Rolls-Royce Reveals Project Cullinan All-Wheel-Drive Mule
Shortened, High-Riding, Bespoilered Phantom Used to Develop Cullinan’s Suspension
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, the manufacturer of the ultra-luxurious Phantom, Ghost, and Wraith, revealed photos of its upcoming crossover’s first engineering mule, based on a shortened Phantom platform.
If you remember from February, Rolls-Royce announced its intent to build a “high-sided, all-terrain motor car,” codenamed Project Cullinan. According to Rolls-Royce, the mule hints “at the size of the new car, but it features no design aspects” of it. Thank goodness for that, as the mule looks seriously weird. Bizarrely, it rides much higher than a regular Phantom and features a huge, cantilevered trunk spoiler, both of which give it some odd proportions in conjunction with the truncated wheelbase.
According to Rolls, the mule rides on the first iteration of the all-new suspension that will give the Cullinan a smooth ride on and off-road. The tester’s first battery of tests will focus on on-road performance, including ride comfort and handling over cobblestones, corrugated concrete, resonance road, and Belgian Pavé. These tests will take place both in test facilities and on public roads. We’re not sure what role the Fast and Furious-type spoiler will play in these evaluations.
Given the current Phantom’s length of 230 inches, we expect the Cullinan to measure closer to the length of the Ghost sedan, at between 213 and 219 inches. It’s not clear what form factor the production version of the project will take, as Rolls-Royce’s wording in the initial announcement didn’t necessarily denote that it would be a conventional SUV. A “high-sided motor car” could be a slightly taller sedan, or it could adopt the sleek profile of the Wraith coupe. It could also be some kind of fastback wagon in the vein of the Porsche Macan and upcoming Bentley Bentayga. We expect Rolls’ prominent chrome radiator shell, rearward-opening “coach doors,” and a rather imposing profile to appear on the Cullinan (or whatever the production vehicle will be called).