Updated Rolls-Royce Cullinan spied rocking a less stately look

Is the already divisive Rolls-Royce Cullinan about to get even more contentious?

It’s been nearly six years since the Rolls-Royce Cullinan arrived to challenge the high-end SUV status quo, so it’s no surprise to see the stately British manufacturer working on an updated version. Spied here with a more outspoken new look, Rolls’ self-proclaimed ‘high-sided vehicle’ might be about to become a lot more rock ‘n’ roll. 

The changes at the front are most obvious, with a reshaped lower bumper that creates a big divergence from its typical design language by ditching its horizontal and vertical design theme. Instead, the lower bumper features trapezoidal lower openings with diagonal vanes within them. Between this is a contrasting lower bar, although being a prototype this might be specific to this test car. 

Above this section we notice two panelled sections, likely concealing slimmer headlights with new daytime-running lights and a reshaped inner section. Their overall proportion in relation to the bonnet and typical Pantheon grille are similar to the current model, though, so the overall face won’t be too different. 

Changes at the rear are harder to spot, but the exhaust openings on the lower rear bumper that hide the actual exhaust pipes are significantly bigger, and come with thicker chrome surrounds in a new black plastic lower bumper section. 

The 22-inch wheels seen here are from the current Black Badge model, which we expect will return with the updated range considering it makes up a high proportion of overall sales. We don’t have any indication of changes inside the cabin, but expect some level of upgraded tech to its parent company BMW’s latest hardware. 

As the Cullinan runs on Rolls-Royce’s own architecture, we expect the 6.75-litre V12 engine to remain, with no indication whether there’s any plans to fit any level of hybrid or plug-in hybrid elements into the powertrain. 

Given the Cullinan’s original 2018 release date, we suspect this mid-life update will be along in 2024, retaining its spot right at the top of the SUV market. 

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Senior staff writer

Senior staff writer at Auto Express, Jordan joined the team after six years at evo magazine where he specialised in news and reviews of cars at the high performance end of the car market. 

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