Bajaj Platina H Gear review: Riding in the (H)igher gear!
What is a Platina H Gear? Before that, what is an H Gear? Even before that, what is this gear? Most of the commuter motorcycle in the market use a 4-speed gearbox. Then there are motorcycles that are slowly shifting towards the performance bracket, which use a 5-speed gearbox. And then there are 6… let’s not go there. So, the Bajaj Platina has always had 4 gears and Bajaj decided to add one more and call it H Gear. LHS = RHS, hence proved that H Gear is the 5th gear… But is it really that? Here’s the Platina H Gear review.
There are not a lot of things in the world that are good at or better yet, champions of multiple things. That being said, there are some that are. Bajaj’s Platina is one of those things. With a long history and most of it circling around the motorcycle being the mileage champion, Bajaj did not have a lot to do to keep a product like that going in a country like India. It nailed the answer to the biggest question in India which is ‘kitna deti hai?’
But that did not stop the company to keep reinventing their workhorse and for good reason, stagnancy has never gotten anyone, or anything, anywhere. Bajaj kept working to improve one of the most important aspects of this class of motorcycles i.e. comfort. And the results were out there as well. The latest, in a bid to improve their already established brand, is the Bajaj Platina H Gear. Here’s what we could gather about this rather… interesting motorcycle from the first ride.
I don’t think this part should be included in the review of the Bajaj Platina H Gear, much less in the first ride review. But since there are a few things that should be brought to the fore regarding the looks of this motorcycle, we will. Firstly, the design is roughly the same, albeit with a few changes, most notably, the graphics.
The new Platina H Gear now follows a more Discover-esque graphics scheme. The decals try to provide to the motorcycle with a refreshed look but then, that is all it is… a refresh. The Platina badging on the tank is now a proper badge replacing the old-school sticker work.
The next thing that draws the most attention is the new seat. The seat, already best in the industry in terms of length, is now a quilt pattern or rather, ribbed to provide more comfort and somewhat enhance the looks.
Amidst all that, the most understated feature in the looks department is the console. The digital console (in addition to the analogue speedo) now displays not only the gear position but features a gear shift guide that tells you when to upshift and when to downshift. Apart from that, we have the battery indicator, fuel indicator, a trip meter and most importantly, a CLOCK!
Performance ehh? IT IS A COMMUTER! Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk engine. The new Platina H Gear has the same 115cc engine as the Platina 110, but this one gets an H Gear. The power and torque figures are respectable considering the cubic capacity and largely comparable with the other bikes in the class.
Thumb the starter and it treats you with a familiar commuter exhaust note as it settles into idle. The difference comes in when you shift into the first gear. The Platina H Gear gets link-type gearshift and the difference is more than palpable. The gearshifts are smooth and positive and are comparable to bikes of a higher class. The being said, it might even beat some lesser ones from a higher class in this regard.
Let the clutch go and it… well, the friction zone of the clutch arrives a bit farther which is a bit odd. Nonetheless, the bike starts moving and the pull reminds you of the numbers on paper which suggest that the Platina H Gear has more torque than most of the competition.
Keep shifting up or err down and the Platina H Gear accelerates faster than a commuter should. The engine feels mostly refined with mild vibrations creeping in through the handlebars when you wring it to the edge of the rev-range. This is an ode to another department where Bajaj has put a lot of work in- NVH levels.
Talking about the gearbox, what the 5th gear or H Gear or Highway Gear or Happy Gear (way too many ways it can go) is, in every sense of the word, is overdrive. Roll-on acceleration, there isn’t much and the pull in the H Gear or 5th gear is not something to write home about. The point is, it is not meant for that. That gear is meant for cruising on the highways and it is not very different from the 4th gear in terms of acceleration or top end. The difference between these two gears is the stress on the engine.
Stated above is the fact that, if the situation presents itself, the 5th gear may not be enough to overtake someone on a highway. And you do not do that on a Platina. So, does it serve a purpose? Yes. What is the purpose of it then? To help you cruise at relatively higher speeds on the highway without making it feel like a mixer grinder on work to make some shake on a hot summer afternoon!
Now, the gear position indicator is a nifty addition. Even more so for people like me, who are used to the 1-down rest-up gear shift pattern as compared to the all-down on the Platina H Gear. What leaves a little something to be desired is the gear shift guide. It is a bit too eager when it comes to upshifts and a bit too lazy when it comes to downshifts. A little more time and effort in this handy piece of feature is surely going to help the Platina H Gear in taking a significant step forward in this regard.
Handling and ergonomics
This is one department where the motorcycle has evolved a lot. Like we said earlier. After nailing the mileage part, Bajaj went in search for maximum comfort on the Platina and the latest iteration, Platina H Gear, is what we have on our hands as a result of that. The handlebars are high, the seat at 807mm is low and the footrests are forward-set.
It makes for a really comfortable rider’s triangle which will make sure that long hours in the saddle of the Platina H Gear will not get tiresome. The refined motor, comfortable ergonomics and a very comfortable seat also help the matter. For taller riders though, you may have to move a bit back into the seat in order to be able to sit more comfortably. That is something that won’t bother the pillion because of the long seat.
The handling of the motorcycle is also quite sorted. The suspension is not SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS!! (‘you are breathtaking’, if you said that out loud). It does not shift the front to a different dimension under braking. This provides the Platina H Gear with good handling characteristics. But on very bad roads, it may seem a bit too stiff.
Braking shines the brightest amongst the characteristics of the Platina H Gear. Almost too bright, almost. The front brake is fantastic and brings the bike to a halt in a jiffy and the Anti-skid braking on offer by Bajaj does its job well. What is Anti-skid braking? It applies the front brake to some extent when you go a touch too hard on the rear in order to keep things in line. A handy feature but if a touch too hard becomes too hard, the rear does skid.
Bajaj also stated that they have stiffened the swingarm in order to provide the motorcycle with more stability, which was evident on the highways as the bike does not lose its composure when bigger vehicles pass by. The tyres work well in conjunction with the rest of the motorcycle and while we did not get a chance to ride in the rain (not a lot of rain anyway), we believe that these will provide enough grip even in wet conditions.
Mileage: This department is going to be absolutely nailed by the Platina H Gear. Maybe even more than the Platina 100 because of the additional 5h gear. Anyway, ARAI figure is 84 km/l, Bajaj claims 70+ km/l, and we cannot comment because we need more time with the bike to come up with it.
Rearview mirrors: The mirrors are big, placed well and give you a clear view and some of it goes to them remaining mostly buzz-free.
Headlight: We cannot comment on the effectiveness of the headlight as we did not get a chance to ride the motorcycle after dark. Those who have ridden the previous Platina 110 (sans the H Gear) can expect the performance of the headlight to be the same.
Build quality: There is no doubt that the motorcycle is built sturdily and finished well too. The Comfortec stamping on the seat and the 3D logo on the tank are neat touches as well.
Exhaust note: Platina. That is all there is to it. If there was someone who expected more, we are sorry.
The new Bajaj Platina H Gear has a lot of things going for it. Good brakes, generally refined engine, more comfort, and the magic number (in the commuter class) 5 i.e. the H Gear. It excels in most of the departments it is supposed to and has no glaring flaws to discourage a buying decision. In fact, it is just a very good motorcycle… damn! And then the H Gear is something that differs from just another gear or 5th gear by being something that does not disturb the tried and tested 4-speed formula. It is there to just comfort you and be there for you…
The Platina H Gear, in most departments, is better or comparable to its rivals and yet, it has not affected the price in an adverse manner. At INR 53,376 (Ex-Showroom) for the drum variant and INR 55,373 (Ex-Showroom) for the disc variant, the Platina H gear has got the pricing right too. Let’s just keep it simple and just say, “If you are out in the market looking for an affordable commuter that offers you a bit more than what an affordable commuter should, the new Platina H Gear deserves a look.”
KTM RC 125 Review: Small on displacement, big on commitment!
A little more than 7 months ago, KTM launched the 125 Duke in India. Came with it, a lot of hoopla surrounding the price of the motorcycle despite being a 125cc and a lot of numbers (and therefore moolah) for KTM. And since it is an established fact that every engine serves as a platform for various categories of motorcycles, we now have a KTM RC 125 on our hands! 125cc, a rather high introductory price and requiring much more commitment from the rider, the RC 125 has a mountain of a task in front of it. Maybe 125 Duke did well because it was Duke enough. But is the KTM RC 125 RC enough? Let’s find out.
In this department, yes, the KTM RC 125 is RC enough. Why? Because it looks exactly the same. It looks exactly like the KTM RC 200 and the reason for that is that it is. Almost all the components have been carried over from the RC 200. The frame, the suspension, the geometry etc. everything is the same. And it isn’t a bad thing because if I had an RC when I was in college, I would have gotten way more friendship bands than I did… or maybe not.
The point is, the KTM RC 125 definitely looks good. A big reason for why the 125 Duke did good numbers would have been the way it looks. Add full-fairing and voila, instant gratification. It gets two dual-tone colour: Black & white + orange and black & orange + more orange. In my opinion, the former looks a bit subtle while the latter kinda justifies the tagline, MOTO GP GENE.
Now, let’s talk differences. The first obvious difference is the colour scheme and in my opinion, the KTM RC 125 is the best looking RC. The colour scheme is really youthful punchy, and thus very alluring. I am sure that a lot of youngsters will want this to be their first motorcycle on which they… you know what I am talking about. Another thing is, the frame isn’t orange. I see the KTM RC 125 kneeled in an Austrian Church saying, “Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned.” Or maybe it was the designers.
Build quality is important and a bit more so in the case of fully-faired motorcycles because of the plastic panels and stuff. After all, you don’t want your fully-faired attention grabber to sound like a Rattle. Thankfully, the KTM RC 125 has a very good build quality and finish. Solidly built and fitted plastic parts, no uneven gaps and no particularly offensive weld marks.
The same can be said for the switchgear. The buttons have a good tactile feel and they are illuminated too, always a nice touch. The digital instrument cluster is the same tiny orange backlit unit which is full of information. Personally, I would like to see it change but… psst, price!
I do not know whether to refer to this section as exciting or not so exciting. The reason for that is that the KTM RC 125 looks very fast but it is just a 125cc which might be a bit of a letdown after that first-look-I’ma be fast feeling. 14.5 PS of power and 12 Nm of torque aren’t really numbers to brag about. But then, when you ride the motorcycle after realizing that it is just 125cc, it blows you away. Let me explain…
The KTM RC 125 borrows its engine from the KTM 125 Duke and the only difference is the shorter gearing (probably to compensate for the acceleration lost due to increased weight). The power delivery is somewhat linear but there’s no doubt that this little RC is peaky. The real pull is felt when after around 7000 rpm. And with spot-on fueling, the KTM RC 125 does give you a taste of frenzy that is inherent to the bigger KTMs.
On the track, it does not feel lacking except on the straight. After 80 km/h, it starts to fade. While the speedo-indicated 118 km/h that I was able to do on the track is impressive considering the bike’s weight (and mine), it took a good drive out of the bowl at the Chakan track and braking late at the end of the straight to get there. I won’t conceal the fact that the fairing (and the resultant aerodynamic efficiency) also had a part to play. Now, the peaky nature may be fun to exploit on the track, but how it fares on public roads, we have to see.
The transmission is 6-speed and I really liked the gearbox on the KTM RC 125. It’s slick, positive and the clutch is also light. The shorter gearing does incite quick shifts, but the light clutch and the fantastic gear shifts help to skim through the gearbox and feel like a racer. The clutch will be a boon in the city as well where the motorcycle is surely going to need a lot of gear changes. Stunning roll-on acceleration was something I was not expecting from the bike and it did not prove me wrong. Want to accelerate? Shift down.
About cruising (sorry RC), if the highway that you are on has a speed limit of 80 km/h (and you have the will to abide), the motorcycle will be sitting in the 6th-gear without a hint of stress on the engine. The engine is quite refined and only mild vibrations are tangible around the top of the rev-range. Overall, for a 125cc, the KTM RC 125 is pretty enjoyable.
Handling and Ergonomics
This is one part where a KTM can never be NOT exciting. The RC family connection of the KTM RC 125 is the most evident in this department. Trellis frame, 43mm USD forks, 10-step adjustable monoshock at the back, low-set triple clamps, rear set footpegs, and what not. Everything has been carried over from the bigger RCs and KTM has cut no corners in this regard to make sure it feels like a thoroughbred around a bend. And we are glad to report that it does!
Talking about ergonomics first, this is an RC and RC stands for Race Competition. So predictably, the riding position is very committed and one has to lean forward quite a bit to reach the handlebars. It might not be very comfortable for long hauls but not a lot of people will be doing that on this particular motorcycle. For the track, it is spot-on. The recesses on the tank make it easy to hold on to the bike with the knees. The fairing and the windshield cut through the air efficiently and once properly tucked in, it is all that one can ask for.
The handling of the motorcycle is fantastic. The turn-ins are quick, quick changes in direction are a breeze, it feels planted mid-corner and the straight line stability is also pretty great. The trellis frame does that to motorcycles so no wonder that the KTM RC 125 is such a confidence-inspiring motorcycle.
The suspension is also very well set up for a track and yet, I believe that it will do well on the public roads sprinkled with mildly bad patches of tarmac. The reason for that is that we found a place to test that on the track and it was surprising how pliant the suspension is despite performing well on the track. And all that, with no adjustments at all!
This is one of those motorcycles on which you feel confident right out of the box even if you are on a track the layout of which you are not aware of. Even when I was doing my best to go as fast as I can, it just kept egging me to push more. I was pretty far from the limits of the motorcycle but pretty close to mine.
Now, I did not want to stop riding at all even though it was raining, I had to go back to the pit after the rain intensified. While my saddle time suffered, what I learnt was that the tyres on this motorcycle are pretty good. They had ample grip in the dry and in the wet too, they didn’t feel nervous or anything. So, we can safely say that the tyres are pretty good and are fit for a motorcycle the forte of which is phenomenal handling.
I don’t want to talk brakes because all the KTMs that I have ridden have awesome brakes. The KTM RC 125 is no different. The 300mm disc at the front with Bybre callipers have ample bite and a progressive feel at the lever. Awesome stuff.
Mileage: Obviously we did not get to test the mileage but since the engine has been carried over from the 125 Duke, 40+ km/l does not seem unlikely.
Rear-view mirrors: The rear-view mirrors are lovely offering a wide view of what’s going on in the back and they are devoid of any buzz that’d distort the image.
Exhaust note: KTM. Nothing special. It’s not particularly good, or particularly bad. It’s just… KTM. Some may like it and some may not.
The verdict that we have will be very hard to justify. The KTM RC 125 is a wonderful and fun little motorcycle. You are on the verge of saying aww when you look at the numbers 125 on the fairing. But show it a corner and it will be as ferocious and as RC as the other family members. It has a lot of premium components like the brakes from Bybre, suspension from WP, twin projector headlamps, LED taillamps, blinkers integrated into the rear-view mirrors, and the list goes on. But still, an introductory price of INR 1.47 Lakhs (Ex-showroom) is very hard to justify. Especially in a country like ours where the preference is displacement.
We felt the same way about the 125 Duke but the actual sales exceeded expectations and it is still going strong. The KTM RC 125 though may have it a bit more difficult because it weighs more, is a bit peaky and the committed riding position is not everyone’s cup of tea. And then it is more expensive too. What will happen to the KTM RC 125 in the market is something we’ll see, till then let’s talk buyers.
Youngsters love fully-faired motorcycles. KTM RC 125 is fully-faired and it looks smashing with the colour scheme. There you have the first set. The second set is comprised of people who’ll be able to appreciate (after trying rather hard) the premium components on duty in the baby RC. The third set is on the more serious side of the spectrum- the youngsters who want to race. And for them, the KTM RC 125 can be a perfect tool because of power that is not overwhelming and yet, handling that can help one to hone their skills on the track. There can be more sets but according to us, this is where the mass will be centred. All in all, with a fantastic package, the KTM RC 125 is a knee-slidin’ welcome to the world of KTM, though at a price.
And here are some more photos…
Rolls-Royce of Diamonds : Cullinan driven in Dubai
What does it take to create a brand that is a benchmark for all the other brands in the world in terms of aspiration and respect? A brand that is used by the whole world as a metaphor to denote quality and desirability. Such a thing cannot be achieved by any amount of planning. It is serendipitous by nature. That is where the Rolls-Royce of brands comes in. See what we did there?
Being motorcyclists, we were, until now, used to hearing about ‘Brough Superior’ as the Rolls-Royce of motorcycles- one of the rare instances when a motorcycle is compared with a car to denote its quality. And we got the answer to why it is so when we got to drive the Rolls-Royce of SUVs (literally), the Cullinan, for more than 600 kilometres in Dubai.
If we go over that dune over there at around 150 km/h, we’ll be in the air for at least 5 seconds… Let’s NOT do that!
Even a fleeting first glance at Cullinan is enough to deem it a Rolls-Royce. The bold ‘Parthenon’ grille, the crafted headlights, the ‘coach’ doors, the intertwined Rs and of course, Eleanor, the Spirit of Ecstasy (if she’s out catching the sun that is) – all of these things are a part of every car that is a Rolls-Royce. And all of these things are imposed even more firmly on the onlookers because of the sheer size of the Rolls-Royce Cullinan.
The Cullinan is big… deceptively big. It is around 5.3m long, 1.8m tall, 2m wide and weighs around 2753 Kg (Curb). It has been designed (and built) around the Rolls-Royce Phantom which has been winning hearts the world over since its launch and is a benchmark for the cars in its class (IF THERE ARE ANY!). So the expectations of the people for the Rolls-Royce Cullinan were more than the size of the car itself. And when it finally came out, the views regarding it have been polarized. That is mostly because no one was ready for the Rolls-Royce design ideology being employed to build an SUV.
“Hello there, good sir. Is your camel stuck?”
Coming back to the Rolls-Royce Cullinan, we do not expect people to fall in love with it at first sight. This is one of the cars that grows on you. Spending some quality time with it, which one obviously does when they are in a Rolls-Royce, is the way to go about it. The more time you spend with it, the more you notice the silhouette, the lines, the contours, the obsessive attention to detail and the functionality that they represent. And that is how it happens. That is how you fall in love with it… slowly. And we all know that is the best kind.
While the beautiful exteriors do coerce one to stay out, the stately interiors are a bit too tempting to resist and we are just humans. Before we share that experience with you, let us tell you that everything pertaining to a Rolls-Royce, be it touching the door handles and opening the door to letting out soft sobs when they take it away from you, is something that is to be accounted for. So, be patient and let yourself be cocooned in serene luxury as you experience the Rolls-Royce Cullinan, through us.
The headlamps of the Rolls-Royce Cullinan not only comply with the traditional Rolls-Royce design ideology, but it is as high-tech as they come. The laser headlamps on it are touted to have an effective range of 600 metres.
We cheekily mentioned that even touching the door handle of the Rolls-Royce Cullinan is an experience. Except, we were not being cheeky. One opens the door of this car like a traditional car door (the front row) but for closing it, there’s a little button on the door handle that does it for you. And predictably, there’s a button for that on the inside as well. That is close sesame for you, the missing piece of the puzzle.
Step inside the Rolls-Royce Cullinan and you can just smell the amount of top-grade leather that is generously used on the interior. Apart from the regular places like the dash cover, the seats, the steering and such, there’s leather on the key and even the bloody climate control knob! When we finally got over that somehow, we noticed the Spirit of Ecstasy logo embossed in the leather on the door panel. All that makes us wonder who keeps a note of what all has to be added and installed in a Rolls-Royce. The person must have a notebook the size of the Moon… damn! And why did we take the moon for an analogy, because we gather that Rolls-Royce would not settle for anything less than the Rolls-Royce of satellites orbiting our planet!
Spirit of Ecstasy, the famous hood ornament of Rolls-Royce is one of the most significant pieces that deem a car as Rolls-Royce. Eleanor, leaning forward with her arms outstretched behind and slightly above her, has not been the only ornament that Rolls-Royce cars have adorned. It had a precursor in the form of ‘The Whisper’ which was sculpted by Charles Robinson Sykes. Eleanor Velasco Thornton was chosen as the model on which Sykes modelled the sculpture. The Whisper was followed by ‘The Spirit of Speed’ which largely resembled the current version. And after that, with small alterations, the Spirit of Ecstasy came into being. The Spirit of Ecstasy is not only retractable but also features an anti-theft mechanism where it automatically retracts if struck from any direction which makes it near impossible to separate the flying lady from her throne, a Rolls-Royce.
The Spirit of Ecstasy and the spirit of photography… or videography.
The next thing we would like to tell you is that you have never seen floor mats like the ones in this car, never. These things are exquisite and make you curse your perfect leather boots to the point that you’d want to throw them out of the car through its perfect windows. When one is finally seated and admiring the commanding position one has over the car and the road in the driving seat, they’ll notice that they do not have a clock on board. But there is one, look over on the passenger side and there it is, analogue and beautiful, albeit a bit hard to read for the driver. But we gather that there are a lot of people who would appreciate the beauty of analogue (and paper, just like the xBhp print magazine), especially if someone like Count Dracula might want to travel in it. Alright, we are getting too bloody cheesy now, pun not intended.
The Cullinan is big… deceptively big. It is around 5.3m long, 1.8m tall, 2m wide and weighs around 2753 Kg (Curb). It has been designed (and built) around the Rolls-Royce Phantom which has been winning hearts the world over since its launch and is a benchmark for the cars in its class (IF THERE ARE ANY!).
So now that we are seated, let us talk about the seats. The seats are heated, of course, but did you know that even the armrests are heated? And that the seats have a massage function? This car has the ability to shower the occupants with love by offering them 8 different types of massages to choose from, all of which have 3 intensity levels. That’s 24 variants of massages and probably more than the number of massages that we have had in our lives up till this point.
Now, these are controlled by the infotainment screen that controls the various aspects of the car but most importantly, you can raise or lower the Spirit of Ecstasy on the hood using this menu. THAT is something that one NEEDS to do at least twice every hour that they spend with a Rolls-Royce just as we did.
There is a new double-wishbone setup up front and a five-link rear axle, with a redesigned self-levelling air suspension whose air struts have a bigger volume that makes for an unbelievably smooth ride.
Coming to the infotainment screen, in addition to the plethora of options and guides (with actual animations), it shows you the feed from the various cameras installed. Now, we have a reversing camera, a top-down 360° camera which allows one to zoom in on one particular area, but most importantly, there’s an option for a panoramic view which is bonkers, because it shows the full view of the car as one moves it around! And panoramic reminds us that there’s a sunroof or Panorama Sunroof as Rolls-Royce calls it, which is one of the biggest we have ever seen. Move it fully towards the back and it almost feels like you are in a roadster!
Moving towards the rear, the door handles, like the front ones, have a button, both outside and inside, to close the doors. The rear door is ‘coach’ style i.e. the doors are rear-hinged and we’d like a moment to stress on the fact that these doors make getting in the car so easy that you can just fall inside the car.
The Rolls-Royce Cullinan’s cabin is as silent as it can get without being referred to as a vacuum. It is stated that more than 100 kg of sound suppressing material has been used to achieve that level of quietness in the cabin. The double-glazed 6mm glass, thickest in the industry, is just one of those materials. And then The tyres of this car are filled with foam so as to reduce the rolling noise of the tyres.
Another traditional addition is the umbrella in the rear door panel which comes out with the click of a button, a class act. The car’s interior has been sprinkled with real wooden panels at all the right places that take the whole appearance of the interiors to another level.
Coming to the rear seats, there are two separate chairs between which you have two wooden panels. The upper one is a mini-fridge to store that Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Romanée-Conti Grand Cru of yours and then there’s another one below for glasses so that you can have a gala time as you are chauffeured around in the Rolls-Royce Cullinan. Even the headrests in this car are electrically operated via ergonomically placed buttons. Now one thing that will stand out is the lack of a screen. But it’s a Rolls-Royce and there aren’t many things on the planet that it lacks in.
‘Dusty Roads’… only, the Cullinan does not have to wrestle them.
Small things matter. The significance of this adage increases manifold when one wants to make a statement and not just car and the Rolls-Royce Cullinan is just that. The centrepiece of the wheel stays stationary even when the car is on the move so as to keep the RR logo upright.
In front of each of the seats, there are two buttons on either side. One of them unfolds a tray and the second one switches the screen on and tilts it for an appropriate viewing angle. And there it is, your infotainment screen which was neatly tucked away in the plush leather of the front seat.
Another thing that one notices about a Cullinan is the glass which separates the rear seats from the cargo area! Because of course, once in a Cullinan, one must be engulfed in tranquillity and not be materialistic! On a serious note, it is probably there for noise isolation or if a stray gust of wind tries to disturb the perfectly maintained temperature of your Cullinan upon opening of the boot.
The quietness inside the cabin while driving or being driven around in this car deserves a whole section for it. The engine is near silent, there’s no noise from the tyres, there is no wind noise and there is no noise from the outside world. An estimated 100 kilograms of sound snubbing materials have been used all around the car in addition to the 6mm thick glass to achieve the cabin silence with which you travel in a Cullinan. That is ingeni-outrage-ous… we should stay away from nomenclature.
Moving towards the rear of the car, the tailgate of the Rolls-Royce Cullinan can be opened in 2 ways; there’s a button in the front (driver’s area) which if pulled, opens the tailgate and if pushed, closes it and the traditional way would be like it is done in other cars. But, the tailgate is split and it opens like this; the top part goes up first and then the bottom bit comes out to form a ‘bench’ sort of a thing. This ‘bench’, if the option is selected, can feature a set of comfy leather seats and a classy picnic table in between because who knows when one decides to have a glass of wine at the back of their Cullinan with their amore.
When one has around 600 km to explore the United Arab of Emirates in a Rolls-Royce Cullinan, it is easy to get carried away with the vast expanse of the region and the sheer panache of the car. One of those instances led us to this abandoned place in Al-Madina near Dubai. The place was devoid of almost any type of life form and the deathly silence was eerie, even more so after finding out that the place is supposedly haunted. Our Cullinan though is a brave soul though, unflustered as always.
We could not determine if the place was haunted or not but it was deserted for sure. And deserted places mean a peaceful photography session devoid of any disturbance.
Now there are people who think that expensive luxury cars cannot be utilitarian. This car hopes to beat those people up with a stick, a luxurious one of course, for thinking that way. It features 540 L of boot space and an additional 40 L can be obtained by removing the parcel shelf for a total of 600 L! The boot floor can also be moved up and down electronically to prevent any snags when the rear seats are folded, electronically of course. Usually, that is where one draws a line but with a Rolls-Royce but they don’t want to. They just want to keep discovering these little quirks that make this car a true Rolls-Royce.
Coming to the performance of the car, the Rolls-Royce Cullinan is no slouch despite being all stately… and heavy. The 6.75 L V-12 engine makes 563 bhp of power and 850 Nm of torque. It can reach 100 km/h from a standstill in about 5-seconds. The top speed, though limited to 250 km/h, is enough to ruffle some feathers. But the ruffling would be limited to the mere mortals outside. The passenger(s) may not even be aware of what brutality the engine is dishing out because, in all probability, the only sound in the cabin would be Beethoven.
The tailgate is split and it opens like this; the top part goes up first and then the bottom bit comes out to form a ‘bench’ sort of a thing. This ‘bench’, if the option is selected, can feature a set of comfy leather seats and a classy picnic table in between because who knows when one decides to have a glass of wine at the back of their Cullinan with their amore.
The chassis of this car is a skillfully crafted aluminium spaceframe which also serves as the base of the venerable Phantom. There is a new double-wishbone setup up front and a five-link rear axle, with a redesigned self-levelling air suspension whose air struts have a bigger volume that makes for an unbelievably smooth ride. It almost glides over the imperfections, off of the tarmac, just like the other Rolls-Royce cars do on the road.
“Who made these tyre tread marks in this perfectly desert-y sand? Show yourself at once!”
The Rolls-Royce Cullinan is not just a Rolls-Royce, it is a proper SUV which was more than evident when we decided to have ourselves some sand time in the desert. Despite all the action going on outside, the ride is just as smooth and the cabin just as quiet which is almost saddening… or maybe not.
The ‘ship of the desert’ and an uber-luxurious superyacht… in the desert!
“Yes! You are the superyacht buddy!”
Some experiences are like milestones in one’s life and experiencing a Rolls-Royce is definitely one. And the Cullinan is as Rolls-Royce as possible despite being an SUV. It has the same attention to detail, it is built around the same ethos and it wants to smother its occupants with opulence just as much as any other Rolls-Royce. Once one experiences the Cullinan, they can’t help but be forlorn when it’s away. We wonder if the Cullinan would feel the same way if it was animate… Ah well, even if it did, it would have walked away with that traditional and oh-so-familiar grace without a trace of being shaken.
The World’s Most Expensive SUV?
Yes. It means many other things than just that. It is an indication of one’s status, one’s dreams, lifestyle and much more. And it is not just about the price tag. It is also about the marquee that you see on the steering, on the wheels and the gasps that it elicits from everything big and small on the road. It is like Aladdin’s Magic Carpet on which the biblical Moses is astride, for when you are in the Cullinan, the traffic on the road seems to be part. As a motorcyclist, we have ridden the most amazing two-wheelers on the planet, however, it is but hard to ignore that driving a Rolls-Royce, let alone owning one, has to be one of the most desirable modern-day material sins one can hope to indulge in…
Dubai… almost matches up to the Cullinan in opulence, almost.
Last But not the least, an overview of what goes inside the Cullinan…