Rolls-Royce’s recenty-confirmed SUV will be built under the codename Cullinan, a reference to the largest gem-quality diamond ever found. Discovered in South Africa in 1905, the Cullinan diamond is now mounted on Queen Elizabeth II’s sceptre as part of the Crown Jewels.
However, Rolls-Royce’s first SUV is expected to use a different name when it reaches production in 2017. “I am proud to confirm that we are developing an all-new, high-bodied Rolls-Royce. I’m confident it will deliver on our brand’s promise of supreme luxury while being effortless everywhere,” Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös told Autocar.
The Rolls-Royce 4×4 is expected to add as many as 1,500 units to the brand’s annual volume, which last year exceeded 4,000 units for the first time. Still, volume will not be the most important thing – exclusivity will. The new Rolls-Royce 4×4 will be probably the biggest luxury SUV on offer, almost as long as a Phantom!
Pricing will also be at the upper end of the scale, with reports indicating a starting price of around £250,000 to £280,000. If bespoke equipment and décor are added, prices can even double.
The new model will be based on an all-new aluminum architecture that will likely be similar to the Phantom’s spaceframe and will be used by all future Rolls-Royce models. Having a bespoke chassis is an important advantage over less expensive luxury cars such as the Bentley lineup and the new Mercedes-Maybach models, which are steel monocoques and are related to volume models.
As for the engine, the new 4×4 is likely to receive a modified version of the Phantom’s 6.8-litre V12. However, a plug-in hybrid powertrain is also considered. Diesel versions were dismissed because the fuel is not easily available in luxury markets such as China, the United States and the Middle East.
Renderings courtesy of Theophilus Chin