Rolls-Royce's Cullinan proves that it can be equally at home in hunting gear as it is in black-tie attire
Cool behemoth: Rolls-Royce's Cullinan The Cullinan retains Rolls-Royce's famed "magic carpet" ride, composed chassis and serene cabin. PHOTO: LIONEL SEAH

ackson Hole, Wyoming, is a rugged outpost famous for its wilderness and ski resorts.

Its rugged terrain is ideal for putting Rolls-Royce's first sport utility vehicle - the Cullinan - to the test. And as bizarre as it may seem, the car takes to the great outdoors with ease.

At a hill-climb segment at Snow King Mountain proving ground, I simply press the "Off Road" button, raising the Cullinan's air suspension 40mm and let the automatic all-wheel-drive apportion traction to get the job done.

Although the Cullinan, at 2,660kg, is the heaviest Rolls-Royce, its heft does not pose a huge deficit. The car's 6.75-litre V12 - used in the flagship Phantom - has been re-tuned to make 850Nm of torque from 1,600rpm, versus 900Nm at 1,700rpm in the Phantom. This helps get the tall Roller up the hill.

Going downhill is just as easy. Press the Hill Descent button and set the desired speed. All you do is steer.

Despite its size, the Cullinan is more manoeuvrable than the Rolls-Royce Ghost, which shares its 3,295mm wheelbase. All-wheel steering reduces its turning circle by 0.2m to 13.2m.

To assist the driver around steep drops and narrow passes, the car has a BMW-derived 360-degree, 3D camera system.

Its enhanced visibility, light steering and air suspension contribute to the car's offroad capability.

On gravel roads and bumpy dirt tracks, its foam-padded 22-inch Continental tyres provide a quiet, cushioned ride.

The car will also wade through mildly flooded sections (up to 540mm) - equivalent to what average SUVs are capable of, but nowhere close to Range Rover's 900mm.

On paved tarmac, it behaves better than any other SUV, retaining Rolls-Royce's famed "magic carpet" ride, composed chassis and serene cabin. Its swiftness - zero to 100kmh in 5.2 seconds - does not hurt either.

The car's 21/2 box, bustle-tail design polarises. Yet, it is unmistakably a Rolls-Royce, with its upright stainless-steel grille, Spirit of Ecstasy, self-levelling RR-logo wheel caps and rear-hinged coach doors.

Its cabin is more familiar, with its unblemished Bavarian leather seats, "Prada-style" leather upper dash, deep-pile lamb-wool carpets and ebony panels. Stainless steel-embellished switchgear complete the opulence.

Rear passenger space is vast. In fact, it is roomier than a Ghost or an extended Range Rover.

A powered split-tailgate opens up to a 600-litre boot. Powered rear seats can be flipped down to increase load capacity to 1,930 litres.

All these make the Cullinan a quintessential ultra-luxe SUV. It shares the same quietness, comfort, refinement and bespoke opulence of its siblings. But because of its off-road capabilities, it is easily the most versatile Roller, making it suitable for all manner of everyday tasks.

Even if you happen to be in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.