First tested in New York's Meat Packing District in May last year, Bentley chose last week's Melbourne Formula One Grand Prix to introduce the Bentley Studio to a select group of journalists and customers.
The Bentley Studio is the company's latest and ultimate form of vehicle customisation. The Bentley Studio is designed to give the customer a chance to not only choose their interior and exterior colours, but match these, along with patterns and materials, to a unique personalisation profile.
The process uses a high-definition screen that offers the user two images from a series to choose from — adrenaline versus serenity, heritage versus future and so on. The process takes around 10-15 minutes, by which point they are allocated a 'mood board', which carries one of 1.3-billion different profile possibilities.
This makes your choice of images almost entirely unique to you and allows you to then meet with a Bentley designer who can walk through a range of colour and material options available. In particular, the Bentley designer aims to match the customer's mood and personality to the right interior and exterior colour combinations.
Bentley dealer sales manager for the Asia Pacific region, David Simpson, told CarAdvice that while some customers are happy to wait six months for a Bentley to be hand-built from the time they place their order, others are willing to wait longer if the customisations are more detailed or require bespoke customisation.
On the other hand, Mr Simpson said that some customers will just walk into a dealership and take a vehicle straight from the floor to fulfil a more immediate gratification.
Bentley lead interior designer, David Fearnley, walked us through the staggering number of a colour and material combinations available to customers. Whether it was the material on the dashboard, or the colour within the glovebox, there was a way to customise and select a unique colour option.
Mr Fearnley told CarAdvice that each customer is seen as an exciting and unique opportunity to build a bespoke Bentley to match their personality.
Customisation can be taken even further with Bentley design partner Mulliner. Mulliner was established in the 1760s and started out as a coach builder. Today it acts as the customisation arm of Bentley Motors. Around seven per cent of Bentley buyers want something bespoke.
Head of Mulliner commercial operations, Katherine Latham, told CarAdvice that one of the most interesting requests the group has received was a customer wanting to colour match a hue of blue from her blender to match the paintwork of her car.
Another bespoke example was the use of a 300 - 400 year old walnut tree that fell at Fulbeck Hall in 2007. This tree was used to craft elements of a fifteen-vehicle limited edition run of the Bentley Mulsanne.
Bentley Studios are expected to be gradually rolled out to all Bentley dealerships in Australia. Bentley clearly prides itself on putting the customer first and the Bentley Studio is arguably the most advanced personality profile matching system yet to be seen in the automotive world.