Eye-watering luxury: Rolls Royce unveils $39m ‘Boat Tail’

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Words: Matthew Hansen
28 May 2021

Rolls Royce, arguably the world’s most hallowed car manufacturer, have unveiled the most expensive new car in history.

The Rolls Royce Boat Tail is a throwback to several of the British firm’s past projects, taking its name from a series of Royces from the early 1900s, while looking like a sequel of sorts to the 2017 Sweptail coupe.

The model marks a new record for being the most expensive new car ever put on sale, having been priced from £20million ($39million). That’s approaching three times the price of Bugatti’s Chiron-based Centodieci.

So, what’s all the fuss about? Well, it shares the same aluminium spaceframe architecture as the Phantom, measuring a generous 5800mm in length. Each of the aluminium panels that covers said architecture is hand-made.

Under the bonnet is a familiar 6.75-litre twin-turbo V12 producing 420kW of power. No performance figures are quoted, but those concerned about a 0–100km/h time probably miss the point of this most ostentatious of vehicles.

The look of the Boat Tail has been polarising thus far. As the name suggests, it looks to have been inspired by the pinched silhouette of a speedboat, down to the way the louvred rear bumper looks like an exit-step. Squinted headlights and taillights are a mild departure from Rolls’ other cars, as is the striking two-tone blue theme.

Admittedly, some of the world Rolls Royce did behind the scenes on this thing is fairly impressive. Along with crafting the bodywork by hand, the firm’s designers produced a full clay model. The car was also hot and cold-weather tested, too.

The boat likeness is further enhanced by the ‘open-pore Caleidolegno veneeropen-pore Caleidolegno veneer’ (translation; the wood) on the rear deck behind the cockpit.

It folds in half in a butterfly motion to reveal what Roller calls a “hosting suite”, for picnic gatherings and the like. Said suite features two fridges, a bespoke cutlery and crockery set, a pair of carbon fibre stools, and a parasol that sits above the car and appears to provide next to no actual UV protection.

The car comes standard with a fixed canopy roof that comes off as one big, somewhat inconvenient piece. If you find yourself out in the wilderness with your Boat Tail and it starts raining, though, don’t despair. It comes with what Rolls calls a “static transitory shelter” — or, in English, a temporary tonneau cover.

Rolls Royce is reportedly producing three of these things. And, knowing how these things tend to roll out, they’re probably already sold. In this Covid-19-battered world, it’s nice to know that some people are making insane amounts of money.

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