This is the hand-crafted Bentley Bacalar, the vehicle that will 'spearhead' the marque's Mulliner division's return to coachbuilding. Only 12 examples of the Bacalar will be built and it has been revealed at the company's Crewe HQ in the UK.
Inspired by EXP 100 GT
Every example of the Bacalar will be built to each individual customer's personal tastes. Its name comes from a lake in Mexico that is renowned for its natural beauty and striking blue waters - that follows on from the strategy of naming certain models after landmarks, beginning with the Bentayga. The car will launch a Mulliner operation that will see the coachbuilding division offer three portfolios, called Classic, Collections and (appropriately) Coachbuilt.
Based on the underpinnings of a Continental GTC and taking styling cues from the EXP 100 GT, the Bacalar is a barchetta, with a permanently open top and tapered cowls at the rear. Inside, the wraparound cockpit has a new, steeply angled centre console that segues into the doors. There are just two seats and at the back is a semi-enclosed luggage compartment, while the vehicle uses ethically sourced materials - so the paint includes ash from rice husks, to give it a metallic finish, there's natural wool in the cabin and the trademark 5,000-year-old Riverwood leather-like material that is sourced from the UK's East Anglian Fenlands.
Power to go with beauty
Under the Bacalar's bonnet is an uprated version of the company's tried-and-tested W12 TSI 6.0-litre twin-turbo petrol engine. It makes the same 900Nm as in a Bentley Continental GT, but the power has risen from 635hp on the Continental models to 659hp here. It has the same Active All-Wheel-Drive System, which varies the torque split between the front and rear axles, favouring the rear in normal driving for optimum efficiency and the most involving dynamic performance. Oh, and if you like the sound of the Bacalar and you're sufficiently well-heeled enough to seriously consider one, tough luck: all examples of the Mulliner-crafted vehicle have already been allocated to customers around the world.
Adrian Hallmark, chairman and CEO of Bentley Motors, said: "The Bentley Mulliner Bacalar is our ultimate expression of an open-top, luxury grand tourer, and of the immense capabilities of our team in Crewe. In Bacalar, we have created a fully bespoke Bentley, orientated towards a two-seat open-top experience, and carrying a number of the forward thinking elements of future luxury, first heralded in our EXP 100 GT as part of our Centenary celebrations last year.
"Bacalar is a rare and remarkable Bentley, and whilst clearly defined, will be an extraordinary and collaborative experience for just twelve discerning people who will now co-create, collect, drive and treasure one of twelve being built. Our customers are as excited as we are about Bacalar, as it brings our team and discerning enthusiasts together, to create the finest bespoke, hand-built cars, and push the boundaries of our imagination and capabilities."