The Rolls Royce Cullinan SUV returns for another outing of official spy shots as Rolls Royce continues its transparency over its SUV development.
It was spring 2015 when we got the first ‘official’ spy shots of a new Rolls Royce SUV, as RR decided they’d indulge in a bit of transparency during their development of the firm’s first SUV.
We’d expected at least a couple of updates a year on what is being dubbed the Rolls Royce Cullinan SUV (RR call it Project Cullinan – a name unlikely for production), but this week’s update is the first of substance for 20 months.
But this update is quite significant because, for the first time, we get to see the Cullinan SUV in its production body, rather than the Phantom mule we saw last time out, even if it is, to no one’s surprise, covered in camouflage and coyly photographed.
But the photographs (above and below) do show that RR has made the Cullinan a Phantom-looking SUV, with its bluff Phantom front and slab sides. Which is similar to what Bentley did when the Bentayga was a first outing concept as the EXP 9 F.
Bentley got their original SUV Concept so severely panned they changed tack and redesigned it to look like an SUV take on the Continental Series instead of the Mulsanne, but it looks like Rolls Royce are committed to the Phantom SUV route.
That could mean using the Phantom’s V12 instead of the Ghost’s BMW unit, but whatever powertrain (and there will surely be a plug-in hybrid version too?) Rolls Royce use, it will nestel under the bonnet of an SUV using RR’s new aluminium architecture and new 4WD system.
Rolls Royce are now taking the Cullinan prototypes off to the Arctic Circle for a bit of cold weather testing and to the Middle East (perhaps their biggest potential market) not just to do hot weather testing but to let locals get a glimpse of what’s coming.
Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Rolls Royce CEO, said:
This is an incredibly exciting moment in the development of Project Cullinan both for Rolls-Royce and for the patrons of luxury that follow us around the world.
Bringing together the new four-wheel drive system and the new ‘architecture of luxury’ for the first time sets us on the road to creating a truly authentic Rolls-Royce which, like its forebears, will reset the standard by which all other luxury goods are judged.
Last year, Rolls Royce said the Cullinan would go on sale in 2017, but it looks like that has slipped to 2018, although there’s a good chance we will get a reveal at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show in September.