Rolls-Royce SUV gets testing

Earlier this year British luxury marque Rolls-Royce announced it would build an SUV for its well-heeled country club customers.

While Rolls isn’t expected to deliver the production ready high-rider until 2017, the first suspension test mules have been clocking up the miles helping develop a comfortable setup that will work with an all-wheel drive system.

Based on a shortened Phantom Series II body, ‘Project Cullinan’ – as it’s officially called – uses a brand new suspension system aiming to deliver Rolls Royce’s trademark ‘magic carpet’ ride quality both on- and off-road. Aiming to have it endure both types of conditions, Rolls says the prototype will be tested on surfaces that include cobblestones and corrugated concrete – just to be sure its model will be positively comfortable on the rough stuff. 

The Phantom-bodied prototype sits noticeably higher than the ordinary production car and is physically shorter, hinting at the upcoming SUV’s proportions. The test mule also wears a large Fast and Furious style rear wing, which is more likely to simulate an SUV’s aerodynamic drag than calm the rear end.

Rolls-Royce also says the Project Cullinan test mule shares no styling cues whatsoever with the actual production SUV, rather the exterior design will be an evolution of the firm’s current design language. Expect to see heavily camouflaged full body prototypes roaming the streets by the end of this year.

As for the engines, it’s too early to speculate what might power the off-roader. Being a Rolls, expect to see a V12 at its north end. 

The Rolls-Royce SUV will join the upcoming Bentley Bentayaga SUV, Mercedes-Maybach GLS and Range Rover SV Autobiography in the newly-formed ultra-luxurious SUV segment.

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