Rolls-Royce Cullinan SUV Prototype Shown Testing

New all-wheel-drive system and suspension setup in development.

The upcoming Rolls-Royce SUV is getting closer to production, as evidenced by this engineering mule that's out and about testing a new all-wheel-drive system for this new model. The ultra-luxury SUV, likely due in 2018 or 2019, is currently dubbed "Project Cullinan," a name that should make its way to the production version.

We've detailed the Rolls-Royce Cullinan before, reporting on its 6.6-liter V-12 engine that's expected to send around 630 hp and 740 lb-ft of torque through an eight-speed automatic transmission and Rolls-Royce's first all-wheel-drive system. This drivetrain is what's being tested in this prototype, which uses a shortened Rolls-Royce Phantom body on top of the SUV's underpinnings. A significantly higher ride height is obvious in these photos of the test mule, though we're a bit confused as to why it has a large rear spoiler planted on the trunklid.

Rolls-Royce also says that the Cullinan SUV will debut a new suspension system that's meant to provide the brand's so-called "magic-carpet" ride in both on- and off-road situations. This new chassis, which will use air springs, is being tested on all sorts of surfaces in this prototype. The Cullinan's architecture will be related to the aluminum spaceframe architecture set to underpin BMW's upcoming X7 SUV. The air springs, along with stronger axles, will be unique to the Rolls-Royce version.

Stay tuned for more news on the upcoming Rolls-Royce Cullinan SUV, which is expected to boost sales for the British ultra-luxury carmaker when it arrives within the next few years.

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