Bentley revealed its new concept car, the Grand Convertible, last night in Los Angeles at the Bentley Studio and what a revelation it was. Touted to “redefine the luxury of open-air driving”, this latest convertible Bentley does not disappoint.
During the unveiling ceremony, Bentley Chairman and CEO Wolfgang Durheimer commented, “This concept demonstrates Bentley’s ability to create a pinnacle convertible Grand Tourer, while embodying elegance beyond compare. With this car we combine the opulent Mulsanne experience with the full sensory indulgence of open-air touring, continuing to unite luxury and performance in new ways. We are eagerly awaiting the response of our customers to this car. We will ensure that this car – if it reaches the roads – will be a highly exclusive, extremely limited collector’s piece.”
After the car was unveiled, I had a chance to chat with its visionary designer, Bentley Senior Exterior Designer, Crispin Marshfield. We discussed everything from his process as a designer, to the materials used on the vehicle, to styling choices, finally ending on seeing his vision come to life just ahead of the 2014 LA Auto Show, opening to the public on November 19th.
The project took 2-3 years to complete from inception to final product. The front of the vehicle is very much inspired by the Mulsanne, staying true to the signature Bentley headlight configuration. However, that’s where the Mulsanne comparison ends. The mid-rear section of the car is all new. The back is wider and boasts muscular, sleek lines and a beefy tail end. From top to bottom, this car oozes luxury. From the self-closing doors, to the diamond quilted seats created from 14 naturally tanned leather hides, it is worth every penny of its hand-built, $300,000+ price tag.
This particular car was only finished 12 days before its unveiling and Marshfield felt a sense of pride seeing it completed. The car went through a traditional design process, beginning with sketches, graduating to scaled and full size clay models, before being handed over to engineers and computer design programs. As the exterior designer, Marshfield followed the process at every step, ensuring the integrity of his design. Typically engineers strive to find the most efficient way to build a car. However, a Bentley is not your typical runaround car. There is something very special and unique about a Bentley. It commands the attention of everyone who crosses its path, lending itself to much higher production costs.
While the exterior is breathtaking to behold, what’s found underneath the hood is equally impressive. The 6¾-litre twin-turbo V8 Mulsanne engine boasts 537 PS (530 bhp / 395 kW) and 1,100 Nm (811 lb.ft) of torque. The car’s performance can certainly match its style.
Once again, Bentley has proven itself to be the premiere luxury car brand. There is nothing quite like a Bentley on the road, and the elegant new Grand Convertible takes it one step further.