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Rolls-Royce calls this an “all-terrain, high-sided vehicle,” but we know this as an SUV – albeit a very luxurious one. Dubbed Project Cullinan, the upcoming luxury SUV draws on current Rolls-Royce design cues such as a squared, chiseled front with an imposing upright grille, and the traditional coach door (also known as suicide door) layout has been confirmed for the Cullinan as well.

Testing is well underway, with engineering mules built to develop the new all-wheel-drive system for Rolls-Royce’s latest design, and to test the new aluminium platform that will underpin all Rolls-Royces from 2018. The Cullinan is scheduled to undergo cold weather durability and traction testing in the Arctic Circle at year’s end, while hot weather and desert conditions testing will take place in the Middle East next year.

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An updated iteration of the 6.75 litre V12 is expected to power the Cullinan initially when it comes to market, but given that it is expected to compete directly against the Bentley Bentayga, the Goodwood marque’s 6.6 litre, twin-turbocharged V12 that is based on a BMW unit could be a possibility as well. Speaking of which, BMW’s upcoming X7 is said to share some of its components with the Cullinan.

“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. 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,” said Torsten Müller-Ötvös, CEO of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.