Heading up a ski slope with a Rolls-Royce Cullinan is something that we’ve done before. It feels like yesterday when Rolls-Royce invited me Jackson Hole to see how their first-ever luxury crossover takes on the challenging and steep slopes near Grand Teton National Park. And naturally, the Cullinan feels at home in the snow, but could the same be said about the new Rolls-Royce Ghost? The Cullinan is all-wheel drive but it’s an SUV. The second Ghost is the first sedan or coupe from Rolls-Royce to power all four wheels.
A Trip To Sun Valley
Therefore, Rolls-Royce extended an invitation to join them in Sun Valley, Idaho, for a drive up the mountains, followed by a drifting session in the snow. Sun Valley is not only famous for its beautiful landscape, but also for being the first ski resort established in North America. It was also Hemingway, Gary Cooper and Marylin Monroe, among many others, who helped promote Sun Valley and its surroundings.
So, naturally, current celebrities and billionaires have found a home in Sun Valley where studio-size condo units go for as much as $1.5 million each. And this is exactly the place where a Rolls-Royce would feel at home, strolling quietly on the narrow and quiet roads of Sun Valley, before heading up to ski lodges or private mansions. Our luxury “snowmobiles” for the day were the all-new Rolls-Royce Ghost Black Badge and Cullinan, one of the company’s best selling products today.
The Stunning Saint Tropez
My day starts off behind the wheel of a stunning Rolls-Royce Cullinan in the Saint Tropez color, a paint job that shines under the sun and attracts everyone to it. The vibrant orange built a cult following its introduction on the Rolls-Royce Dawn, but it looks even more imposing on a large vehicle, like the Cullinan. The flashy exterior was paired inside with a classy shade of black, adorned, of course, with some orange inserts. It’s absolutely a combination that makes a statement.
Everything else about the Cullinan is high class as well. It delivers that amazing “Magic Carpet” ride, even on some of the most uneven terrain in the world, driving effortless through banks of snow and icy roads. The all-wheel drive inspires confidence, enforcing again the idea that not every Rolls-Royce should come with a chauffeur. The Cullinan, and of course, the Ghost, delivers even more fun when driven by their owners. The V12 engine, and its 563 horsepower, is silky smooth, yet extremely powerful and fun pushing around the curvy roads surrounding Sun Valley.
Cullinan proves once again that is the Swiss Army of the entire Rolls-Royce family of cars. It does everything well without any compromises, and it’s not surprising that it became an instant hit for the Goodwood-based luxury maker. The second part of my journey finds me in the passenger seat. And now, I could soak in the beautiful landscape and enjoy the luxury amenities found in a Rolls-Royce.
The Alter Ego – Black Badge
But of course, I was more excited to get behind the wheel of the Rolls-Royce Ghost Black Badge. It was just a few months ago when we first met in Miami, at the opposite spectrum of a luxury driving experience. The Ghost Black Badge feels at home on the Ocean Drive, but now it was ready to impress us on snowy roads as well. Rolls-Royce has been working on this for ten years, so as to develop the best riding car the world has ever seen. The Ghost is the first Roller to get the new suspension and it improves not only comfort but also stability.
This new “Planar” suspension also works in tandem with the brand’s “Flagbearer” suspension system, which uses the front camera to scan the road ahead and pre-load the suspension for what’s about to come. This allows the suspension to be ready for a road imperfection ahead of time, rather than reacting to it in real time, thus ironing out bumps before then even happen. And bumpy roads were plenty.
Its all-wheel steering delivers a more agile ride, yet retaining that effortless driving experience. But make no mistake, luxury is still the absolute number one goal in the Ghost. In fact, Chauffeurs are still thought of in the car’s development. For instance, the new Ghost is the first Rolls-Royce to have automatic, power-open doors. For ages, you could 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 doors manually is power assisted.
Despite riding on bumpy and uneven surfaces, the sound insulation is superb, making for the most quiet and serene cabin in the world. Even when riding on noisier winter tires. Dirt, rock and snow are no match for this new Rolls-Royce Ghost, also thanks to its air suspension which constantly adjusts its riding height.
Drifting A Rolls
Yet, Rolls-Royce wanted to show the Black Badge’s darker, alter ego. Owning a Rolls-Royce Black Badge is a lifestyle and the performance side of things is not what drives a Black Badge owner. But when needed, the Rolls-Royce Black Badge models will display their alter ego. And in this case, it was the Cullinan’s turn to show its fun side. Up in the mountains, near a ski lodge, a snow-covered oval-shaped country road awaits for us.
The luxury all-terrain vehicle exhibits its drifting capabilities with both the all-wheel drive systems on or off, spinning its wheels in style. Of course, it’s a lot more exciting to see that Cullinan going sideways when the nanny controls are off. It’s also a statement of how good the all-wheel drive system is. The Cullinan stays composed on the impromptu snow track, even when pushed hard. Regardless of the road conditions.
But being a Rolls-Royce owner is more than just the driving experience. It’s a lifestyle. So while the Rolls serves as the ultimate luxury hauler, it’s the end tail of the journey that excites Rolls’ owners. In this case, that’s either a day on the Bald Mountains or a ride on the many miles of groomed snowmobile trails and off-trail riding to be found throughout the region.
My day also ends in typical Rolls-Royce style: A serene drive back into town where you can find some of the best après ski spots in the world. And this is why Rolls-Royce is, and will always be, one of the most aspirational brands in the world.