy. Not necessarily small, but cheap in comparison. The feeling continues as you open its massive doors.

Inside, you have plenty of room for four people, but it is more like a luxurious lounge than a castle. While the Cullinan is tall, and you have plenty of headroom, as well as room for your knees, elbows, shoulders, and legs, you just have a feeling that it is somewhat smaller on the inside than what may appear from the outside.

Since this is a Rolls-Royce, the quality of the materials on board will not only surprise you but also make you feel a bit inadequate with your regular personal outfit. The fit and finish of some elements are outstanding, while even the normal buttons and switches feel like someone has taken their time to design and finish them to a certain level that is not found in other vehicles.

2023 Rolls\-Royce Cullinan Frozen Lakes Special Edition
Photo: Florin Profir for autoevolution.com
The trunk was one of the elements that were smaller than you would expect when comparing it to the size of the vehicle. We did like the extra rear window that separates the passenger compartment from the trunk. This example also had fold-out seats that were operated by electric motors.

A stunning technological spectacle, but I did not find those seats to be exceedingly comfortable. It beats sitting on the edge of your trunk, but after you have just gotten out of a Cullinan, nothing would feel comfortable, would it? The fold-out seats can be removed by hand and stored somewhere if you need extra luggage capacity.

Once you press the button that closes the door (this is one of those things that you might miss in a normal vehicle), you start the engine and notice no vibration at all, along with the smoothest running ICE unit that you may have heard. If your hearing is not top-notch, you might not hear it at all for the entire trip.

Then, as you get the Cullinan into drive from its column-mounted gear selector, it moves without any effort. There is nothing that reveals the weight of the vehicle when gently pulling away, and its large steering wheel is the only thing that makes you think twice about the size of the vehicle that you are operating.

2023 Rolls\-Royce Cullinan Frozen Lakes Special Edition
Photo: Florin Profir for autoevolution.com
Yes, you are now the person in that expensive vehicle, which may be the most expensive on the road you are on, and you need to be extra careful not to do anything wrong.

That last bit should be the norm, but some people lose their minds when getting behind the wheel of a massive vehicle that is also powerful and expensive. It is like a cloud that hinders their judgment of those who have not experienced something like this before.

Fortunately, it was not the case here. The Cullinan drives with the same ease as its fellow platform siblings but with a perceivable difference in ride height. If you go further and try to link a few corners with a bit of spirited driving, you will notice that there is a bit of roll, but the vehicle keeps the intended trajectory. You cannot mess with physics, so do not push your luck there, 'Ol chap.

That is right, the Cullinan may even be driven more dynamically, and it will do the job if you adapt your requirements to the situation, but it is not meant for that. It is like ordering a burger with fries in a French restaurant that oddly has something like that on the menu. It might be good, it will feed you, but it will not be proper.

2023 Rolls\-Royce Cullinan Frozen Lakes Special Edition
Photo: Florin Profir for autoevolution.com
The most surprising thing about the Cullinan, once you move past the effortless acceleration part, is its steering. It is unusual because of its large steering wheel, which makes you think of a yacht rather than a vehicle, but it is lighter than expected.

This was one of the things that “hit” me on the back of the head as I went back to my normal vehicle. Suddenly, my hydraulically assisted steering felt unusually heavy, and my vehicle was not as nimble as I'd left it in the parking lot hours earlier. There was no room for comparison between the two, but you do need to get away from the Cullinan before you understand what kind of marvel of engineering you have experienced.

The suspension adjusts itself by reading the road ahead with a camera, so it is already prepared for what is next, and the 22-inch wheels do not feel out of place. We expected the suspension to be like this, though, while the steering surprised us, and the Cullinan was lighter on its feet than you might think.

The Cullinan is nimble, yes, as if you could get an elephant to wear stilettos, go jogging in them, and even be until until the point when you require slowing down quickly or rapid and successive changes in direction.

2023 Rolls\-Royce Cullinan Frozen Lakes Special Edition
Photo: Florin Profir for autoevolution.com
Those are the moments when you feel that there is a bit of weight in the vehicle that you are driving. It is there. You had left it somewhere at the back of your mind as you were punching the go-fast pedal and making the V12 generate a lot of heat but no vibration and just the slightest bit of noise - the right kind.

Despite the occasional wide-open-throttle moments, as well as blending highway driving with bumper-to-bumper city traffic, with a dash of country roads in between, the fuel economy was impressive. Just a smudge under 19 liters/100 kilometers (62 mi), which is quite impressive for a 6.75-liter engine in an SUV that weighs 2.6 tons.

Describing the Cullinan as an SUV or a luxury SUV is not entirely correct. In fact, you are selling it short. It is a high-riding luxury vehicle that could tackle more terrain than you might be comfortable with driving your Phantom over while also having a bit more practical feeling to it. Not too much practicality, but just enough to make it a bit more useful, not just taller than anything else on the road.

It is the kind of vehicle that screams, "I made it a long time ago, and I'm BIG right now," but that scream becomes a shriek when the person behind the wheel is not driving responsibly.

Again, the Cullinan is not for that, and attempting otherwise will lead to a minor disappointment. Otherwise, it is a testament to artisanship, and it shows just how well-made a production vehicle can be.

All this comes at a price, and the Cullinan is the most expensive production model in its class.
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About the author: Sebastian Toma
Sebastian Toma profile photo

Sebastian's love for cars began at a young age. Little did he know that a career would emerge from this passion (and that it would not, sadly, involve being a professional racecar driver). In over fourteen years, he got behind the wheel of several hundred vehicles and in the offices of the most important car publications in his homeland.
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