With the Cullinan SUV, Rolls-Royce is looking to beat the Bentayga on every level

Rolls-Royce emblem

Bentley raised eyebrows at the Frankfurt Motor Show when it introduced the all-new Bentayga, its first-ever off-roader. Former sister company and current arch enemy Rolls-Royce is busily developing its own SUV, but the high-riding Roller won’t make its official debut until 2018 at the very earliest.

When it hits the market, the SUV will likely be dubbed Cullinan, the name of the largest gem-quality diamond ever found. It will be built largely out of aluminum in order to keep weight in check, and it will ride on a brand new space-frame chassis that it will not share with any other model.

While the Bentayga was allegedly designed to go far off the beaten path, Rolls-Royce already predicts that the Cullinan will be simply an all-terrain vehicle, not a a full-on off-roader capable of taking on the Rubicon trail. In spite of that, the BMW-owned car maker boldly claims the soft-roader will be better than its Bentley-badged competitor in every way.

“The Bentley SUV is clearly the No. 2; Rolls-Royce is the best in the world and will be when our model arrives. We will bring a great new car, and an authentic Rolls Royce into the market,” promised company CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös on the sidelines of the Frankfurt Motor Show.

Bentley has not issued an official response to the executive’s comments.

Precisely when we’ll see the Cullinan in the metal is anyone’s guess at this point. Additional details will be published in the next few months, and it’s not too far-fetched to speculate Rolls-Royce will preview the SUV with a thinly veiled concept in the coming years.

Rolls-Royce isn’t the only high-end car maker that’s preparing to take on the Bentayga in the hotly-contested super-SUV segment. The production version of the Lamborghini Urus will land in approximately 2018, and Aston Martin has confirmed it will join the segment before the decade draws to a close.