LONDON -- An unparalleled combination of practicality and bespoke luxury will push the Cullinan, Rolls-Royce’s first SUV, to the top of its class, CEO Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes promised at its unveiling.
The Cullinan, revealed publicly Thursday at an event in London, will become the world’s most expensive production SUV when it goes on sale, likely toward the end of the year or early next year. In its home U.K. market, the Cullinan is expected to start at around 250,000 pounds ($340,000), but bespoke options will push the price thousands higher.
The Bentley Bentayga SUV starts at 135,800 pounds ($184,700) for the V-8 diesel.
The Cullinan is the "most family-oriented, fun-to-drive, superluxury SUV imaginable," Mueller-Oetvoes said at a preview of the car in March. “It will be perfectly at home taking kids to school as it is arriving at an opera house at the opening night.”
The biggest market for the vehicle is expected to be the U.S., Rolls-Royce's No. 1 market, Mueller-Oetvoes said. The SUV is also expected to be “very profitable” in China, he told Automotive News Europe.
The Cullinan, he said, will provide an "uplift" to Rolls-Royce sales, currently around 4,000 a year, but Mueller-Oetvoes didn’t go into detail.
The SUV is built on the same Rolls-developed aluminum platform that underpins the Phantom sedan and all future vehicles from the BMW Group-owned company.
The Cullinan, named for the world’s largest flawless diamond, is powered by the same 571-hp, 6.75-liter, twin-turbocharged V-12 gasoline engine as the Phantom. The Cullinan is positioned below the Phantom to give customers an SUV alternative to the Ghost luxury sedan, Rolls-Royce’s entry car.
The Phantom will remain the "ultimate flagship," Mueller-Oetvoes said.