British brand Bentley has returned to its coach-building roots by creating a limited edition two-seat open-top car that will cost in excess of $3 million – £1.5 million plus taxes.
Just 12 examples of the Bentley Mulliner Bacalar will be built and each one is already spoken for despite the epic price tag, which is approximately seven times the £200,000 cost (including taxes) of the UK of the Bentley Continental GT on which it is based.
The bespoke body is made from a mix of hand-crafted carbon fibre and aluminum panels. The bonnet and doors are aluminium (to help meet crash safety standards) while the rest of the bodywork is made from carbon fibre.
Only the door handles are carried over from the donor car, the Bentley Continental GT, to accommodate the remote sensor key.
Under the bonnet is a reworked version of Bentley’s epic 6.0-litre W12 engine – with an output of 485kW (650 horsepower in the old money) and 900Nm – paired to an eight-speed twin-clutch automatic and all-wheel-drive, running on air suspension and staggered 22-inch wheels and tyres (275/35/22 front, 315/30/22 rear).
Production is due to commence at the end of 2020 with deliveries due in 2021. The display model pictured is car “zero”, with 12 customer examples to be added beyond this.
Subtle changes to the hand-finished production cars include the addition of a boot, which the display model lacks, but otherwise the finished product will look like this.
Although Bentley won’t say which countries each car is destined for, the company has confirmed the Bacalar will be sold to buyers in left- and right-hand-drive markets.
The Bacalar is named after a blue lagoon in Mexico – a lake on the Yucatan Peninsula – and Bentley has endeavoured to make the model as environmentally-friendly as possible, er, despite the 6.0-litre W12 engine.
In addition to being built in a carbon-neutral factory (powered by one of the UK’s largest solar panel farms adjacent to the plant) Bentley says the Bacalar has “ethically sourced” rice husk ash paint and the interior uses 5000-year-old Riverwood in its bespoke two-seat cabin.
The quilting on each leather seat has 148,199 individual stitches, while the rest of the cabin retains the modern instruments and infotainment screens from the Bentley Continental GT.
The Bentley Bacalar was supposed to be unveiled at the 2020 Geneva motor show.
However, once the event was canceled by the Swiss government due to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19, the Bacalar was turned around and trucked from Switzerland back to the Bentley’s head office in Crewe, north of England, where the car was shown during a live stream over the internet.
Bentley used the unveiling of the Bacalar to relaunch its Mulliner bespoke personalisation business.
Customers will soon be able to customise regular models in the Bentley range with almost limitless potential – for a price.
The Mulliner division will also be able to restore classic Bentleys and be responsible for future limited production runs of cars like the Bacalar.
Bentley acquired the Mulliner brand in 1959 but it had been a coach building company since the 1760s, when it was commissioned to build and maintain carriages for England’s Royal Mail postal service.
Prior to that, Mulliner’s expertise started as a saddlery, from the 1500s. “The tradition of bespoke craftsmanship has been passed down from generation to generation since the 1500s,” said Bentley boss Adrian Hallmark.