Skip to main content

Rolls-Royce hopes its first SUV will be as solid as a diamond, and as desirable

Rolls-Royce CullinanRolls-Royce confirmed that its first SUV will be named Cullinan. Rolls has been using Cullinan as a code name to refer to the SUV since the project was first announced three years ago, but waffled over whether that name would be carried over to production. Rolls’ decision to lock in the name indicates that the Cullinan is almost ready for its unveiling, but we don’t have a firm date yet.

The name comes from the Cullinan Diamond, the largest flawless diamond ever found. The 3,106-carat gem was dug up in South Africa’s Magaliesberg Mountains in 1905, and named after Thomas Cullinan, who owned the mine where it was found. The diamond was later cut into nine pieces. The two larges of those pieces became part of the British Imperial Crown and Scepter.

Rolls likens the solidity and precious nature of the giant diamond to its new SUV, which the company prefers to call a “high-bodied vehicle” in order to curtail references to soccer moms and the like. Our spy shots also indicate that will be an apt description, as the Cullinan appears to be styled to look like a taller version of a traditional Rolls-Royce.

The Cullinan will use the aluminum-intensive platform that debuted last year on the eighth-generation Rolls-Royce Phantom. It may also borrow the Phantom’s 6.7-liter twin-turbocharged V12, which produces 563 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque in the sedan.

Rolls has never been known to follow trends, but the current push for SUVs was too strong for even this stalwart automaker to resist. The Cullinan will give Rolls a rival for the Bentley Bentayga, and something for customers who want all-wheel drive. Purists may scoff at the idea of a Rolls SUV, but it’s hard to deny the appeal of these vehicles to customers.

In a press release, Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Muller-Otvos said the Cullinan name “alludes to the pioneering adventurous spirit of The Hon. Charles Rolls and the engineering innovation of Sir Henry Royce,” the company’s founders. But with the Cullinan, Rolls seems to be following a trend, not breaking new ground. That doesn’t mean the Cullinan won’t be a marvelous vehicle, but it’s following a path others have trod before.

Stephen Edelstein
Stephen is a freelance automotive journalist covering all things cars. He likes anything with four wheels, from classic cars…
With 1,800 horsepower, Bugatti’s Tourbillon brings plug-ins past the Prius
The Bugatti Tourbillon is a plug-in hybrid.

Plug-in hybrid technology has reached the automotive industry’s upper echelon. Bugatti has unveiled the Tourbillon, the long-awaited successor to the Chiron, with a gasoline-electric drivetrain rated at 1,800 horsepower, 3D-printed parts in the suspension, and an unusual sound system that has no speakers.

Bugatti developed the Tourbillon on a blank slate. The big coupe’s proportions are relatively close to the Chiron’s because the two cars need to fulfill a similar mission: cruise safely and comfortably at jaw-dropping speeds. Bugatti hints that hitting 250-plus-mph is well within the Tourbillon’s scope of capabilities. For context, the Chiron set a speed record and became the first car to break the 300-mph barrier when it reached 304 mph in 2019, so the brand knows a thing or two about speed.

Read more
Tesla has teased three new cars — but what are they?
Tesla Roadster

Tesla is expanding its lineup. We've known for some time that Tesla has been working on two new models, but at a recent shareholders meeting, CEO Elon Musk showed off a slide that showed three cars under a white sheet -- suggesting that there are actually three new Tesla vehicles in the pipeline. The new models will expand its consumer lineup to eight cars -- which will hopefully mean that the company offers something for everyone.

But what are those new vehicles? Of course, there's still a lot we don't know about the new Tesla models. However, Tesla itself has offered some information --- and plenty of rumors have also surfaced about what the company is potentially working on.

Read more
EVs may produce more emissions during manufacturing, but they quickly catch up
european cars getting bigger engines emissions car pollution smog

Electric vehicles are here in full force, and while they're still more expensive than their gas-powered counterparts, prices are slowly, but surely coming down. In fact, EVs are likely to be just as affordable as internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles in the next few years. But like anything, there are pros and cons to buying an EV over an ICE vehicle. For example, on average, it's cheaper to charge an electric vehicle than to fill the gas tank of an ICE vehicle -- not to mention the lower costs of maintenance.

At face value, having a smaller impact on the environment is also a tick in the EV column. But as many have been rightfully pointing out, the impact that EVs have on the environment is a little more complicated than the simple fact that they're not using gasoline and themselves emitting carbon dioxide. For example, what about the emissions involved with manufacturing an electric vehicle compared to a gas-powered vehicle? What about the materials in those huge batteries?

Read more