The all-wheel-drive rival to Bentley Bentayga, due to arrive this year, is Rolls-Royce's first SUV

Rolls-Royce has revealed that it will publicise some of the most gruelling parts of the Cullinan's testing programme via a new deal with television channel National Geographic.

The luxury model, which has been testing for three years in Northern Europe, the Middle East and the United States, will be filmed and photographed as part of the partnership's The Final Challenge series, which will be posted onto social media.

The Cullinan, due for launch later this year, is claimed to mix ultra-luxury with genuine off-road ability.

Rolls-Royce unveiled the car's pop-out, tailgate-mounted seats and table recently, following confirmation of the car's name. Recent spy shots showed the Cullinan with the least disguise we've seen yet, revealing much of the Phantom-like look of the car.

 

Each of the pop-out seats, which are rear-facing and intended for use while the car is not in motion, bears the Rolls-Royce logo, and they both fold back into a compartment in the boot floor. 

The Phantom's influence is clear to see, with a near-identical fascia at the front and D-shaped tail-lights at the rear. The boxy design shows that the Cullinan takes after the Phantom rather than the smoother-looking Ghost. Spy shots show that the rear doors are rear-hinged, as seen on the Ghost and the Phantom.

The rival to the Bentley Bentayga was called 'Project Cullinan' during its development. The name is inspired by the Cullinan Diamond, a 3106-carat jewel extracted from a South African mine in 1905. It was split into nine stones, with the two largest used in the British imperial crown and the Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross.

Rolls-Royce boss Torsten Müller-Ötvös said the Cullinan name had been “hiding in plain sight”, adding: “It is the most fitting name for our extraordinary new product.”

The Cullinan, which Rolls-Royce refers to as a "high-sided vehicle" rather than an SUV, is likely to 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 BMW. Rolls-Royce has dismissed a diesel option due to the comparative lack of refinement offered by such units.

The all-wheel-drive car will use the same aluminium spaceframe platform, named the Architecture of Luxury, as the Phantom.

Review: Rolls-Royce Phantom

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Our Verdict

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The eighth-gen Rolls Royce Phantom is the second of the company's modern era. Is it still a world-beater?

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Comments
47

1 December 2016
Why?
Lee J

1 December 2016
flappy88 wrote:

Why?

Profit

22 February 2018

...bears the Rolls-Royce logo. Of course it does. The company is mad about its logo, moreso by the year, and plasters it all over the car like MG did with its own on the F. This blingtastic monster is revving up to be on of the ugliest and most obnoxious cars on the road so thank goodness the overwhelming majority of them will be sold overseas.

1 December 2016
The masking execution is unfortunate, making the car look like an old commercial van. Not sure that's the effect Rolls was after - do they really think prospective owners start salivating?

1 December 2016
soldi wrote:

The masking execution is unfortunate, making the car look like an old commercial van. Not sure that's the effect Rolls was after - do they really think prospective owners start salivating?

Prospective owners will have had personal invites to see it undisguised - these pictures are just for us plebs.

2 December 2016
flappy88 wrote:

Why?

Demand.

9 December 2016
Who teaches car designers to think 'pretty' is a rude word? There's something ugly about these tanks being aspirational and as for the people who think 'exclusive' is the same as expensive....

9 December 2016
Bullfinch wrote:

Who teaches car designers to think 'pretty' is a rude word? There's something ugly about these tanks being aspirational and as for the people who think 'exclusive' is the same as expensive....

'Elegance' in car design.... hmmm.... Ah yes, I remember that!

Before every manufacturer jumped onto the SUV craze bandwagon and started styling their vehicles to look like fat a**ed vans, walls of sheet metal instead of elegant design, overly aggressive front styling to bully other motorists.

13 February 2018

What has been clear since prototypes have been seen is that the proportions are all wrong. Specifically, the greenhouse is way too tall. Perhaps the full-fat Range Rover was the benchmark whereas the Velar should've been the model (though not revealed during the Cullinan's development). This totally lacks elegance which a far shallower top half would've created. Or tried to...  

13 February 2018

Because it'll sell, an it'll be wonderful.

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