It seems that luxury SUVs are like buses – where once there are none you suddenly have three at once. Hot on the heels of the Range Rover Evoque and the very new Bentley Bentayga is the Rolls Royce SUV, which is currently expected to go into production in 2017.
Known under the working title Cullinan, which is bound to change, the prototype has been snapped during a rigorous testing phase. Described by Rolls Royce as a ‘high sided all-terrain vehicle’, the finished product will undoubtedly be a thing of beauty.
At present, however, it’s merely a production mule, which is based on a shortened Phantom II, which will be used to fine tune the car’s suspension and new all-wheel drive transmission. The aim of the game is to ensure that the marque’s trademark ‘magic carpet’ ride quality can be delivered both on and off road.
In terms of development, the Rolls Royce team were as elegant as their cars, as they made the statement confirming their intentions to make a 4×4 in a simple one page open letter to all stakeholders. Their reasoning for this open statement was “because many of our discerning customers have urged us to develop this car”.
Although the name is likely to change, the current project name is apt as the Cullinan diamond was the largest gem-quality diamond ever discovered. First found in South Africa in 1905 and, if legend is correct, almost thrown away, it is now mounted on the Queen’s sceptre as part of the Crown Jewels. We have no doubt Rolls Royce’s new SUV will have a similarly glittering role in their stable.