The first Rolls-Royce SUV, currently called Project Cullinan, is undergoing its final testing and thanks to some eagle-eyed spy photographers, more details have come to light.
We’re still awaiting confirmation of its name, but there has been plenty of speculation about whether the name will be changed or whether Rolls-Royce will stick with Cullinan.
Looking at the photos, we can see that while the exterior shape is unmistakably a Rolls-Royce (well, everything ahead of the B-pillar, anyway) it’s the rear doors which have divided opinion. Looking closely, you’ll notice that there’s a set of handles at the front and at the back of the doors.
Will it retain Rolls-Royce’s signature rear-hinged coach doors (please, don’t call them suicide doors)? We’re betting it will.
Under the bonnet, opinions are split with some speculating Cullinan will receive the 6.6-litre twin-turbo V12 from the Rolls-Royce Wraith and Ghost, while others saying it’s definitely going to be the 6.75-litre twin-turbo V12 from the latest Phantom.
A hybrid drivetrain as an option is also highly likely, but not from launch. Any electrification will probably happen part-way through the SUV’s life cycle.
Inside, the infotainment screen appears to be slightly deeper set into the dashboard than the Phantom and Ghost, while for the first time there will be a selectable suspension button, for adjusting ride height, in keeping with various conditions that will be encountered by an SUV.
Rolls-Royce has said on numerous occasions that its SUV will be fully capable of going off-road, and given the ability of the Bentley Bentayga, it will need to compete well on this front. With air suspension likely to be shared with the forthcoming BMW X7, it should have plenty of height adjustability, ready to hit the dunes.
The instrumentation appears to be lifted straight from the Ghost, as does the steering column and control stalks, and again it seems that Cullinan will do without shift paddles, instead having a “Low” button on the gear select stalk.
The organ-stop and bulls-eye air vents are pressed into service in the Cullinan’s interior as they are in all Rolls-Royce models, while the rotary iDrive-like controller from the Phantom is implemented also. With BMW – Rolls-Royce’s parent company – updating its iDrive software, we’re expecting to see a revised infotainment menu also.
Rolls-Royce says it has something quite special planned for the luggage area, but we’ll have to wait and see what that is.
Rest assured, SUV Authority will be keeping across all Project Cullinan developments. Stay tuned.