No, this isn't just a super badass Phantom. The car you see here – codenamed Project Cullinan – is an early development mule for the new all-wheel-drive suspension system that will eventually be found in Rolls-Royce's upcoming SUV. It's made up of a shortened Phantom body, looks totally murdered out, and has a huge freaking wing on the back. We love it.

Of course, Rolls-Royce properly poo-poos any similarities between this mule and the eventual production model. "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 in February this year," the company said in a press release. The end goal of this mule is to create "a final all-wheel-drive system that delivers Rolls-Royce's hallmark 'magic-carpet' ride not only on the road, but off-road too."

Screw the SUV. We'll take one as-is.

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PROJECT CULLINAN BEGINS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME AS ENGINEERING MULE APPEARS IN PUBLIC

In its open letter on 18 February this year, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars gave an undertaking to inform stakeholders of the progress of Project Cullinan. Keeping this promise, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars has today published photographs depicting the first key milestone in the vehicle's development programme. The photographs are of the first engineering mule, which will be seen on public roads this week.

This early engineering mule, based on a shortened Phantom Series II body, 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 in February this year.

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 Rolls-Royce's hallmark "magic-carpet" ride not only on the road, but off-road too.

The first series of tests will focus on Project Cullinan's on-road behaviour from suspension throw to high-bodied stability, and will test the new suspension across all types of international road surface specification at test facilities, as well as on public roads. Test surfaces will include; Belgian Pavé, cobblestones, corrugated concrete, noise development and measurement surfaces, resonance road, and acceleration bumps.

Project Cullinan engineering mules will spend equal amounts of time testing on-road and off-road to ensure that the customer will experience the same unrivalled ride quality on loose surfaces and challenging terrain as they do on the road today.

Related Video:

Rolls-Royce Serenity | 2015 Geneva Motor Show | Autoblog Short Cuts


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