Inside the new £20 million convertible, complete with a ‘suite’ for al fresco dining

New cars are going up in price. A recent study by Auto Express magazine found the cheapest 72-plate model in showrooms in Britain today – the tiny Kia Picanto – is £3,000 more expensive than the least expensive factory-fresh motor was just 12 months ago.

Blame the ongoing semiconductor shortage and huge demand for new models in the wake of the pandemic for pushing the market higher. There are some vehicles, however, that are so extravagant that most of us couldn’t afford to buy one even with a lifetime’s savings.

Look no further than Rolls-Royce’s latest bank-busting bespoke creation. It’s called the Boat Tail and is one of three ultra-exclusive cars the company is handcrafting for its richest customers, with the trio of motors ringing in at a combined £60million.

This one is the second in the trilogy of tremendously priced vehicles, all of which take inspiration from the luxury yacht world, though each has its own individual twist on the exacting requests of the wealthy client.

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A family who made their fortune in the pearl trade commissioned this latest edition, says the brand, which is based at the Goodwood plant near Chichester in West Sussex. Rolls-Royce will not reveal the name of the client. The Boat Tail has been meticulously crafted by the British marque’s Coachbuild division, an arm of the business dedicated to one-off, high-specification cars. And you can tell.

This vehicle is a luxury convertible grand tourer with two doors and a feast of features you’d usually only expect to find at a seven-star resort. The bodywork is a masterpiece. Formed from enormous aluminum sheets, the panels are molded to replicate the look of racing boats from the early 20th century.

It also means there are few panel gaps, giving an impression that it has been chiselled out of a single piece of precious metal, like a fine work of art. The roof is removable and consists of a single-piece canvas wrapped over a carbon fiber fixed canopy, while awaiting the expansive cognac-coloured bonnet is a behemoth 6.75-litre V12 engine, which is linked to an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

Despite its colossal weight, there’s enough power here to propel the Boat Tail from rest to 62mph in around five seconds and the limited top speed is 155mph. Don’t worry, that detachable roof has been wind tunnel-tested to ensure it stays in place up to that velocity. The paint combination, which is unique to this car, is a blend of oyster and soft rose, with large white and bronze mica flakes that subtly change the tone under different light conditions.

The rear section opens to reveal a Hosting Suite, for the poshest picnics

Up front is a huge Pantheon Grille milled from a single block of aluminum and – as per tradition – a Spirit of Ecstasy figurine adorns the nose. For this particular car, she’s fashioned from rose gold. But it’s at the back where the grandiosity hits a totally different gear.

The rear section resembles the deck of a superyacht, finished in Royal Walnut veneer. And with the single push of a button, it opens up like a butterfly, unfurling its wings to reveal what Rolls-Royce calls the “Hosting Suite”, designed for the ultimate alfresco dining experience at the roadside.

On one side, the glitzy compartment has champagne flutes and a chiller for liquid refreshments, while on the other side is a dedicated dinner set for serving fine cuisine, complete with a heater to warm the food ready to be served on rose gold-plated tableware and eaten with cutlery from Christofle of Paris.

The suite also provides swivelling tabletops in matching walnut and there’s a pair of slimline interlocking stools stored in the compartment that mimic the car’s exterior paintwork. As you might expect, these glamorous fittings will be enjoyed in exotic climes such as St Tropez, Monaco or Dubai, rather than at an M25 service station, so it’s important that the outdoor dining experience comes with plenty of protection from the blazing sun.

Rolls-Royce has a solution for that, in the shape of a parasol sunshade that stows in the rear of the car and can be erected when the dinner plates come out. Of course, being a Roller, this is no ordinary parasol. The canopy opens with a smooth, telescopic movement and you are shielded from the sun’s glare by the finest of soft-touch materials.

Inside the car are further lashings of undreamed-of luxury. The centerpiece of the dashboard is a clock made from mother-of-pearl, which was chosen and supplied by the client from his own collection. This is also used on the control switches and instrument dials, thus creating a “strong visual and material connection between the car, the owner and his family heritage”.

On one side, the glitzy compartment has champagne flutes and a chiller for liquid refreshments, while on the other side is a dedicated dinner set for serving fine cuisine

As for the leather on the seats and door inserts, this is sourced from Bavaria and comes exclusively from hides of “stress-free” Alpine cows. Giving only the slightest hint of the car’s secret owner, Rolls-Royce says: “It was commissioned by a patron whose family business has grown from his father’s origins in the pearling industry.

“Widely traveled, internationally educated and cosmopolitan in his tastes and influences, the client is an established patron of the arts, who additionally owns a sizeable collection of classic and modern cars, housed in a dedicated private museum.”

I’m not sure about you, but that certainly doesn’t sound like a description of me. In fact, I almost choked on the prospect of paying £11,810 for a dinky Kia.

The specs: Rolls-Royce Boat Tail

Price: £20million (jointly the world’s most expensive new car)

Dimensions: length 5,760mm; width 2,032mm; height 1,581mm

Wheelbase: 3,321mm

Seats: Four

Doors: Two

Engine: 6.75-liter V12 petrol

Power: approx 570 horsepower

Transmission: Eightspeed automatic gearbox

Top speed: 155mph (limited)

0-62mph: Approx five seconds

Fuel economy: Approx 20mph

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