Anyone who thinks a handful of carmakers are going to hold out and resist the temptation to start building SUVs to take advantage of the current global popularity of all things SUV had better think again. After Bentley came up with the Bentayga and now even Lamborghini has the Urus, Rolls-Royce is the latest company not traditionally associated with the high-riding format to confirm it’s going to be unveiling its own super-luxury SUV to potential customers.
Starting in the summer, Automotive News reports that the legendary British luxury manufacturer is going to be holding ‘closed-room’ events where the new SUV, currently codenamed Cullinan, will be shown to potential buyers. The new model isn’t exactly a secret as camouflaged versions have already been spotted and photographed undergoing testing at the Nurburgring in Germany, where engineers have been relentlessly working to ensure the new model is “effortless to drive everywhere.”
When it eventually goes on sale, it’s expected the Cullinan will push the global sales of Rolls-Royce through the 5 000 units per year threshold. In 2016 the company sold 4 011 cars around the world, which was its second-best result ever, but that figure dropped to a disappointing 3 362 units last year.
Unlike the Bentley Bentayga, which is built on a platform shared with the Audi Q7 and Lamborghini Urus, among others, the Cullinan will be built on the bespoke aluminum platform that is also being used for the new Rolls-Royce Phantom. The new SUV is also expected to share the company’s twin-turbo V12 engine with the Phantom, which in that application currently develops 420kW.
In somewhat typical Rolls-Royce style, the luxury brand is refraining from using such common terms as crossover or SUV to describe Project Cullinan, and is instead calling it an “all-terrain, high-sided vehicle.” Of course they’re not fooling anyone with such terminology, so expect the new Rolls-Royce SUV to be unveiled to the world in the late summer, with sales starting close to the end of 2018 and deliveries commencing sometime in 2019. – AFP Relaxnews