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Rolls-Royce Cullinan Getting More Power, Hybrid Option

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Goodwood has big plans for its big SUV's powertrain

With 563 horsepower on tap, the Rolls-Royce Cullinan is hardly what you might consider to be starved for power. But according to the latest word on the street, it could get even more power in the future.

Top Gear reports that a more potent version of the venerated luxury marque's debut crossover is in the cards. And what's more is that a hybrid version is slated to join it as well. That would bring the number of powertrain options up to three from the solitary version currently on offer, and launch Rolls-Royce into the electrified-vehicle market for the first time.

Rolls-Royce revealed the Cullinan just this past May with a 6.75-liter twin-turbo V12 producing 563 horsepower and 627 lb-ft of torque. That's more power than any version of the rival Bentley Bentayga short of the top W12 model, with torque just short of the diesel version that its former sister company will likely never offer. Bentley does, however, produce a plug-in hybrid version of the Bentayga, which is an eventuality that Rolls-Royce and its parent company BMW look to emulate – with or without the plug-in capability. It did, however, toy with the idea of electric power with the 102EX concept.

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Otherwise known as the Phantom Experimental Electric, the prototype was based on the previous Phantom VII and fitted with 389 hp and 590 lb-ft worth of battery power. But customers' reservations lead Rolls-Royce to abandon the project, at least for the time being.

As for the more powerful version, the big twelve certainly has room to grow. 6.75 liters of displacement and two turbochargers can surely yield more muscle than Rolls-Royce has coaxed out of it. But the British automaker tunes its engines more for smooth power delivery and quiet operation than it does power, so don't expect it to veer too far off course.