What is with the long-tail craze sweeping the automotive industry at the moment?

It is brilliant, no?

First came the tear-shaped McLaren Speedtail in 2018; the best-looking hypercar of the last decade. Then in 2020 Bugatti added several inches of sheet metal to the rear of a Chiron in a bid to break the 300mph (482km/h) barrier.

And now we have this: The nautically inspired Rolls-Royce ‘Boat Tail’; the culmination of a four-year collaboration between Rolls and three of its “most special clients”.

It looks utterly majestic.

Of course, it does. It’s a Rolls-Royce.

The badge on the boot lid is far from an aesthetic guarantee that the car will be stunning.

Rolls’ last coachbuilt creation, the Sweptail from 2017, looked like a streamlined bar of soap with a questionable, tapered canopy and a soggy rear end.

The Boat Tail is different.

It’s beautiful.


Ok, perhaps not beautiful, but elegant.

Aside from the bright blue wheels, which look like they’ve been nicked from Supercheap Auto.

A LOT is going on in that rear.

There is, indeed.

Hidden within the gorgeous wooden butterfly panels of the aft deck is a plethora of decadent items. There’s an extending parasol, cocktail tables, Promemoria stools, a couple of refrigerators and bespoke cutlery among other things.

Rolls call it the ‘hosting suite’.

Sounds like a picnic hamper.

That would be an appropriate interpretation.

Is it a convertible?

Yes, but actually no.

Each Boat Tail comes with a removable “fixed canopy roof”. Though considering the engine shoehorned in the front and the fridges in the rear, it doesn’t seem like there’s a place to stow it.

I presume Rolls expects Boat Tail owners will have a peasant follow in a chauffeured Phantom to carry the roof around for them.

What happens if it rains and you’ve left the roof at home?

Fear not, Rolls throw in a free temporary tonneau (also manually adjustable, I’m afraid) with each Boat Tail purchase.

Temporary tonneau?

Alright, it’s a glorified tarp.

Thoughts on the interior?

Predictably sumptuous.

Open-pore Caleidolegno wood, polished metal, and leather which reflect the bonnet’s colour tone transition all feature in the cabin. The car shown here also includes a housing for bespoke BOVET 1822 timepieces and a hand-crafted aluminium and leather case for the owner’s cherished Montblanc pen. Excessive.

Is it quick?

What a juvenile question, you uncultured swine.

While it’s safe to assume the Boat Tail employs the 420kW (563bhp), 900Nm 6.75-litre twin-turbo V12 engine and eight-speed torque converter automatic transmission from the Phantom, Rolls neglected to comment on the power plant or quote performance figures in the press release.

This tells you all you need to know about the Boat Tail.

In essence, the Boat Tail is a stylistic exercise and a rolling billboard for Rolls-Royce’s ‘Coachbuild’ division.

How much is it, exactly?

More than you can afford, pal.

While Rolls have refrained from releasing a figure, hushed rumours circulating the interweb suggest the each of the three commissioned cars cost somewhere in the £20 million (≈AUD 37 million) range.

*Spits out drink* I’m sorry, what?

It is disgustingly expensive. Dizzyingly so. Even when taking into account the fact that Rolls had to create 1813 entirely new parts specifically for the Boat Tail.

Is it worth it?

Of course not. Not even close. You could buy an entire developing nation for twenty million pounds. But it matters not.

The Boat Tail is a rolling one-finger salute to rationality. A gluttonous-yet-glorious lesson in excess. It quiets the sceptics and reinstates Rolls-Royce at the head of the luxury table. That’s why it matters.

Plus, it has a long tail.

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