The world’s most expensive new car has been unveiled today by Rolls-Royce – and it has an umbrella that extends out of the back!
The £20million Boat Tail convertible grand tourer is the first of an exclusive trio of highly personalised nautically-based limousines.
It has been specially commissioned by a wealthy and ‘flamboyant’ couple with a love of chilled champagne and alfresco meals – hence the vehicle’s incredible rear deck housing a dinner set, rotating cocktail tables with matching chairs and a parasol that automatically extends out when they want to dine at the rear of their Roller.
The British car maker has even exclusively modified the cabin to house personalised ‘his and hers’ wrist watches – either of which can be slotted into the dashboard to become the motor’s clock.
Reports that the owner may be an American rapper were understood to be ‘unfounded’ and ‘wide of the mark’.
World’s most expensive car – and picnic set: This is the ultra-exclusive Rolls-Royce Boat Tail – one of three supremely luxurious bespoke models costing £20million each
It has taken four years of ‘mind-boggling attention to detail’ to design and manufacture in collaboration with clients who wanted a unique car to ‘mark a sense of occasion’, says the legendary British marque.
And to put the exclusivity of the commission into context, the £20million price-tag would buy you the equivalent of around 40 personalised flagship Rolls-Royce Phantom limousines costing around £500,000 each (including bespoke extras).
It is also double the cost of the previous two most expensive new cars in the world: Rolls-Royce’s own £10million coachbuilt Sweptail of 2017 – the car that sparked new Boat Tail project; and Bugatti’s one-off £11.5million ‘La Voiture Noir’ hypercar that was first shown at the March 2019 Geneva Motor Show.
The reason for the vast expense is that the car has been engineered and designed from the ground up as a near one off.
With production cars, the total costs are spread across the number of cars produced – which in the case of Rolls-Royce will go into hundreds and thousands of vehicles over time. With mainstream car-makers those costs will be spread across millions of vehicles.
In the case of the Boat Tail, the ‘Coachbuild’ construction means the chassis, engine and underpinnings may be based on the existing Phantom limo, but everything above that and every detail – from the largest ever hand-made panels, to the most intricate mechanism, and clock – has to be designed and created from scratch.
Not just the most expensive new car ever, it’s also the first to have its own extending umbrella and rotating cocktail tables
Measuring just under 5.8 meters long, the new four-seater two-door Rolls-Royce Boat Tail is the first to be built by Rolls-Royce’s new Coachbuild department at the company’s boutique headquarters in Goodwood, Sussex
Torsten Müller-Ötvös (pictured), Rolls-Royce Motor Cars CEO, at the unveiling of the incredibly bespoke Boat Tail limo
It is therefore not a ‘standard’ car with a lot of bespoke extras and luxuries added. It is a brand new car – effectively a one-off model – though in this case the total costs have been shared across three vehicles, each of which is personalised to the owner.
In artwork terms, is the difference between hanging a high quality print on your wall, or owning the only original oil-painting.
When mainstream manufacturers launch a new model, they usually have to invest around £1billion before the first car comes off the line. But that average cost is reduced every time an additional car comes off the line, so the average costs reduce significantly.
In the case of this coachbuild Boat Tail, much of the total cost has to be divided just three ways.
Measuring just under 5.8 meters long, the new four-seater two-door Rolls-Royce Boat Tail is the first to be built by Rolls-Royce’s new Coachbuild department at the company’s boutique headquarters in Goodwood, Sussex.
Unlike most convertibles with a roof that stows away at the touch of a button, the Boat Tail has an ‘unconventional’ single-piece carbon-fibre and canvas removable fixed-canopy roof (left). The idea is that owner will drive with it in place from, say, a home in rainy Britain, then remove it for open-topped driving when at a chateau in sunny South of France or Monaco
The £20million Boat Tail convertible grand tourer is the first of an exclusive trio of highly personalised nautically-based limousines
The rear deck opens like a pair of butterfly wings, providing under-cover storage for luxurious items – and two roatating cocktail tables that extend from the back of the vehicle
The mystery first customers – who Rolls-Royce say they have been asked not to name – are extremely well-heeled self-made couple ‘with a sense of style and a love of travel, adventure, and entertaining who collect cars, watches, pens and fine champagnes and like sailing’ – all of which are reflected in their customised car.
Rolls-Royce’s new Coachbuild arm has been set up specifically to capitalise on the growing number of similar such super-rich customers who want a luxury limousine that they can help to create and is unique to them.
The new grand cruiser is inspired by the elegant J-Class yachts of the early 20th Century and the original ‘Boat Tail’ Rolls-Royces of 1920s and ’30s which in turn were inspired by them.
It is left-hand drive suggesting it will be driven mostly on the Continent.
The most eye-catching features centre around the Boat Tail’s ‘aft deck’ – a modern interpretation of a yacht’s wooden rear deck in a special grey and black Caleidolegno wood veneer that is ‘visually elongated’ using brushed stainless steel pinstripe inlays
Under the cover is an intricate ‘hosting suite’ for alfresco entertaining and displaying ‘a treasure chest of moving parts’
A treasure chest hidden under a veneer rear deck
The most eye-catching features centre around the Boat Tail’s ‘aft deck’ – a modern interpretation of a yacht’s wooden rear deck in a special grey and black Caleidolegno wood veneer that is ‘visually elongated’ using brushed stainless steel pinstripe inlays.
At the press of a button this rear deck opens up like sweeping ‘butterfly wings’ to reveal an intricate ‘hosting suite’ for alfresco entertaining and displaying ‘a treasure chest of moving parts’.
To the left is a double refrigerator with special cradles to securely stow two bottles of champagne at a precise temperature. The aficionado owner’s favourite Armand de Brignac vintage – which can cost up to £57,950 a bottle – should be stored at six degrees Centigrade for consumption – the exact setting the fridge operates at.
The section also provides space for four glasses, napkins and other accoutrements.
To the left is a double refrigerator with special cradles to securely stow two bottles of champagne at a precise temperature
The aficionado owner’s favourite Armand de Brignac vintage should be stored at six degrees Centigrade for consumption – the exact setting the fridge operates at. The most expensive bottle is a staggering £58,000
The section also provides space for four glasses, napkins and other accoutrements – as you can see in this amazing image
The roating cocktail tables unfold from under the deck. There’s also a matching set of picnic chairs to enjoy a bottle of bubble at the back of the Roller
The right side is focussed on fine dining with a bespoke alfresco picnic and cuisine section with temperature controlled food warmers and cutlery made by Christofle of Paris and engraved with ‘Boat Tail’.
Two pop-out cocktail tables open out – one at each side – and rotate elegantly ‘to mimic the offering of an attendant’ for aperitifs and dining.
Two matching slim-line interlocking stools, designed by Rolls-Royce and created by Italian furniture maker Promemoria, use the same carbon-fibre and blue leather from the car and are stowed inside.
Most dramatic of all is the sun shade parasol on an extending telescopic arm. It emerges, on demand, from the rear centre line beneath the opening rear deck wings ‘in anticipation of fine weather’. The interior is also cooled to maintain constant temperatures regardless of weather.
The right side is focussed on fine dining with a bespoke alfresco picnic and cuisine section with temperature controlled food warmers and cutlery made by Christofle of Paris and engraved with ‘Boat Tail’.
Most dramatic of all is the sun shade parasol on an extending telescopic arm. It emerges, on demand, from the rear centre line beneath the opening rear deck wings ‘in anticipation of fine weather’
As you would expect from Rolls-Royce, every intricate detail of the car is finished to the highest standard. All the accompanying features – from knives and forks to champagne flutes – are sourced from the finest makers
Rolls-Royce says the sophisticated rear-deck reflects the character of its clients and marks something ‘never seen before in the automotive world’ noting: ‘At the press of a button, the deck opens in a sweeping butterfly gesture, to reveal an intricate and generous hosting suite. ‘Its complex movement was inspired by cantilever concepts explored by renowned architect Santiago Calatrava.
‘Hinged towards the centre line, the synchronised balletic opening movement reveals a treasure chest of moving parts that offer themselves to the host at a precise angle of 15 degrees. This subtle gesture of presentation reflects a genteel and quintessentially British expression of service.’
Rolls-Royce has even created a panel in the dashboard for the first owners – a well-heeled couple – to use their bespoke wrist watches as the car’s clock
The nautical theme continues inside, with a baby blue interior design and the same grey and black Caleidolegno wood veneer used on the rear deck lavishly splashed across the dashboard
Luxury car, luxury watches and even a luxury pen
Another unique luxurious touch blends the pinnacle of automotive and clock-making craftsmanship.
To keep time, two reversible ‘His & Hers’ two-sided timepieces by Swiss-based ‘BOVET 1822’ – either one of which can be taken off the owner’s wrist and mounted on the dashboard fascia as a clock, while the other is stored in a special tray compartment.
Rolls-Royce said of the three year collaboration: ‘The mechanically minded clients sought to break new ground in horology. As esteemed and passionate collectors of both the Swiss-based House of BOVET and Rolls-Royce, their vision was to create exquisite, ground-breaking timepieces for their Boat Tail.
‘The result is an accomplishment never before realised in either industry. Two fine reversible timepieces, one for the lady and one for the gentleman, have been designed to be worn on the wrist, or, placed front and centre within Boat Tail’s fascia as the motor car’s clock.’
That’s not the end of the bonkers exclusivity.
Instrument dials are adorned with decorative Guilloche patterning as perfected by fine jewellers and watchmakers and there’s an elegant thin-rimmed two-tone steering wheel
This first example of the three to be produced is left-hand drive – so the mystery buyers are unlikely using it in the UK
A particularly cherished Montblanc pen resides in a discretely placed, hand-crafted, case of aluminium and leather, in Boat Tail’s glove box. Collecting pens is another of the clients’ great passions.
Blemish-free leather in a favourite shade of blue with a ‘light metallic sheen’ is sourced from hides of ‘stress-free’ Alpine cows in Bavaria.
Instrument dials are adorned with decorative Guilloche patterning as perfected by fine jewellers and watchmakers and there’s an elegant thin-rimmed two-tone steering wheel.
Wooden trim in the lower cabin and floor area echo a ship’s hull. And the hollow section of floor sills specially engineered to double as a resonance chamber to provide bass speaker ‘surround sound’ for 15-speaker audio system.
The exterior paint is a special shade of blue – ‘the client’s favourite colour’ – with embedded metallic and crystal flakes to catch the light.
Under the bonnet of the Boat Tail is Rolls-Royce’s massive 6.7-litre V12 twin turbo-charged petrol engine developing around 570 horsepower and linked to an 8-speed automatic
Nautical-style wrap-around windscreen recalls the visor on motor launches while the styling and tapered rear is designed to mirror ‘a motor launch rising out of the water’
Want one? You’re going to need deep pockets and a very good relationship with Rolls-Royce. With just two more set to be produced, they’ve likely already been promised to the brand’s most dedicated returning customers
The owners better hope the saying ‘it rains in the South of France’ is on the money
Unlike most convertibles with a roof that stows away at the touch of a button, the Boat Tail has an ‘unconventional’ single-piece carbon-fibre and canvas removable fixed-canopy roof.
The idea is that owner will drive with it in place from, say, a home in rainy Britain, then remove it for open-topped driving when at a chateau in sunny South of France or Monaco.
Rolls-Royce explains: ‘If inclement weather is encountered while the roof is removed, a temporary tonneau is stowed for static transitory shelter.’
Nautical-style wrap-around windscreen recalls the visor on motor launches while the styling and tapered rear is designed to mirror ‘a motor launch rising out of the water’.
With the Spirit of Ecstasy ‘Flying Lady’ mascot at its prow, and a hand-painted darker graduated bonnet, the vast grille is hewn from block of aluminium and the car features the largest hand-beaten panels ever used on a Rolls-Royce.
Will it fit in my garage? Rolls-Royce Boat Tail
Production volume: 3
Built: Goodwood, Sussex, England by new ‘Rolls-Royce Coachbuild’ department
Delivery: June 2021
Mystery first customer: Wealthy and ‘flamboyant’ self-made couple with a sense of style and a love of travel, adventure, and entertaining
Dimensions: Length: 5760mm / Width: 2032mm / Height: 1581mm / Wheelbase: 3321mm
Engine: 6.75 litre twin-turbo V12, circa 570 horsepower
Gears: 8-speed automatic
Top speed: Governed to 155mph
0 to 62mph: Approx 5 seconds
Fuel-economy: Circa 20mpg
CO2 emissions: More than 300g/km
No barge: It might look like a boat but it will accelerate like a sports car
Under the bonnet of the Boat Tail is Rolls-Royce’s massive 6.7-litre V12 twin turbo-charged petrol engine developing around 570 horsepower and linked to an 8-speed automatic.
The company will say only that performance is ‘adequate’. But based on that of the current Phantom, expect 0-to-62mph acceleration of around five seconds with top speed governed at 155mph, but gas-guzzling fuel economy of around just 20mpg and CO2 emissions in excess of 300g/km.
A total of 1,813 exclusive new parts were created for the project which took 4 years, with the total amount of pre-production planning hours by engineers taking the equivalent of 20 years.
It was tested in UK and Continental Europe at extremes of temperature from 80C to minus 20C.
Rolls-Royce explains: ‘If inclement weather is encountered while the roof is removed, a temporary tonneau is stowed for static transitory shelter’
Explaining the nautical nature of the Boat Tail, the company said: ‘Within this group, it emerged that three potential patrons shared a deep appreciation of contemporary nautical design’
nd to put the exclusivity of the commission into context, the £20million price-tag would buy you the equivalent of around 40 personalised flagship Rolls-Royce Phantom limousines costing around £500,000 each (including bespoke extras)
Five computerised electronic control units (ECUS) are need to create rear of car alone.
Explaining the nautical nature of the Boat Tail, the company said: ‘Within this group, it emerged that three potential patrons shared a deep appreciation of contemporary nautical design.’
J-Class yachts were often referenced as points of inspiration, both for their purity of form and their requirement for hand craftsmanship at the highest level.
‘And all three shared a single demand: ‘Show me something that I have never seen before.’
Rolls-Royce added: ‘In consultation with the clients concerned, an agreement was reached whereby three cars would share a common body, but each would then be individually, highly personalised.’
J-Class yachts were often referenced as points of inspiration, both for their purity of form and their requirement for hand craftsmanship at the highest level
The Rolls-Royce Boat Tail is almost £10million pricier than the next most expensive new cars to ever hit the road
Like all other Rolls-Royce models it retains the rear-hinged coach doors – which are massive. They have assisted opening and closing functions at the press of a button
‘Coachbuilt’ luxury electric cars will follow, says Rolls-Royce boss
Chief executive Torsten Müller-Ötvös said Boat Tail marked ‘a pivotal moment in our marque’s history’ noting: ‘The attention to detail is mind-boggling.’
‘We are proud to unveil Rolls-Royce Boat Tail to the world, and with it, the confirmation of coachbuilding as a permanent fixture within our future portfolio.’
Rolls-Royce is also working on a zero-emissions pure electric limousine to be launched within the decade and coachbuilt versions of it would also be offered, he said.
The company recently registered the name ‘Silent Shadow’.
Mr Müller-Ötvös said: ‘Historically, coachbuilding had been an integral part of the Rolls-Royce story. Coachbuild is a return to the very roots of our brand. It represents an opportunity for the select few to participate in the creation of utterly unique and truly personal commissions of future historical significance.’
Mr Müller-Ötvös stressed: ‘Rolls-Royce Boat Tail is not a concept created to be retrospectively sold. Quite the contrary. Boat Tail is the culmination of a four-year collaboration with three of our most special clients.’
Rolls-Royce last year (2020) experienced the highest levels of bespoke additions to its cars.
Earlier this year the company reported record first quarter sales – up 62 per cent on the same period in 2020 and the highest in marque’s 116-year history, exceeding the previous record set in 2019. Sales growth in all markets was strongest in China, US and Asia Pacific.
Five ultra expensive new cars the Boat Tail trumps
Bugatti La Voiture Noire (2019) – £11.3million
Looking like the caped crusader’s off-duty Batmobile and unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show where it caused a stir in March 2019, the darkly brooding Bugatti La Voiture Noire 261mph hypercar was – until today – the most expensive new car ever built (though Pagani might have something to say about that – as seen below), having been eclipsed by the new Rolls-Royce Boat Tail costing nearly twice as much.
It is rumoured to have been a private commission by the now late autocratic Volkswagen boss Ferdinand Piech (who set up the modern Bugatti).
It is based around the £2.2million Bugatti Chiron which is powered by a vast 8.0 litre quad-turbo W16 cylinder engine developing 1,500bhp that propels it from rest to 62mph in just 2.4 seconds up to a limited top speed of 261mph.
Rolls-Royce Sweptail (2013) – £10million
The two-seater ‘Sweptail‘, which also takes its styling cues from luxury yachts, was commissioned in 2013 by an unnamed super-wealthy customer described as a connoisseur and collector of distinctive, one-off items including super-yachts and private aircraft.
Four years later it unveiled at one of the world’s most exclusive car shows in Italy, the Concorso d’Eleganza the the Villa d’Este on the shore of Lake Como.
The centre console houses a hand-built mechanism that, at the touch of a button, deploys a bottle of the client’s favourite vintage champagne – from the year of his birth – and two crystal champagne flutes. As the lid of the chiller opens, the mechanical action articulates the bottle to the perfect position for the owner to pick up. Two concealed secret exterior compartments also house attache cases with the owner’s computer laptops.
Rolls-Royce spent four years with the new owner who commissioned the car powered by an effortless 6.75-litre V12 engine.
Pagani Zonda HP Barchetta (2018) – £13.4million
The Pagani Zonda HP Barchetta does without a roof and features a trimmed wraparound windscreen – making it a permanent open-top proposition.
Performance figures for the car’s Mercedes-AMG 7.3-litre V12 engine are not available, but previous ‘run-out’ variants of the Zonda such as the Cinque Roadster produced 669bhp and could hit 62mph in 3.4 seconds.
Bugatti Centodieci (2019) – £7.4million
Making its debut at the exclusive Pebble Beach car week in California in 2019, just 10 limited edition Bugatti Centodieci cars are being made – with footballer Ronaldo among the rumoured exclusive purchasers.
The Centodieci is a tribute to the 1991 Bugatti EB110 – launched in the 110th anniversary year of Bugatti and credited with putting the modern company back on the road ahead of its purchase by the giant Volkswagen group in 1998.
Centodieci is Itallian for 110 and the supercar powered by a 1600 horse-power 8-litre W16 engine propelling the supercar from rest to 62mph in 2.4 seconds up to a top speed of 236mph.
Mercedes-Maybach Exelero (2005) – £6.3million
The Mercedes-Benz Maybach Exelero of 2004 is a unique one-off supercar commissioned by German tyre-maker Fulda, a subsidiary of Goodyear, to test new tyres.
Built around a Maybach limousine and riding on 23 inch tyres, it is powered by the twin-turbo V12 engine producing 690 horsepower, accelerating from rest to 62mph in 4.4 seconds with a top speed of 218 miles per hour
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