Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Project Cullinan: Rolls-Royce begins testing its diamond SUV in the rough

Rolls-Royce Cullinan seen in camouflage as testing begins

Rolls-Royce

The next step in Rolls-Royce's Project Cullinan is traction and cold-weather testing above the Arctic Circle this winter, followed by exposure to extreme desert conditions in the Middle East.

The fully developed Rolls features new all-wheel-drive suspension, lightweight aluminum architecture, raised ground clearance, a high roofline and a relatively rugged appearance.

Just don't call it an SUV.

Story continues below advertisement

Rather, Rolls describes its camouflaged concept as an "all-terrain, high-sided vehicle". The objective of the testing: to ensure the vehicle is "effortless, everywhere". It is meant to venture off-road while providing passengers the coziness of a baby blanket.

"This is an incredibly exciting moment in the development of Project Cullinan both for Rolls-Royce and for the patrons of luxury that follow us around the world," CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös said, in an update released Thursday. "Bringing together the new four-wheel-drive system and the new 'architecture of luxury' for the first time sets us on the road to creating a truly authentic Rolls-Royce which, like its forebears, will reset the standard by which all other luxury goods are judged."

The vehicle is due in 2018, as is the eighth-generation Phantom, and the vehicles will share the same platform. The project's namesake, the Cullinan II diamond, is a 317-carot diamond in the Crown Jewels, cut from a 3,106-carot diamond discovered in 1905, in South Africa.

Rolls-Royce isn't revealing the Arctic testing site but one logical destination would be the Nokia's "White Hell" track in Ivalo, Finland, visited by Globe Drive's Peter Cheney last year.

We've redesigned the Drive section – take a look

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
As of December 20, 2017, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this resolved by the end of January 2018. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.