Rolls-Royce had previewed its Bentley Bentayga rival, the Cullinan, ahead of its May 10 unveil with an image that showed a tail-light, complete with the Rolls-Royce logo inside. A few hours before the unveil, the brand has now released another preview picture of its upcoming Cullinan that shows a section of centre console buttons, one of which is labelled Off Road.
Rolls-Royce is clearly eager to emphasise the off-road driving capabilities of its first SUV. The centre console also has buttons to raise the car's height. The new image follows one that shows a tail-light, complete with the Rolls-Royce logo inside.
The Cullinan is claimed to mix ultra-luxury with genuine off-road ability. To illustrate the luxury element, Rolls-Royce unveiled the car's pop-out, tailgate-mounted seats and table earlier this year after confirmation of the car's name. Recent spy shots showed the Cullinan with the least disguise we've seen yet, revealing much of the Phantom-like appearance of the car.
Each of the pop-out seats, which are rear-facing and intended for use while the car is not in motion, bears the Rolls-Royce logo. Both fold back into a compartment in the boot floor.
The Phantom's influence is clear to see, with a near-identical fascia at the front and D-shaped tail-lights at the rear. The boxy design shows that the Cullinan takes after the Phantom rather than the smoother-looking Ghost. Spy shots show that the rear doors are rear-hinged, as seen on the Ghost and the Phantom.
The rival to the Bentley Bentayga was called 'Project Cullinan' during its development. The name is inspired by the Cullinan Diamond, a 3,106-carat jewel extracted from a South African mine in 1905. It was split into nine stones, with the two largest used in the British imperial crown and the Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross.
Rolls-Royce boss Torsten Müller-Ötvös said the Cullinan name had been “hiding in plain sight”, adding: “It is the most fitting name for our extraordinary new product.”
The Cullinan, which Rolls-Royce refers to as a "high-sided vehicle" rather than an SUV, is likely to use a developed version of the Phantom’s 6.8-litre V12 engine. A plug-in hybrid powertrain could also be offered at a later stage, using technology from parent company BMW. Rolls-Royce has dismissed a diesel option due to the comparative lack of refinement offered by such units.
The all-wheel-drive car will use the same aluminium spaceframe platform, named the Architecture of Luxury, as the Phantom.