When Rolls-Royce first debuted the Cullinan, it was said to be genuinely capable at off-roading, not just driving up the gravel driveway of a summer house in The Hamptons. Despite those claims, most enthusiasts are skeptical at best of the Cullinan’s off-road capabilities. It is a $400,000-plus luxury SUV, not exactly your ideal off-roader. However, Emme Hall from CNET’s Roadshow was able to put the Rolls-Royce Cullinan to the test like no one ever has before, in the Rebelle Rally.
The Rebelle Rally is the first-ever women’s off-road endurance rally race in America and it’s done without any GPS navigation. Instead, it’s all done with good a old fashioned map and compass. Hall and her navigator Rebecca Donaghe won their classification in the last Rebelle Rally using a Jeep Wrangler. This time, they raced in a $400,000 Rolls-Royce Cullinan. Talk about switching it up.
Their Rally took them through the deserts of Nevada and California; through deep sand and pitted roads; far away from its natural environment of Beverly Hills. And Hall and Donaghe did it on winter tires. I actually spoke with a Rolls-Royce representative about this a little while back and she told me there weren’t any off-road tires that would fit the Cullinan’s wheels at the time, so they had to use winter tires in the brutal desert heat. Not exactly ideal and likely why several of them blew out.
Still, despite driving a 6,000 lb, $400,000 Rolls-Royce Cullinan on winter tires, Hall and Donaghe finished the Rebelle Rally in first place in their class. Obviously, it’s an impressive victory for the Rolls, which was far out of its typical comfort zone and without the proper tires, yet succeeded anyway. In fact, Hall feels that it could have even competed with proper 4x4s if it had a set of all-terrain tires.
Even more impressive were Hall and Donaghe, though. They took a luxury SUV that’s designed for street cruising on improper tires to some of the harshest environments in the United States and still managed to win their class, thanks to skill, determination and some all-American can-do attitude. That also makes them the only team to have ever won the Rebelle Rally twice and they did it in different vehicles, in different classes. Incredible.