Anyway, back to Beyoncé and Jay-Z, because while they may not be Autocar Award winners, they have reportedly had an influence on a car that featured on our pages in June: the Rolls-Royce Boat Tail. We were given exclusive access to the one-off coachbuilt wonder, a luxurious grand tourer featuring a built-in picnic set and pop-up parasol. It’s the stuff of ridiculous, extravagant excess, which explains the unofficial price of £20 million. The rumoured buyers? Well, that would be Mr and Mrs, er, Z. We must confess that we can’t offer any more real insight on that. As ever, we were more interested in the car than the people who might be driving it.
Speaking of driving, we had our first taste of several significant new machines in June, including the much-anticipated Ineos Grenadier, which European editor Greg Kable tested in Austria. Although it was an unfinished prototype, it’s already clear that this is far more than a Defender pastiche, combining on-road charm with abundant off-road ability. The finished version should arrive early next year.
While the combustion-engined Grenadier is distinctly retro in ethos, we also had our first taste of the electric BMW i4 (also in prototype form), drove the latest, tech-laden Mercedes-Benz C-Class and tried the crucial new Vauxhall Astra.
We had first glimpses of cars set to become significant in the future, too, including the amazing 819bhp Ferrari 296 GTB hybrid, and delved into Alfa Romeo’s plans to revive the GTV as an EV as part of a sweeping range renewal.