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Bentley Bacalar 2022.

Bentley Bacalar 2022.

Bentley Bacalar 2022.

Bentley Bacalar 2022. Bentley Mulliner Bacalar is the most expensive Bentley in history.

The Bentley Mulliner Bacalar is just a concept, a Bentley Bacalar worth about $ 2 million.

In the early days of automobiles, exclusivity was never an issue. Those who were wealthy enough to afford cars different from the regular model usually ordered their favorite body style from the same bodybuilders.

It was a largely separate — and more dignified — business compared to the usual business of making frames, motors and axles.

After the introduction of production cars, the production of exclusive bodies has been around for an impressively long time, but as cars have become more sophisticated, it has become more difficult and more expensive.

But now Bentley is bringing back something very similar. According to a Bacalar preview, Bentley’s Mulliner in-house division is offering a radically different limited-edition car, built on the same foundations as the existing Continental GT convertible.

This approach isn’t entirely new — Lamborghini seems to release two or three special unobtanium models a year — but it’s less common in the ultra-luxury segment.

Bentley announced its plan to release a limited edition Bacalar earlier this year. The debut was originally planned at the Geneva Motor Show, but after its cancellation, the show was held online.

At the same time, he also confirmed that all the cars have already been sold, despite their price tag of around 2 million.

Bentley Bacalar 2022.

None of the Bacalars have been built yet, let alone a basic prototype for fine-tuning the mechanical case.

But we were given the opportunity to test the concept that was to be unveiled at the stand in Geneva with an exclusive ride on the Goodwood Circuit in the United Kingdom.

The combination of a seven-figure show car with zero weather protection and the fact that the British summer is unpredictable gives a completely predictable result: almost pouring rain.

Not ideal conditions for a 650-horsepower car on the infamous high-speed racetrack, although it soon became clear that the show car was not built for speed.

Bacalar’s damp yet beautifully finished interior is quickly transformed into a theatrical setting.

Attempting to close the windows reveals that the switches are not working and that the milled aluminum temperature controls rotate without altering the digital display or cockpit airflow.

Bentley Bacalar 2022.

There is no active climate control system behind the dashboard. The hands of the clock and the three dials that sit on what should be a rotating panel at the top of the dashboard are frozen in place.

The digital instrument display works, but it only plays the looped video. On the other hand, at least the wipers work.

After riding, the Bacalar windshield does provide impressive weather protection. Bentley claims the finished car, which should weigh about 220 pounds less than the soft-top Continental GT, will be the fastest open-top road car in its history: 0 to 100 km / h in 3.5 seconds and 200 miles maximum speed per hour.

Inside the exclusive car is a 6.0-liter W-12. The Conti’s eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission works well with the vehicle’s split transmission, offering both fast gear changes and near-torque converter smoothness at lower revs.

The Bacalar looks amazing, a Bentley concept that a fortunate group of wealthy customers can actually buy.

Although it uses the same platform as the Continental GT Convertible, which starts at $ 228,025, the Mulliner design team has redesigned its look.

Bentley Bacalar 2022.

The new bodywork uses both aluminum (for the rear) and carbon fiber (doors and front fenders). The only parts carried over from the Bentley Continental are the windshield and door handles, which include a keyless entry system.

Bentley’s head of color and trim, Maria Mulder, says at least one customer chose Flame Yellow for the show car, which comes alive under gray skies and beautifully accentuates the car’s unique 22-inch wheels.

Much less changes inside the cab, as the interior was more difficult to redesign than the body panels. But almost every surface is covered with exotic and expensive materials.

The dashboard of the show car is made of 5,000-year-old petrified river wood extracted from a peat bog. We were more interested in quilted leather seats (each with 148,000 individual stitches) and ultra-thin woolen dashboards.

Bentley Bacalar 2022.

But Mulder says the Bentley must meet Volkswagen Group standards for interior durability and (in open-top models) short-term water resistance.

When we speak with Mulliner boss Tim Hannig after the trip, he admits that the decision to build only a dozen Bacalars was deliberately cautious.

The car is intended to be both proof of Bentley’s ability to make significant changes to its existing models and to measure the market for them, although it insists that the performance figures of future Mulliner models will never make them standard.

“When you increase volume, people lose interest,” he said. «I don’t think we’ll ever get to 150 exclusive models a year.»

But Bacalar will be followed by other limited edition specials. “We’re absolutely not planning on doing one thing and then stopping,” Hannig said. «This is a very serious entry into a forgotten market niche.»

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