Rolls doesn't want to reveal the back, but this looks to be a chiseled SUV in line with the Phantom's style.

Rolls-Royce prefers to call its Project Cullinan an “‘all-terrain, high-sided vehicle." However, the company’s latest test mule is a full development prototype, and it indicates that SUV is a more appropriate moniker.

The latest test mule reveals the Cullinan’s monolithic shape. It’s a fitting look for a name that comes from one of the largest rough diamonds ever. A grille with vertical chrome slats dominates the front end below the raised hood and chiseled fenders. Large intakes in the fascia make the Cullinan look more aggressive than the average Rolls. The firm’s design director already confirms that coach doors, also known as suicide doors, are part of the styling.

The luxury automaker doesn’t yet fully reveal the Cullinan’s rump, but these images suggest an angular hatchback at the rear. The roof dips slightly towards the back, which keeps the vehicle from looking too boxy. It’s quite similar to an earlier speculative rendering.

Cullinan development is now in the public testing phase, and cold-wearther evaluations begin in the Arctic Circle at the end of December. It should be the perfect environment for testing Rolls’ new “all-wheel drive suspension system” that reportedly has an amazingly smooth ride. Later in 2017, the SUV goes to the Middle East for durability checks in the regions high temperatures. The debut comes in 2018.

The Cullinan will ride on Rolls’ new aluminum spaceframe platform that will also underpin the next-gen Phantom. Power will initially come from an updated version of the company’s venerable 6.75-liter V12, but a hybrid or even full EV will eventually join the lineup, according to rumors. The engine will send power to an all-wheel drive system, but the drivetrain will likely be more for on-road comfort than off-road adventures.

Prices for the Cullinan aren’t clear yet, but are sure to be in the six figures. When Rolls’ first SUV finally arrives, it should make for a direct competitor against the Bentley Bentayga.

Source: Rolls-Royce

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