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To refine the Cullinan SUV, Rolls-Royce unbridles engineering mule with massive wing

Rolls-Royce is currently developing a “high-sided, all-terrain motor car” codenamed ‘Project Cullinan’ to do battle with the upcoming Bentley Bentayga. As part of the SUV’s development process, the automaker has released photos of an engineering mule used to test the vehicle’s suspension.

If you’re a bit confused right now, we understand. Instead of previewing the upscale, capable SUV we expect to come with the Cullinan badge, the mule looks like something a teenager would do to his parent’s Phantom after seeing Furious 7: huge wing, blacked out alloys, and prominent wheel gap in all.

Not to worry, because Rolls-Royce says the mule will share no design aspects with the Cullinan. What it is, then, is an early guinea pig for the SUV’s all-new suspension, which will be tested thoroughly over various terrain in the coming weeks. The trials, Rolls-Royce claims, will be integral to the development of the vehicle’s all-wheel drive system.

Rolls-Royce engineering mule

With that information in hand, the mule’s ground clearance certainly makes sense. But the ‘mad downforce yo’ wing? Your guess is as good as ours.

One thing the company did confirm, however, is that the mule’s shortened Phantom II body “may hint at the size of the new car.” And while it will use an aluminum-intensive platform like the Phantom, it will ride on its own bespoke platform.

Rolls-Royce engineering mule

Furthermore, the automaker hopes the suspension tests will result in the same “magic-carpet” ride quality its vehicles have become known for over the years. Given that the Cullinan is named after the largest gem-quality diamond ever found, anything else would be a bit of a letdown.