The engineering mule is based on a shortened Phantom Series II body, hinting at the size of a future model, however the production vehicle promises to introduce an entirely different styling.
The British automaker has avoided calling the vehicle an SUV, instead labeling it a “high-sided, all-terrain motor car.”
Project Cullinan is currently focused on development of an all-wheel-drive system and new suspension technology, which faces the unique challenge of maintaining Rolls-Royce’s plush “magic-carpet” ride both on and off paved roads. Engineers will first assess the high-riding vehicle’s stability and suspension throw in on-road trials, including challenging surfaces such as cobblestones and Belgian block, before moving to off-road development.
“Project Cullinan engineering mules will spend equal amounts of time testing on-road and off-road to ensure that the customer will experience the same unrivalled ride quality on loose surfaces and challenging terrain as they do on the road today,” the company notes.
Rejecting rumors of a BMW-sourced platform, the company recently outlined plans to build the new SUV on its own aluminum spaceframe with an aluminum body. The engine choice remains a mystery, with speculation split between a traditional V12 or a downsized twin-turbocharged V8.
The as-yet-unnamed SUV is expected to arrive on the market in 2018 or later.