Sophisticated Living Indianapolis

NOV-DEC 2018

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Page 43 of 135

I was understandably anxious about taking a three-ton, $325k SUV up narrow and twisty gravel mountain roads, complete with deep ruts and hairpin turns. Further, Cullinan is so aesthetically pleasing inside and out that I (almost) felt bad about getting it dirty. "at's what it's designed for," Carter assured me, before citing the "It is Effortless, Everywhere" apothegm. Reaching out to the stainless-steel door handle, the SUV lowered slightly for ease of entry. Both front and rear passengers can close the iconic Rolls-Royce coach doors at the push of a button; once they shut, there is an immediate sense of being securely ensconced in the luxury confines, thanks to more than 220 pounds of sound-deadening insulation. All four doors wrap low under the sill to ensure that dirt remains outside. Once the start button is depressed, Cullinan returns to its commanding ride height. Our first challenge of the day was ascending Snow King Mountain, the steepest overall slope of any ski hill in North America. A simple push of a button on the center console activated Off Road mode. From there I used the Spirit of Ecstasy controller to select the road condition I was expecting, and away we went. What I was immediately struck by was the shock absorption. In a lesser car, I almost assuredly would have needed to visit a chiropractor following the incessant jostling. Confident in the Cullinan's agile handling, my senses switched to focus on the sound, or rather lack thereof. You could discern the muffled pop and crunch of pebbles and larger stones as the SUV's 22-inch wheels powered along, but there was no audible indication that the engine was being taxed in the least by the steep climb. Steering was a breeze, and having to wrangle the steering wheel to stay on course was never an issue. I was amazed by the way the substantial SUV seemed to bow around tight corners. In fact, I was so relaxed in the off-road environs that I found myself stealing glances of the Tetons splayed out before us. Having to undertake a three-point turn on one particularly sharp curve with a sheer drop, I was immensely grateful for the 4-Camera system with Panoramic View, all-round visibility and helicopter view, as well as the impressive torque that delivered me authoritatively from the edge. At the top of the mountain, our entourage took a break to admire the snow-capped peaks, compare notes with our fellow drivers, and check out some of the other features of Cullinan. e SUV's two-part 'D-Back' format tailgate is designed as a nod to an era when luggage was mounted on the exterior of the motorcar. 'e Clasp' opens and closes in two sections with a touch of the key fob button. Another push of a button in the boot or rear door pocket enables the rear seats to fold flat and create an impressive amount of cargo space. After exhausting every photo opportunity presented by the picturesque precipice, our group loaded back up for the descent. I couldn't help but remember the last time I was in a similar situation 42

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