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Rolls-Royce SUV surfaces: latest spyshots of 2018’s giant high Roller

Published: 09 February 2017

► Closest look yet at Rolls-Royce 4x4
► Pre-production testing in Sweden
► It’s huge – more than 5500mm long

Here’s our closest look yet at the upcoming Rolls-Royce SUV, scheduled for launch in 2018. 

Currently known by its internal codename as the Rolls-Royce Cullinan (modestly named after the biggest diamond ever discovered), the Goodwood firm’s first four-wheel-drive model has been spied on Swedish roads as it undergoes cold-weather testing. The production model’s final official name is yet to be confirmed – we’ll keep referring to it as the Cullinan for now.

Rolls-Royce 4x4

Project Cullinan: Rolls-Royce’s first SUV

Labelled an ‘HSV’ (high-sided vehicle) by Rolls-Royce itself (which won’t stop everyone else calling it an SUV), the Cullinan is designed around brand new aluminium architecture, to be shared with further future Rolls models. Rolls-Royce is at pains to point out that it doesn’t share its platform with any of parent company BMW’s X-series models.

Capacity at Rolls’ Goodwood plant is being increased, in preparation of the Cullinan taking global sales from around 4000 cars in 2014 to as many as 7000 units a year.

We’ve previously spied cut 'n' shut test mules combining Rolls-Royce saloon bodies with the new chassis components, but these new shots give us a much better idea as to how the production car will look. No surprises so far – typically oblong surfacing, the trademark upright Rolls radiator grille and a high roofline for minimum head-ducking – no coupé affectations here.

Rolls-Royce 4x4

The shutlines and door handle placement indicate the SUV will get the same backwards-opening rear ‘coach doors’ as the Phantom and Ghost.

It’s a big car – thought to be more than 5500mm long – check out how it dwarfs the VW police car in the background of the opening shot.

What’ll power the new Rolls-Royce 4x4?

At launch, a development of the brand’s established N74 V12, running through an eight-speed automatic gearbox. A hybrid variant hasn’t been ruled out further down the line, but is unlikely to feature at launch.

To find out everything you need to know about Rolls-Royce’s first 4x4, read CAR’s full scoop dossier here

Rolls-Royce 4x4

By James Taylor

CAR's online editor, news-gatherer, fast-lapper, Radical champ