Back in February, Rolls-Royce finally confirmed rumors that it plans to produce a “high-bodied” vehicle capable of crossing “any terrain.” In other words, an SUV (of some sort).
Lest you think that was some elaborate practical joke, know that Rolls-Royce does not make jokes. It’s far too serious about its reputation for building impeccable road cars to indulge in such silliness.
Today, the BMW-owned luxury marque revealed some details on Project Cullinan, its code name for the new vehicle. It showed off an engineering mule—one of those camouflaged tester vehicles car magazines salivate to photograph—except Rolls isn’t trying to hide this one. Because it doesn’t reveal anything at all about what the rock-hopping SUV will look like.
This mule, based on a shortened Phantom Series II chassis, is made for developing the all-wheel drive system Rolls says will deliver a “magic-carpet” ride both on-road and off. It won’t be rocking the trails at Moab just yet. It will first spend time both on public roads and on special test tracks. Company engineers are focusing on on-road performance first, testing the car on things like cobblestone roads (because sure, hand-paved driveways count as off-road) for suspension throw and high-bodied stability. After all, this will be a vehicle that must be able to handle just about anything while meeting “customers’ highly mobile, contemporary lifestyle expectations.”
No launch date has even been hinted at, but since Rolls-Royce motorcars start at $285,000, expect whatever the final product is to be filled with exquisite luxury and, perhaps, even astounding off-road performance.