The race to build the world's costliest and most outrageous SUV just shifted into high gear.
Rolls-Royce is out to trump the upcoming Bentley Bentayga and has gone public with the Phantom-based headliner it will add to its range by 2017.
It's big and ugly, but Rolls-Royce says there are zero hints to the final styling - not even the giant rear wing, added to mimic the drag from an SUV wagon body - in its first test car. Called 'Project Cullinan', the SUV project was confirmed in February, around the time the Bentayga was caught in testing at the Nurburgring in Germany.
The first R-R engineering mule hits public roads in Britain this week, rolling on a shortened Phantom Series II body.
The company says the vehicle has been created "purely to begin the development of an all-wheel drive suspension system that will deliver a ride that will be effortless ... everywhere".
"The body may hint at the size of the new car, but it features no design aspects of the eventual high-sided, all-terrain motor car announced by Rolls-Royce Motor Cars," says Rolls-Royce.
As the company gets deeper into Project Cullinan it promises development will be split 50:50 between on and off-road testing
"The mule rides on the first iteration of an all-new suspension that will assist Rolls-Royce engineers in developing a final all-wheel drive system that delivers ... hallmark "magic-carpet" ride not only on the road, but off-road too."
As the company gets deeper into Project Cullinan it promises development will be split 50:50 between on and off-road testing, even though it's highly unlikely anyone other than members of the Middle Eastern royalty will be taking the $1 million-plus SUV seriously away from bitumen.