When you think of the top of the line models of cars what name comes to mind? This obviously starts by depending on what you think a vehicle should have and where your top of the line comes in. Even with that thought in mind, it’s hard to argue Rolls-Royce has been the top of the line for many years for their luxury vehicles that offer superior design, comfort, and performance for their customers to enjoy and show off wherever they drive.
So, knowing the history and reputation of Rolls-Royce, what would make some of the top luxury names shake in their shoes a bit, how about an announcement that Rolls-Royce will now enter the SUV segment late in 2018. That just might be enough to make some pack up their bags and leave, probably not, but imagine a world where the new Rolls-Royce SUV is competing for the same attention as the Bentley Bentayga. That is a contest I for one will enjoy watching from afar, with no hope to be able to purchase either, but I can certainly stand in awe of both vehicles as they are offered to help bring in a new customer to Rolls-Royce.
Because it’s still very early in this particular project launch, the new SUV does not have an official name, but is expected to go under the name Project Cullinan for now, named for the larges diamond ever found. A fitting name for such a project as Rolls-Royce expects this to be the large diamond that brings them a much greater volume of sales once launched. This volume increase will be exceptional considering the total output from Rolls-Royce last years was near 4000 cars for the current two lines combined. Having this third line is expected to increase volume to somewhere between 6000 and 7000 vehicles which would put them right in line with Ferrari.
With volume sales not being the priority with this new line, but instead the ability to offer customers a custom SUV that performs exactly as desired, the expectations are to offer several smaller production runs based on feedback and customer desires. For this reason, Rolls-Royce plans to strategically approach this new line of vehicles and doesn’t currently plan to break through the 10,000 unit barrier.
The new SUV is expected to seat up to five comfortably and offer a long wheelbase that rides on 22 inch rims along with offering up to ninety percent of the off road capability of Range Rover. As a huge claim like that can only be made with the utmost of confidence, the Rolls-Royce team has now given themselves a huge challenge to meet just in off road performance alone.
As would be expected for a vehicle from Rolls-Royce the engine is expected to be one of their always faithful and highly-engineered V12 engines which will ensure the Rolls-Royce SUV has more power and capability than most other SUVs. The expected power will come in at 626 horsepower and 768 lb.-ft. of torque and be attached to an eight-speed automatic transmission. This SUV is also expected to be made originally with a four-wheel drive as a standard offering, which may be adjusted during some of the smaller production runs that are planned.
The questions as to whether this is the right decision for Rolls-Royce is still up for grabs, but one thing is certain, a Rolls-Royce built SUV will gain attention from many fans and others who have to compete with this vehicle. This will without a doubt be a project to watch as it heads toward production and unveiling at car shows and we get a better look and idea as to what this dynamic top end luxury manufacturer will have to offer for its loyal customers to drive and head off road.