As revealed in February last year, that new model will come in the form of an SUV - or, as Rolls-Royce described it at the time, “a high-bodied car”.
The new SUV will compete with the Bentley Bentayga, although Rolls-Royce would be loathe to recognise anything with wheels as a rival. “Our competitors are actually your yachts, your jets, fine arts,” the company’s design director, Giles Taylor, told CarAdvice in September.
In a statement today, the company said that on-road testing of the new platform is now underway, which suggests that earlier photos of a high-riding development mule may have been testing other aspects of the new model.
The British marque said the current testing phase is intended to evaluate the new aluminium architecture against the ‘magic carpet ride’ qualities expected of a Rolls-Royce.
“The assessment of the new proprietary architecture is the first stage of a development programme that will see a new generation of Rolls-Royce motor cars become available from early 2018,” the company said.
The so-called Cullinan SUV will likely be followed quickly by a new-generation Phantom - potentially previewed above - replacing the model that launched in 2003 before benefiting from a major upgrade in 2012.