Test mule for new Rolls-Royce aluminum spaceframe architectureEnlarge Photo
About a year ago, Rolls-Royce announced that it was developing a new aluminum spaceframe architecture that was to eventually underpin its entire range, including a new SUV that’s currently doing the rounds under the Project Cullinan code name.
The British automaker has now announced that the first vehicle to ride on the architecture will arrive on the market in early 2018. The vehicle is likely to be either the aforementioned SUV or a next-generation Phantom.
Rolls-Royce recently started the testing phase of this new architecture, with early preparatory activity seeing engineering mules for both the SUV and next-generation Phantom hitting public roads. Rolls-Royce says the tests are to ensure the architecture delivers Rolls-Royce’s trademark ‘magic-carpet ride’ on a variety of surfaces and that it is resilient to extreme weather conditions.
This is just the first stage of a long gestation period that will later see the test mules morph into prototypes with the final sheet metal, powertrains and interiors.
“I am announcing today that on-road testing of our all-new proprietary architecture is beginning,” Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös said in a statement. “This new architecture of pure luxury represents considerable investment in the future of our great brand."