► 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.
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.
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