Rolls-Royce Cullinan Test Mule Spied on the Nurburgring

High-sided vehicle out for a roll

The sentence, "The upcoming Rolls-Royce SUV was spotted on the Nürburgring," would have confused and maddened the car enthusiast of yesteryear.

Nowadays, the feelings of anger remain for some, but no one is surprised when a luxury automaker develops a high-dollar SUV and sends it 'round the 'Ring for testing.

Roll-Royce doesn't want you to call the Cullinan an SUV, however. They've instead opted for the term High-Sided Vehicle, or HSV. Rolls-Royce promises the lifted ride will offer ample off-road capabilities, even if very few of these will ever leave the pavement.

The Cullinan is based on the upcoming eighth-generation Phantom's platform, which uses a new aluminum spaceframe architecture.

Power will still come from a BMW-derived 6.75-liter V-12. A plug-in hybrid variant is another possible powertrain option.

Spotters from CarPix say the Cullinan, which rides on air suspension, hooned through the bends with significantly less body roll than what one would expect from a vehicle of its size. Perhaps there is something to taking an SUV to the Nürburgring after all.

Expect the Cullinan to debut in 2018 following the next-generation Phantom's debut in London later this year.