2018 Rolls-Royce Cullinan SUV: name officially confirmed

After months of speculation, Rolls-Royce has confirmed its forthcoming SUV will use the Cullinan name when it"s launched later this year. The Bentley Bentayga rival is said to "redefine luxury travel", and the latest spy shots reveal more of the car"s exterior.

Described as a "high-sided vehicle" rather than an SUV by the British luxury car maker, the Cullinan"s name has been used as the project codename for some time. It"s taken from the Cullinan diamond, a 3106-carat jewel unearthed in South Africa in 1905 that"s said to be the largest flawless diamond ever found. 

Little information has been revealed about the car so far, with Rolls-Royce describing it as "effortless, everywhere". The official disguised images released with the car fit in with that brief, showing some of the car"s arduous testing regime in Africa, the Middle East and the Arctic Circle. 

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Rolls Royce Cullinan front spy

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We previously spotted the Cullinan testing on the Nurburgring racetrack. While the demanding German track, nicknamed the "Green Hell", is frequently used by carmakers to test their latest vehicles, we didn"t expect to see the comfort-oriented Cullinan being pushed to its limits there. The prototype is wearing the usual disguise, but the square-edged profile of the Bentley Bentayga-rivalling production car can clearly be seen. 

Another test mule was previously caught being hitched up on a trailer, where the imposing front end was revealed in full. While the lights and Spirit of Ecstasy bonnet mascot are missing, the trademark large chrome grille is clear to see, while the front bumper features a number of air intakes to guide cooling air to the engine and brakes. The upright grille is flanked by rectangular headlight housings, and overall the Cullinan"s shape is instantly recogniseable. 

Also visible is the Rolls-Royce badge and side repeater that"s set into the front wing behind the wheelarch - a familiar modern Rolls styling cue - while a rubbing strip runs across the front and rear-hinged back door, although whether that is kept on the final production car remains to be seen. The Cullinan"s boxy proportions are reminiscent of a raised-up Phantom, which is a look that suits the traditional SUV template. The huge seven-spoke alloy wheels are similar to those found on the Ghost, although like that car buyers are likely to get a variety of wheel options in different styles and sizes.

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Rolls-Royce confirmed development of an all-new aluminium architecture for the Cullinan earlier this year. The new platform will also eventually be used for a next-generation Phantom, and the announcement that production of the current model has stopped confirms this. An all-new suspension system is being primed for the production Cullinan too, alongside the four-wheel-drive system.  

Speaking to Auto Express at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show, Rolls-Royce boss Torsten Muller-Otvos revealed that the upcoming Rolls-Royce SUV would be launched in the first half of 2018.

He was confident about the progress being made on developing the brand"s first high-riding SUV model, although he prefers to call it an all terrain vehicle. 

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Rolls Royce cullinan suv spy shot

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And in a direct dig at Bentley, which describes its Bentayga as the "best SUV in the world", he added: “The Bentley SUV is clearly the number two; Rolls-Royce is the best in the world and will be when our model arrives. We will bring a great new car, and an authentic Rolls-Royce into the market.”

If the Bentayga"s initial success is anything to go by, there"s no doubt the Cullinan could be the strongest-selling Rolls-Royce in recent years. But don"t expect the brand to adopt a mass-market pricing strategy: this is still very much a bespoke, hand-made car and the price will definitely reflect that. After all, even the "cheapest" Rolls-Royce Ghost weighs in at nearly £250,000.  

What do you think of Rolls Royce"s foray into the SUV market? Let us know below.

Nguồn: www.autoexpress.co.uk