Rolls-Royce Drop Tail revealed

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Marque’s first modern two-seat roadster takes inspiration from flamboyant hot rods and the Roaring Twenties.

The Rolls-Royce Drop Tail is the marque’s first modern two-seat roadster, harking back to the coachbuilt drop-tops that established it as a leading luxury brand a century ago.

The product of a four-year collaboration between Rolls-Royce and four clients, the firm said it represents the “absolute pinnacle” of its in-house coachbuilding capabilities, following in the footsteps of 2017’s Sweptail and 2021’s Boat Tail as the latest entry in a series of ultra-exclusive, multi-million-pound specials.

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Rolls-Royce does not give prices for its coachbuilt specials, but each of the four Drop Tails is understood to have cost its owner more than the almost $40 million Boat Tail.

Rather than being simply a reworking of the now-retired Dawn convertible, the Drop Tail is underpinned by an all-new monocoque chassis constructed from steel, aluminium and carbonfibre, in a first for the Coachbuild division. It previously based bespoke models on the Architecture of Luxury platform, which is also used for the Cullinan, Ghost and Phantom.

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Power is provided by the familiar twin-turbocharged 6.75-litre V12 in a bespoke state of tune that boosts power by 22kW over the Phantom but cuts torque by 60Nm, giving total outputs of 442kW and 840Nm. Rolls has not revealed any performance figures, but no doubt the Drop Tail will be a close match for the V12-engined Dawn, with a sub-5.0sec 0-100km/h time and a top speed capped at 249km/h.

Rolls-Royce design director Anders Warming told Automotive Daily Network partner Autocar the V12 was used rather than an electric powertrain because the marque is “celebrating” the roadster “and the V12 is a powertrain we will be celebrating for the next couple of years”. He added that “time will tell” for electric coachbuilds.

At 5.3m long and 2.0m wide, it is smaller than the electric Spectre, with its completely bespoke silhouette defined by a low coupé-esque roofline inspired by ‘chop-top’ hot rods. This gives the new model a more overtly sporting character than mainstream Rolls-Royce models, reinforced by blade-shaped haunches and the large carbonfibre rear diffuser, finished in semi-clear lacquer to highlight how it juts out from the painted body.

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The removable roof panel is carbonfibre, too, which makes it easier for the driver – or indeed their valet – to remove and replace it. It also features a large section of electrochromic glass, which tints and untints at the touch of a button.

Aerodynamics played an important role in shaping the Drop Tail. Rolls-Royce noted that its swooping rear end is “not ordinarily conducive to producing downforce”, which is to say that it was insufficiently stable at high speeds without external assistance. Rather than mount a spoiler, Rolls tweaked the design of the rear deck to produce the necessary downforce without compromising on aesthetics – a process that took two years and 20 iterations.

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