News: Rolls-Royce reveals its SUV development 'mule'

Under the odd body are the beginnings of a super-SUV

Rolls-Royce SUV mule: Project Cullinan

DON’T WORRY: this is not how Rolls-Royce thinks an SUV should look – it’s merely a botched Phantom body on top of the sport utility vehicle’s mechanicals-in-progress.

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Rolls has brutally chopped a Phantom Series II body to fit the platform of the engineering “mule” being used to begin the development of the all-terrain car’s four-wheel-drive system.

The purpose of the vast rear wing on Project Cullinan, as it is currently known, is not clear; you can be fairly sure it won’t appear on the final car. The company would only say it was part of the process of developing the suspension setup.

Rolls-Royce SUV mule: Project Cullinan

Rolls-Royce is aiming for a ride that will be “effortless … everywhere” with the new SUV: it wants the “magic carpet” feeling you get on the road to continue when you decide to take the car off road. The Goodwood-based company will put the same amount of work into both types of driving experience.

With the Cullinan mule hitting British roads this week, in the full glare of the car paparazzi, Rolls-Royce is perhaps making it known that the odd-looking model, with its rather vulgar rear spoiler, is not a new addition to Rolls-Royce showrooms.

Rolls-Royce SUV mule: Project Cullinan

While production is expected to begin in 2017, Rolls told Driving it’s too early to know how long the gestation period will be for its SUV; instead today’s announcement was merely to say it was honouring a promise to its shareholders, made earlier this year, that the car would go ahead.