► Closest look yet at Rolls-Royce 4x4
► Reduced disguise, tail-lights revealed
► It’s huge – more than 5500mm long
It’s official. Rolls-Royce has confirmed the name of its SUV: the Cullinan – scheduled for launch towards the end of 2018.
The new Rolls-Royce Cullinan is the ‘all-new high-sided car’, or SUV to us common folk, that the brand has been working on for years. The boss, Torsten Müller-Ötvös, said that calling the new SUV the Cullinan ‘is the most fitting name for our extraordinary new product.’ Cullinan rather modestly stems from the largest flawless diamond of the same name.
Our font of knowledge, Georg Kacher, revealed Rolls’ plans to build an SUV back in our March 2013 issue (picture below), taking a leaf out of Bentley’s book with the Bentayga.
Rolls-Royce Cullinan: what do we know so far?
The Goodwood firm’s first four-wheel-drive model will is partnered with the new Phantom 8 and share its aluminium architecture. The Cullinan is a very big car – thought to be more than 5500mm long.
It is believed that the Cullinan will repeat the choice of the limousines, in offering a choice of wheelbases and lengths. Those who want to stretch out in true comfort should be able to, with overall lengths spanning up to 6 metres. That's one advantage of dealing with an aluminium spaceframe.
Rolls has even dropped some spy shots of its own, revealing more of the SUV’s surfacing and proportions. Roll’s signature coach rear doors are evident, while a further shot from one of our earlier scoopes shows the brake lights betraying the light graphics beneath the disguise stickers, too.
When it was caught testing at the Nurburgring, our spy photographer reports it was remarkably tidy around the Nordschleife. 'Even if the Rolls-Royce Cullinan is both big and heavy, we have to say that the air suspension looks to be working very well,' he tells us.
'We have seen smaller and lighter cars with more body roll in the curves than this monster.'
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 lightweight - and ultra-stiff - aluminium platform, 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, once the SUV is fully on stream.
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.
Suspension is by air springs, to allow for a more plump ride - not to mention a raised ride height, should owners have to indulge in a spot of light kerb-crawling.
Naturally, Rolls' new Cullinan will offer four-wheel drive too. This is a first for the brand and seen as a prerequesite for an SUV. Interestingly, this means the Phantom - and other future Rolls-Royces - will be able to offer 4wd too.
To find out everything you need to know about Rolls-Royce’s first 4x4, read CAR’s full scoop dossier here