Rolls-Royce Cullinan shows off its taillights

That aside, the Cullinan can not be mistaken for anything but Rolls-Royce. Rolls-Royce puts it rather more elegantly: "Although the Cullinan will have traversed terrain that will have besmirched its exterior with mud, slush or dust, no trouser leg will be dirtied on exit".

- The British marque is calling the Cullinan as a "High Bodied" model and it is built ground-up.

The four-wheel drive SUV also features an all-wheel steering system, which the automaker says turns it into a capable off-roader.

The Cullinan joins four other models in the current Rolls-Royce folio - Phantom, Ghost, Dawn, Wraith - and is created to play a very different role. But it shares much with Rolls-Royce's flagship, including its 6.75-litre twin turbo V12 engine and all-aluminium chassis that's referred to as the Architect of Luxury.

Well, then. If a gang of modern art thieves-or Indiana Jones-needs a new SUV, the Cullinan awaits. It'll underpin every new Royce from now on. Massive 22-inch rims flank each of its four corners.

Thus we arrive at the Cullinan, Rolls' first 4x4.

Rolls-Royce's so-called "Magic Carpet Ride" self-levelling air suspension has been re-engineered for an SUV application, including larger air struts with more volume and stronger drive and prop shafts.

With the seats up, the rear compartment offers up to 21.19 cubic feet of storage space-enough to hold a "Mark Rothko" painting or "newly discovered artifact from the latest archaeological dig", Roll-Royce claims.

The notion of four-wheeling in Rolls-Royce has returned thanks to the world's seemingly insatiable appetite for SUVs.

Grille is actually quite restrained.

Those who've been following its developmental videos would also be well aware that the Cullinan has been torture-tested on various terrains across the globe.

On board is an array of safety and assist systems, which should make the Cullinan "the most technologically advanced auto of its type in the world". Customers will be able to select between two rear seat configurations; a bench "lounge" seat and "individual" seats. It's limited to 155mph, but Rolls-Royce aren't saying how quick it is to 62mph. Power-folding rear seats, split 70/30, are another first for a Rolls-Royce, as is a touchscreen infotainment system.

"A Rolls in the desert is worth more than rubies". There are heated front door armrests and rear side armrests.

The Cullinan is available to order now, with prices expected to start in the region of £300,000. The second option brings two individual seats intead, plus a long centre console containing a drinks cabinet and fridge. Access via coach door, of course.

Rolls-Royce claims that the Cullinan is the most "technologically advanced vehicle of its type in the world", thanks in part to its wealth of active driver assistance and safety features. According to the company, the Cullinan is the most practical Rolls ever. The famous "power reserve" dial has been digitised, while other information displayed includes that for driver assistance, navigation, cruise control, fuel and temperatures levels.

This is the Viewing Suite option: ideal for One to watch One's family play sport. What else, this SUV gets its name from the stunning 3106-carat diamond extracted from a South African mine in 1905.

"At this point in the history of automotive design, SUVs have become homogenous and ubiquitous", Giles Taylor, Rolls-Royce's director of design, told reporters.

Those in the rear sit higher than do those in the front via Rolls-Royce's "pavilion-style seating".

  • Arturo Norris