A Rolls-Royce Cullinan SUV has been spotted at the Nürburgring, with the car's body leaning around a corner as it tests flat out.
Its Nürburgring appearance, along with the fact that the car was previously sighted parked outside of a crash test site, suggests that the model is entering the latter stages of pre-production development.
This supports information that the brand's first all-wheel-drive model will make it to market in early 2018, when it will rival the Bentley Bentayga in the highest ranks of the luxury SUV segment.
The car, which has yet to be officially named but is referred to internally as Project Cullinan, will likely use a developed version of the Phantom’s 6.8-litre V12 engine. A plug-in hybrid powertrain could also be offered at a later stage, using technology from parent company the BMW Group. Rolls-Royce has dismissed the idea of a diesel option, due to the comparative lack of refinement offered by such units.
Rolls-Royce describes its future model as an ‘all-terrain, high-sided vehicle’. It will lend its aluminium architecture to all other Rolls-Royce models from 2018.
The Cullinan's boxy design takes after Rolls-Royce's flagship Phantom, as opposed to the smoother-looking Ghost. Recent spy shots also show that the rear doors of the Cullinan are rear-hinged, as seen on the Ghost and Phantom.
We put two of the Cullinan's rivals head-to-head: