Right now, the big automotive news is the Rolls Royce Cullinan. The Double-R brand’s first-ever proper SUV is stealing automotive headlines across the globe and for good reason — it’s an incredibly polarizing car. There are many journalists who love its looks, love its luxury and are shocked at its capability. However, there are quite a few who really dislike it. The biggest reason the Cullinan is so polarizing is its stylish. While it’s very typical of Rolls’ current design language, there are a lot of enthusiasts who don’t like it. So it’s interesting to see what Giles Taylor, Rolls Royce Director of Design, has to say about it.
Top Gear recently spoke with Taylor to discuss the Cullinan’s design and the challenges of designing a proper Rolls Royce but one that can also handle some rougher terrain. That’s s difficult balance to create. “It’s a Rolls-Royce, but higher up. It has the level of opulence our patrons love and expect, together with the commanding driving position. Then we started to tackle the versatility and practicality this vehicle has to offer. The challenge was to get the graciousness and elegance. We could get the imperiousness, the sense of a Rolls-Royce commanding its territory like never before, the power and authority. But it also needed to be graceful.” Taylor told TG.
What’s interesting is that Taylor and his team never wanted to shy away from the Cullinan’s SUV nature. “The front ‘block’ had to be capable of taking on Kilimanjaro, we were never apologizing for the 4×4 part of its character. Our owners can climb a dune in consummate comfort, yes, but also supreme capability. So the pencil started to glide from a very serious front into something more akin to the grand tourers of old, back when you’d set off into Sussex or wherever with your trunks on the back and someone would unstrap them on arrival.”
When speaking about one of the Cullinan’s most interesting features, the glass partition that separates the rear passengers from the trunk, Taylor said that keeping passengers out of the elements was very important to Rolls Royce. “Well, you don’t want the cabin’s occupants being frozen when the car pulls up outside The Dorchester in mid-December. The limousine was actually born when the whole area was encased in metal. The Rolls-Royce D-back was almost cut like a coupe, swept back, with the bustle planted on as a style element. Even by the 1950s, the Cloud still had it. Fred Astaire sat on silk or cloth, it was never leather. He had a glass partition, and never sat with his luggage.”
The Rolls Royce Cullinan is one of the more polarizing cars to come out in a long time and this interview sheds some light on the design that’s been polarizing enthusiasts.
[Source: Top Gear]