Off-Roading

Rolls-Royce owner from the UAE pushes Cullinan's Magic Carpet Ride to the extreme

This Rolls-Royce Culliinan was pushed to its limits in Dubai.

Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is home to one of the most well-known sand dunes on Earth, Moreeb Dune. The challenging landscape of that, and other dunes across the nation's landscape are punishing on even the best of off-roaders. This includes the Rolls-Royce Cullinan.

A Cullinan owner from the UAE recently put his Rolls-Royce SUV to the test, pushing its Magic Carpet Ride ride and promised "effortless everywhere" drive experience to the limit. Thankfully, it was all captured on video and in photos (see below).

Led by the car's illuminated Spirit of Ecstasy, the car awakens from its parking area and hits the road. Pavement rolls out in front of the black Cullinan as it speeds down a patch of asphalt between two horizons of golden sand. Suddenly, the viewer is taken off-road, onto the sand, where the Cullinan hightails it across a flat patch as sand is thrown from under the tires and spewed toward the camera. Drifting commences, in slow motion and real time, with sand dancing around the SUV like water from the Bellagio's fountains. Cullinan ascends a dune, rides along the ridge, the sun sets.

Rolls-Royce Cullinan in the United Arab Emirates

Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

While the video is possible thanks to a number of different video techniques, the drive is possible thanks to Cullinan's engineering. The drivetrain of the Cullinan was engineered to do just one key job explained Caroline Krismer, Engineering Project Leader for the Cullinan upon its debut in 2018, "To bring the famed Rolls-Royce 'Magic Carpet Ride' to all other terrains possible, while ensuring class-leading on-road behaviour in the SUV sector."

The famous Magic Carpet Ride benefits from Cullinan's lightweight platform, dubbed the Architecture of Luxury, and self-leveling air suspension. There's larger struts on the Cullinan than there are in other Rolls-Royces as well as four-wheel drive. The bespoke automaker reworked their customary 6.75-liter V12 engine to deliver more torque at lower revs, a key to off-roading success.

The suspension makes millions of calculations every second to continuously vary the electronically controlled shock absorber adjustment system. The double-wishbone front axle and five-link rear axle delivers control over lateral forces ensuring stability. Rolls-Royce describes how the system operates specifically under off-road conditions: "The electronically controlled shock absorber adjustment system uses an air compression system to actively push down any wheel it detects losing traction to ensure every wheel is constantly in contact with the ground and maximum torque is being provided to all wheels."

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An Infiniti Q60 drifts at Yokohama Harbor.

Photo courtesy of Infiniti

A new film showcases the drifting capabilities of a heavily modified Infiniti Q60. The coupe currently competes in the domestic top-tier drift championship in Japan even though the sports coupe is not sold there.

Before reaching the docks in Japan, the car was heavily modified having started its journey in America. The car was built to show off renowned restoration specialist Tatsuhiro Shibata's passion for the Infiniti brand.

The video features Shibata and his driver, Koudai Sobagiri putting the The hand-built model to the test and showing off near Infiniti's world headquarters in Yokohama, Japan. The closed course near Yokohama Harbor served as the set.

"In my eyes, the Q60 was the best looking of (the Infiniti lineup), but they didn't sell any in Japan. So we had to go to the U.S. to find one," Shibata says. "It's simple; I just wanted a good-looking racing car."

Tatsuhiro Shibata'sĀ Infiniti Q60

Photo courtesy of Infiniti

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This isn't the first time that Shibata has imported an Infiniti to Japan. His passion has led him to do so for the last decade. Shibata is not directly affiliated with Infiniti.

Following the film, Infiniti plans to release an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the film and the Shibata Infiniti Q60. An exclusive story about Shibata's workshop, Sobagiri's path to drifting, and more will be released along with the behind-the-scenes film.

1,000HP INFINITI Q60: Drifting at the Docks www.youtube.com

The release of the film comes as Infiniti is playing catch up with much of their business plans. Amid falling sales and the COVID-19 pandemic, plans for two new models to be introduced had to be push to 2021 including the 2022 Infiniti QX55 and the forthcoming redesigned QX60.

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Toyota's Indiana plant is getting a makeover and adding two models.

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

In the middle of a press release regarding an $800 million investment in Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana (TMMI), Toyota let it slip that two new models will find their place on the production line there - one Toyota and one Lexus.

The two new three-row SUVs are designed with the "active Gen Y American Family in mind". To figure out what they will be, look no further than our list of the new vehicle trademarks that Toyota and Lexus have put forth in the last few months.

The automaker has already filed to trademark the names "Grand Highlander", "TX350", and "TX500h". If you were a gambler, you'd want to put money on at least one of these models being a take on the Lexus LF-1 Limitless concept that was presented a few years ago at the North American International Auto Show. That three-row, coupe-like SUV was a touch ahead of the trend in terms of body styling and was very well received by dealers, media, and the public.

Lexus LF-1 Limitless concept The Lexus LF-1 Limitless concept was well-received by dealers, media, and the public when it premiered half a decade ago.Photo courtesy of Lexus

There's also the possibility that the forthcoming "Grand Highlander" may be a new Sequoia under a fresh name.

The "TX350" and "TX500h" filing makes it apparent that the vehicle will likely come with the same base engine as the Lexus RX, a 3.5-liter V6, and perhaps get a hybrid variant of the 5.0-liter V8 that's in the forthcoming 2022 Lexus IS 500 F Sport.

The release also said that the vehicles will have a semi-automated driving system. Lexus Teammate, a system with characteristics similar to what Toyota has described, will come first to the 2022 Lexus LS 500h. It has Level 2 functionality that "allows for driving on limited-access highways with partial hands-free, eyes-on-the-road operation", according to the automaker.

The announcement from Toyota says that the details of the forthcoming eight-passenger vehicles will be announced "at a later date".

"Over the past 20 years, Toyota has led the way with more electrified vehicles on the road than all automakers combined," said Ted Ogawa, president and CEO of Toyota Motor North America. "This investment and new vehicle line-up will allow us to continue our work with electrification, expand our portfolio to around 70 models globally by 2025, and meet the needs of our customers while we accelerate towards carbon neutrality."

Traditionally it takes 12 to 18 months to build out a factory following an announcement of this nature.

The investment in TMMI will bring 1,400 new jobs to the Princeton, Indiana plant. The factory, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, currently has over 7,200 employees. It's currently the home of the Toyota Sienna, Sequoia, and Highlander.

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