Rolls-Royce is one of the last luxury automakers not to offer an SUV. That’s soon to change, however, as Project Cullinan takes form. And this is our best look at that form yet.
Project Cullinan is what the British automaker has termed the program to develop its first sport-ute – or, rather, what it refers to as an “all-terrain, high-sided vehicle,” which will also be its first to offer all-wheel drive.
Rather than wait for spy photographers to capture what it’s up to, Rolls-Royce has of its prototypes as their development progresses. And while the last test mule looked like a modified Phantom with a wing on the trunk (for some reason), this camouflaged prototype is finally beginning to take shape.
That shape, mind you, still looks very much like a Rolls-Royce – and more like a taller version of the stylistically upright Phantom than the more streamlined Ghost, at that.
“This is an incredibly exciting moment in the development of Project Cullinan both for Rolls-Royce and for the patrons of luxury that follow us around the world,” said Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Rolls Royce’s CEO. “Bringing together the new four-wheel drive system and the new ‘architecture of luxury’ for the first time sets us on the road to creating a truly authentic Rolls-Royce which, like its forebears, will reset the standard by which all other luxury goods are judged.”
What Goodwood isn’t showing us, however, is around back, where the Cullinan will apparently (and inevitably) pack a wagon bodystyle. What can you do, after all, when a trunk wouldn’t look right and a pickup bed would be even more ridiculous on a Rolls than an elongated roofline. One thing that strikes us though is that the Cullinan appears to have dropped the rear suicide doors for a conventional set – or maybe Rolls Royce is just teasing us by installing fake handles. Only time will tell.
However the uber-luxury carmaker manages to translate its already imposing design language to an even bigger form, it’s important to remember that Project Cullinan won’t be just about that one model. The new aluminum architecture on which it’s being based will form the basis for all Rolls-Royce models starting in 2018.