Rolls-Royce Cullinan SUV spotted testing, launch soon

A company backed by Nest co-founder Tony Fadell is taking Andy Rubin's startup to court.


A prototype of the upcoming Rolls-Royce Cullinan SUV was freshly spotted testing and this time around images of the car’s cabin have also surfaced online. The all-new SUV, or as the carmaker likes to call it, an all-terrain vehicle, from Rolls-Royce shares a lot its cues with the new-gen Phantom VIII, which we drove just early this month. In fact, the car is based on the same aluminum space frame platform a.k.a. the Luxury Architecture, which will eventually also underpin all the other Rolls-Royce cars, as and when their next-gen models will be introduced. Rolls-Royce will formally reveal the manufacture version of the Cullinan sometime in 2018, perhaps in the second half of 2018.


As you can see, the car is still heavily camouflaged and visually there isn’t much of difference in appearance compared to the prototype that was revealed last year in December. The latest test mule, still, does seem to come with a dissimilar set of alloy wheels, and, of course, there will be lots of other changes beneath all that camouflage. This time we also get to see the rear section of the Cullinan, which actually it the appearance of an SUV. The prototype still doesn’t get production tail lamps although rear bumper looks pretty much done and also comes with integrated dual exhaust. As for the cabin, it’s still under development as you can see from all these testing equipment and camouflage. The routing used in the prototype also comes from a BMW, which tells us that there is still a lot of work that is remaining.

The instrument cluster looks similar to the one in the new Phantom while the rest of the design looks all-new and more contemporary. To go with Rolls-Royce’s “all-terrain, high-sided vehicle” tag, the Cullinan will be offered with high ground clearance and All-Wheel-Drive, more for performance needs than serious off-roading. Power options will include a revised version of the 6.75-litre V12 engine that is currently doing duty on the Phantom VIII and word is that the carmaker is working on a plug-in hybrid version as well for the future. This new car is set to capitalize on the fashion for SUVs, with a high riding position (as if the Phantom wasn’t tall enough) and plenty of ground clearance should you wish to go off-road on your country estate. Power will come from Rolls-Royce’s signature V12 engine, but we hear there might be a plug-in hybrid version of the car on the way later on. The Cullinan – formally still the car’s code name for testing – is named after the world’s biggest rough diamond, which was found in South Africa in 1902 and weighed over 3,100 carats. Gifted to King Edward VII of the United Kingdom, it was later cut into nine separate diamonds, the two largest of which are the biggest cut diamonds in the world.