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Rolls-Royce releases prototype Cullinan images

High rider: Rolls' first SUV, the Cullinan (left), should slip into the line-up under the recently revealed Phantom sedan with which it shares a platform.

First look at luxury Cullinan as Rolls-Royce reveals snaps of camouflaged SUV


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2 Dec 2016

ROLLS-ROYCE has released the first official camouflaged images of its forthcoming Cullinan SUV as a part of a biannual update to its shareholders.

The disguised prototype shows a typical Rolls-Royce front fascia, with the ubiquitous Parthenon grille and Phantom-inspired headlights dominating the front-end styling.

Also visible are a pronounced bonnet line, suggesting room for a large engine, and what appears to be a large front camera/sensor embedded in the air vent below the grille.

Although it is difficult to see for certain, looking at the door handles it appears the rear doors may employ the reverse-opening suicide door style, as seen on other Rolls-Royce models such as the Wraith and Ghost.

The Cullinan will share the all-new aluminium architecture with the upcoming eighth-generation Phantom, and when comparing the SUV to a prototype image of the Phantom released in February, the similarities are obvious.

Previously the only development pictures of the Cullinan showed a modified short-wheelbase Phantom that had been fitted with a new suspension and all-wheel-drive system, as well as a large wing spoiler.

Rolls-Royce has revealed that real-world testing on the Cullinan will begin shortly after Christmas, with the prototype being sent to the Arctic Circle to undergo cold weather durability and traction testing.

Later in 2017 testing will move to the Middle East, where it will undergo testing in severe hot weather and desert conditions – an area that is likely to make up a significant portion of Cullinan buyers.

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars chief executive officer Torsten Muller-Otvos said that the development of both the Cullinan and a new four-wheel-drive system was an important time for the brand.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

The Cullinan is set to target a new demographic of buyers, with young people and women in particular in the cross-hairs of the brand.

Speaking with GoAuto earlier this month, Rolls-Royce global client sales manager Ian Grant explained that the rise in young, wealthy entrepreneurs globally has led to a drop in the average age of Rolls-Royce owners, and that trend is set to continue when the Cullinan is released.

Mr Grant also spoke of the design rules for the Cullinan, one of which was that the roof height should be no higher than two of the car’s wheels stacked on top of each other, and Rolls-Royce designers seem to have come close to achieving this with the Cullinan prototype.

Little is known of the Cullinan mechanically, however chances are it will use some form of V12, which is employed across all of the current Rolls-Royce range.

More details on the Cullinan will be released as the car is unveiled further.

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