Back in 2015, early reports about Rolls-Royce’s first SUV model in history appeared. At the time, it was hard to believe the British luxury firm was indeed planning a high-riding vehicle but about three years later, the Cullinan was officially announced. A few months later, it went on sale, and over the next years, it became the company’s best-selling nameplate. This very important model is now being prepared for a mid-cycle refresh and we have the very first spy photos showing a lightly camouflaged prototype.
Captured close to BMW’s research and development centre in Munich, this blue trial vehicle has portions of its front fascia disguised hinting at visual revisions to the front bumper. The lower section of the panel has no camouflage, letting us take a clear look at the new shape and size of the air intakes at the sides. The centre section with the large radar in the middle remains mostly unchanged, though there appears to be a different pattern for the grille.
Gallery: Rolls-Royce Cullinan facelift first spy photos
There’s nothing to cover the changes at the back and we can see a new design for the lower section of the rear bumper. The black plastic cladding now extends higher into the quarter panels and the exhausts have a different shape. We don’t think this is the final layout of the pipes inside those chrome finishers, though. In general, the luxury SUV’s side panels and greenhouse appear to be completely untouched.
The Cullinan is currently available worldwide with just a single engine – Rolls-Royce’s 6.75-litre twin-turbocharged V12. In standard form, it generates 563 bhp delivered to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission from ZF. The unit gets an upgrade in the Black Badge models where the output is 591 bhp. We don’t expect any changes under the bonnet, though we won’t be very surprised if the firm adds some sort of electrification to the V12.