The Bentley Mulliner – “a name for going beyond extraordinary,” says Tim Hannig, Bentley Mulliner director – takes a step further with its new debut. The Bentley Mulliner Bacalar, named after the natural, spectacularly blue lake in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, is said to be the British brand’s rarest two-door car in the modern era. It defines an open top, luxury interpretation of a Grand Tourer that is completely coachbuilt. Only 12 fully bespoke models will be hand-crafted, each powered by a 6.0-liter W12 engine with 650 hp and 900 nm torque.
Following the EXP 100 GT as the second car of their 100th anniversary, the Bentley Mulliner Bacalar revives the brand’s history of coachbuilding. “I am a strong believer in the benefits of coachbuilding,” admits Tim Hannig. “It is extremely personal, just as a Bentley should be.” as such, each model is individually handbuilt to the client’s bespoke specifications. First deliveries are expected in early 2021 for the car, which has a pre-tax starting price of £1.5 million GBP.
“We were briefed to create the ultimate open cockpit Grand Tourer for Bentley,” explains JP Gregory, head of exterior design at Bentley. As the first modern coachbuilt Mulliner, the model has an understandably contemporary gesture. Its Barchetta design might throw visual weight backwards but the front still helps define its muscular character. Here, the bonnet’s smooth surface dramatically chamfers to meet its very upright, dominant grille. On either side sits sharp, single headlights that then extend towards the flanks in a blade shape. A “water line” origins from the tips of these blades, running around the whole body, and acting as a peak between the highly sculptural surfaces of the top and bottom sections of the car.
The Grand Tourer’s “water line” curves upwards towards its haunched rear to create a very athletic impression. This is accentuated by its two dramatically tapered cowls , crafted from a lightweight aluminum clamshell, that merge into a rear end that shares similarities with the EXP 100 GT. These include its overall sharp, muscular form and webbed taillights. the bold exterior is complete in a glimmering golden yellow flame color – sustainably made from ash pigments from rice husks – and sculptural details such as the dark bronze-rimmed 22-inch wheels and two-tone door handles.
Separated by dark bronze lines, there is a seamless harmony between the two-seater open top’s exterior and interior. Accents in the golden yellow flame color highlight details inside its dark architecture. The cockpit itself wraps around the driver and passenger to create two seemingly individual spaces that focus the whole experience in front and on the road. The dashboard, fitted with a rotating center console, is raised and steeply angled to define a sporty, cocoon-like feel. Behind the seats, a natural british wool-covered compartment provides an area to hold the model’s bespoke luggage.
What makes the interior of the Bentley Mulliner Bacalar even more special is its completely unique elements that were designed from scratch. “Our brief was to create things you couldn’t produce on the production line,” says Darren Day, head of interior design at Bentley. A new knurled pattern was created for the air vents as well as for the steering wheel controls, media and climate controls, and the speaker frets. a eye-catching blue, inspired by the bacalar lake in Mexico, adorns the dashboard’s clockface and the trim of all rotary dials.
“The Bacalar is a big step forward as a modern interpretation of what a bentley could be,” states Stefan Sielaff, design director at Bentley. Its material choices source inspiration, again, from the EXP 100 GT and debuts its environmentally-conscious options – what the brand calls the future of luxury mobility – on the road for the first time. Most notably, this includes non-traditional materials like the lacquered 5,000-year-old, naturally fallen riverwood that adorns and accentuates the curving, wraparound architecture of the cockpit. Its dark shade complements its use of certified leather, wool and anodized aluminum. While you’re waiting be sure to check Bentley Mulsanne 6.75 Edition by Mulliner and 10 most expensive cars in the world.