Rolls-Royce Cars has ruled out offering overly large wheels for its vehicles, despite the brand’s design chief, Giles Taylor, admitting he has an affinity for big rims.
Taylor told CarAdvice at the 2015 Frankfurt motor show that there is a limit to what is acceptable for the brand in terms of wheel size on its cars, though he suggested that some high-profile owners have pimped their rides with much larger wheels to help with the street cred of the cars.
“Big wheels make cars look good,” Talyor said, before going on to suggest that it's a fine line between stylish looks and maintaining the company’s famed “Magic Carpet Ride”.
As anyone who has driven a car with large wheels and low-profile tyres will no doubt have noticed, the ride can suffer as a result. Taylor said that’s something Rolls-Royce can ill afford.
“So if we get too big, there’ll be a knock-on effect somewhere else which dials out some sort of Rolls-Royce DNA,” he said.
“But if you go then back to the younger demographics and contemporary mindsets, most people, like me, like big wheels.
“But it can’t be to an excessive point, We’re not boy racers. We get guys in California saying ‘if you knew how many Wraiths I see on 24-inch wheels in Beverly Hills, why don’t you offer 24-inch wheels?’. The answer is ‘because we’re Rolls-Royce’.”
Taylor made his point even clearer by stating he has an upper size limit in mind.
“I’d never even go 23-inch, [but] 22-inch we will in future,” he said, and those rims will likely be fitted to the company’s SUV. That car is currently known as Project Cullinan.
“That’s the limit, really – but it’s good manners as well,” he said of not going larger than that.
“We know that Jay-Z likes 24-inch wheels. Let him go and buy them. But we’d never offer them.”
The current Rolls-Royce range consists of the Wraith, Dawn, Ghost and Phantom, and the largest rims offered on any of those cars are 21s.
Taylor put it another way to make it clear what buyers of Rolls-Royce cars expect of the brand.
“You could have a good pair of sports shoes on – the analogy to wheels, maybe – but you probably won’t have a well-tailored suit or something that is sort-of well-fitted,” Taylor said.
“But if you wear grotesque shoes which are so loud and so over the top, people will then say ‘nice suit, but look what you’re wearing it with’,” said Taylor - in his tailored suit - to your humble CarAdvice correspondent, who wasn't quite as immaculately dressed and suddenly felt quite self-conscious.
“It’s the same for cars – wheels should complement the whole car’s form, but they can overstate, and then you’ve lost it.”