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Rolls-Royce Cullinan – don’t call it an SUV…

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The Rolls-Royce Cullinan will arrive on UK roads some time in 2018 – but its makers are refusing to call the newcomer an SUV.

Rolls-Royce has officially confirmed the name of the new model, but nowhere in the press release does the phrase SUV appear, the new model described instead as an “all-new, high-bodied car.” Already several observers have pointed out that this sounds like the kind of vehicle that is banned from bridges in strong winds…

Expected to be a direct rival to the Bentley Bentayga, the new Rolls-Royce will be built in Britain at the brand’s plant in Goodwood, Sussex.

It is named after the Cullinan Diamond, extracted from a mine deep in South Africa’s Magaliesberg Mountains in 1905. At 3,106 carats, this was the largest flawless diamond ever discovered. It was split into nine stones and two of them were incorporated into the UK crown jewels.
Rolls-Royce Cullinan The Car Expert

According to Rolls-Royce CEO, Torsten Müller-Ötvös, the name emphasises many aspects of the car, including endurance, solidity, rarity and absolute luxury.

Rolls-Royce first announced its intention to build the car three years ago, almost immediately dubbing it ‘Project Cullinan’ but insisted at the time that the name might not be the final choice.

On view – to a degree

In December 2016 a camouflaged version of the car began public testing, which included a cold-weather traction and durability programme inside the Arctic Circle, followed by a hot-weather equivalent in the Middle East. The car has also been seen testing on the Nurburgring circuit in Germany.

The Cullinan is predicted to be powered by an updated version of the 6.8-litre petrol engine used in the Rolls-Royce Phantom. A plug-in hybrid powertrain is also thought to be in future plans for the car, but not a diesel.

However its makers decide to describe it, the Cullinan is expected to become the most expensive SUV on the market, industry observers predicting that prices will start at around £300,000.

Rolls-Royce Cullinan The Car Expert

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Andrew Charman
Andrew Charman
Andrew is a road test editor for The Car Expert. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.