The second age of the SUVs is upon us, and lest we forget that Rolls-Royce will debut a land crusher of their own, the Anglo-German automaker has released images of the upcoming Cullinan, its “all-terrain, high-sided vehicle.”
The all-terrain, high-sided vehicle, known outside elite circles as an SUV, is inching toward its production debut later in 2017; the Cullinan will go on sale as a 2018 to take on the likes of the Bentley Bentayga and the long-wheelbase Range Rover Autobiography in size, if not in price. But before that, there is still some development and testing work to be done.
“This latest development vehicle will travel to numerous locations around the world in a challenging testing program to ensure that the end product will be ‘Effortless … Everywhere,'” Rolls-Royce says. “Just after Christmas, for example, Project Cullinan will enter the Arctic Circle to undergo cold-weather durability and traction testing. Later in 2017, it will travel to the Middle East to endure the highest of temperatures and challenging desert conditions.”
We have a feeling that once the Cullinan goes on sale, it’ll be spending more time in the Middle East than in the Arctic Circle, but who knows.
The Cullinan is expected to be a very tall station wagon, rather than a true SUV — though it will still have all-wheel drive, as one would expect.
If you haven’t noticed, there’s an SUV boom at the moment, and models rumored long ago are finally edging into production. Case in point: The BMW X7, which is expected to debut in late 2018 as …
Rolls-Royce is resisting calling the Cullinan (named for an absurdly large diamond extracted from South Africa in 1905) an SUV because it’s not really about utility or sport; the Cullinan will be a very large and upright wagon as much as anything. There is some precedent for this bodystyle; coachbuilders have long converted Rolls-Royce sedans into large station wagons with some extra ground clearance (if not four-wheel drive).
For the record, the Cullinan will have four-wheel drive; details are still sketchy, but it does appear the Cullinan will be closer to a high-riding station wagon version of the Phantom, which will also debut in 2018, than a classic SUV. The Cullinan will share its platform with the Phantom — not the BMW X7, as had been predicted a couple of years ago — though the two BMW Group vehicles will debut at around the same time.
Expect a 6.75-liter V12 engine underhood and a starting price north of $400,000, along with an interior close in layout and size to the LWB Range Rover. Options can easily add another couple hundred thousand dollars to the price, so remember to budget a little extra for those.