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Cullinan to be new Rolls-Royce jewel

Not SUV: Rolls-Royce’s press release confirming the name Cullinan for its “high-sided car” carefully avoids the term SUV.

Rolls-Royce formally adopts Cullinan name for its new ‘high-sided car’


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14 Feb 2018

THE motoring world’s worst-kept secret is out: Rolls-Royce’s first “high-sided car” will be called Cullinan, named after the biggest flawless diamond ever discovered.

Australia and New Zealand will be priority markets within the Asia-Pacific region for the big SUV that is due to be revealed in full later this year ahead of Down Under deliveries in 2019.

No pricing or specifications for the vehicle have yet been released, but the British company has already revealed that the Cullinan will ride on the same aluminium space-frame platform – called Architecture of Luxury – as the new Phantom.

As GoAuto reported last year, the Cullinan will sit below the flagship Phantom in the Rolls-Royce pecking order. Phantom pricing starts at $950,000 driveaway for the short-wheelbase variant and tops out at $1,100,000 for the extended-wheelbase flagship.

Announcing the new moniker, Rolls-Royce chief executive officer Torsten Mueller-Otvos said the name Cullinan had been “hiding in plain sight” since the company revealed it as the project name for the vehicle some years ago.

“It is the most fitting name for our extraordinary new product,” he said.

“Cullinan is a motor car of such clarity of purpose, such flawless quality and preciousness, and such presence that it recalibrates the scale and possibility of true luxury.

“Just like the Cullinan diamond, the largest flawless diamond ever found, it emerges when it is perfect and exists above all others.”

Discovered in South Africa in 1905, the 3106-carat Cullinan diamond was smashed into nine stones, with the largest chunks now gracing Queen Elizabeth’s Imperial Crown and Sceptre with Cross.

The Rolls-Royce Cullinan was developed under the engineering and design banner “effortless, everywhere”.

Logic suggests the Cullinan will share the Phantom’s 6.8-litre twin-turbo petrol V12 that makes 420kW/900Nm in sedan guise. The ZF eight-speed automatic transmission will probably also come with the Cullinan package.

The British media speculates that the Cullinan ultimately will get an alternative plug-in hybrid powertrain from parent company BMW’s parts bin, but diesel has been ruled out as too unrefined for Rolls-Royce clientele.

All-wheel drive is a given, providing the big beast – probably nearing three tonnes despite lots of weight-saving aluminium in the body and chassis – with the traction required to go up against rivals such as the Bentley Bentayga and Lamborghini Urus.

Pictures of test mules indicate the Cullinan will get rear-hinged ‘suicide doors’ like those on the Phantom for easier rear-seat entry and exit.

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