As a moderate anti-consumerist (leaning heavily on laziness to support all disinterest in buying new things), it’s painful to acknowledge my extreme attachment to a recent purchase. To even imagine life before I discovered noise-cancelling headphones is to venture into a dark, cacophonous cave without hope for tranquility.

At first, while suffering with brain injury symptoms, these headphones were a necessity. A car alarm or lawn mower would trigger a splitting headache for hours, making over-ear protection my only refuge. As I recovered and my sensitivity to noise lessened, however, my proclivity for serenity didn’t. Re-engaging with friends and long-loved activities was wonderful, but retreating to a silent world all my own never lost its appeal. Thankfully, the two yearnings – social and still – weren’t mutually exclusive. As soon as I was able, I accompanied my wife and close friends on camping trips as far away as my gas-guzzling Land Cruiser would take us.



Camping and cancelling (noise) – I thought these were the only ways to detox from life’s bustle. Then I spent a week with the Rolls-Royce Cullinan Black Badge.

By its very nature, driving in Southern California is not an exercise in calm, yet there isn’t a hint of tension in my shoulders as I breeze along freeways and through crowded parking lots at the helm of Rolls-Royce’s first SUV. Never have I felt so insulated from the wind and road noise; never have I floated so pleasantly over the pock-marked surface of the earth. Acoustic, dual-pane glass and an air suspension system activated by a forward-scanning camera make any drive the equivalent of a stroll through the Royal Botanic Gardens (in well-padded loafers).


Rolls-Royce Cullinan Black Badge


To accelerate in the Cullinan BB is to be propelled forward by a swift-yet-supple current. Nearly 600 horsepower moves nearly 6,000 pounds as if aerodynamics is negotiable. Twelve cylinders churn lazily and almost silently in an undisguised smirk at pure electric powertrains.

Within the moving bank vault are treasures one would expect – lambswool carpets, rich leather surfaces, aluminum accents, and intricate gloss “technical carbon” trim panels. Above each passenger twinkles an array of fiber optic lights, occasionally cascading across the headliner to the “oohs” and “ahhs” of watchful viewers. Tactile details like the cross-stitched dashboard, coarse metal speaker covers, and silky air vent wands are magnets to idle fingers.



Dark chrome exterior touches for the Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament, badges, exhaust finishers, and trim panels echo the muted driving experience. And though this particular Cullinan’s Twilight Purple paint is admittedly at odds with my intent to coast through traffic unnoticed, at least I can’t hear any remarks from within.

Should I wish to double-dip in the saucer of serenity, the Cullinan even makes a willing adventure companion courtesy of a few off-road drive modes and a raiseable suspension. Once off the grid, a pair of optional tailgate chairs and center table can accommodate a few sessions of fresh air meditation or a few glasses of wine.

I choose to stay on paved roads, however, because the Cullinan Black Badge doesn’t discriminate destinations – it brings the calm wherever I roam. No headphones required.