When is a Rolls-Royce Cullinan not a Rolls-Royce Cullinan? When it’s a bespoke look from former Rolls-Royce design director Gilles Taylor, now head of the design bureau for Chinese brand Hongqi, owned by the FAW Group. There are more than a few hints to the look of the Hongqi E115 concept luxury SUV that can be laid over the profile of the Cullinan, and a strong relationship in the frontal view as well, which happens to include a very cheery grin in the pictures of the concept vehicle. The production version’s name and details have not yet been confirmed, with a final design sign-off and manufacturing release, plus price, yet to come.
Hongqi unveiled two vehicles at the 2019 Frankfurt motor show – the E115 and a very sporty looking hypercar with hints of McLaren. The S9 and E115 will both feature electric power, with the S9 said to be a 1,400 horsepower, 1.9 seconds to 62mph (100kph) rocket. Power is from a hybrid powertrain, with a gasoline fed V8 and electric propulsion. But it’s the E115 that caught more eyes, because of both the looks and the chatter that came from the rumors about its performance.
It’s a pure EV, no gasoline here. The range is rumored to be 373 miles or around 600 kilometers, although a more realistic 250 miles (400km) will come from the 92.4 kWh battery pack from a single charge. The 62mph (100kph) time? Rapid, at just four seconds. A 218hp, 258lb-ft (350Nm) front-mounted electric engine is backed, literally, by a rear-mounted 299hp, 310lb-ft (420Nm) engine. Total output, says Hongqi, is 517 horsepower and 567 lb-ft (770Nm), being put to the tarmac via a permanent all-wheel-drive system.
Sizewise it’s long, with a Cadillac Escalade beating 203 inches (5,160mm). It packs a wheelbase of 128 inches (3,250mm). Width is 78.74 inches (2,000mm) and it stands 68.11 inches (1,730mm) in height. In comparison, the Rolls-Royce Cullinan has a length, of 210.27 inches (5,341mm), is the same width, and is slightly taller at 72.32 inches (1,837mm). The wheelbase is also longer at 129/72 inches (3,295mm). There’s little doubt it won’t be a lightweight either. Air suspension, though, should mitigate the feeling of mass in directional changes.
Little information about the E115’s interior is available. However, one spy shot appears to back up the talk that the dashboard will feature a twin LCD display setup and leather trim will abound. As mentioned, the Hongqi 115’s price, final look, and release date are unknown aside from a mooted third quarter of 2020.