The Rolls Royce Cullinan, the brand’s first SUV, has been spotted testing ahead of the model’s expected launch in 2018.
Rolls Royce’s super-luxury SUV was recently confirmed with a preview image, but this is the first time we’ve seen it testing with its production body. The brand previously released an image of the Cullinan as a Phantom-bodied test car.
Rolls-Royce refers to the car as Project Cullinan, although it says that this is a development codename, while refusing to comment on the production name.
It has been confirmed that the SUV will be the first model with four-wheel drive in Rolls-Royce’s 110-year history.
A developed version of the Phantom’s 6.8-litre V12 engine is expected to be used for the new SUV, although this isn’t yet confirmed. Rolls-Royce has toyed with the idea of a plug-in hybrid powertrain, as well as a diesel unit, although the latter has been discarded due to its lack of refinement.
Rolls-Royce doesn’t use the term SUV, instead calling the Cullinan an ‘all-terrain, high-sided vehicle’. We already know that the car will share its aluminium architecture with all other Rolls-Royce models from 2018.
Unusually, Rolls-Royce has revealed details of where the car will be tested ahead of its official launch; it’ll be taken to the Arctic Circle for cold-weather testing, before being shipped to the Middle East next year for the opposite. This example was snapped high-speed testing on the German autobahns.
The high-riding Cullinan’s boxy design takes after Rolls-Royce’s flagship Phantom, as opposed to the smoother-looking Ghost. The spy shots also show that the rear doors of the Cullinan are rear-hinged, as seen on the Ghost and Phantom.[Source: autocar]