It’s been eight years since Bentley last launched a convertible, but last night in Los Angeles it uncovered a preview of the four-seat drop top it's been mulling for years, the beautiful Grand Convertible concept.
Penned by former Lamborghini designer Luc Donkerwolke, the design is based on the Mulsanne, Bentley’s largest four-door sedan, though the concept is a mere 150 mm shorter than the Mulsanne. Underneath the bodywork, the chassis has been reworked from the windshield back for the rigors of topless driving, with carbon-fiber cross-bracing for rigidity. Power comes from Bentley’s 6.75-liter, twin-turbo V-8, tuned to 530 hp and a monstrous 811 lb.-ft. of torque, just as it is in the Mulsanne Speed.
In true Bentley style, the Grand Convertible exudes luxury. The Sequin Blue color was originally a bespoke color created from a sequin from a customer’s haute couture gown, while the hood and windscreen frame are painted in what Bentley calls “liquid metal,” a satin finished silver. The book-matched, burl walnut tonneau cover is the single largest piece of wood veneer ever created by the Bentley builders in Crewe, England. Fourteen naturally tanned hides are used for the linen colored, diamond-patterned interior that is then hand cross stitched with the same sequin-blue thread throughout.
Bentley has been hustling for some kind of four-passenger halo convertible since the Azure ended production in 2009. Back in 2012 Bentley showed a teaser sketch of a concept, but due to management changes, Bentley pulled the plug a year later. This year, the company changed its tune again, adding the car back to a future model lineup dominated by the upcoming Bentley SUV.
During the unveiling, Bentley CEO Wolfgang Durheimer said that the Grand Convertible would be “one of the most sought after luxury cars in the world,” adding that if the concept does get built, you wont see many of the Grand Convertibles on the road.
“We are eagerly awaiting the response of our customers to this car," Durheimer said. "We will ensure that this car — if it reaches the roads — will be a highly exclusive, extremely limited collector’s piece.“