Bentley Mulliner Bacalar begins final tests | CAR Magazine

Bentley Mulliner Bacalar begins final tests

Published: 16 December 2020 Updated: 16 December 2020

► Bentley reveals ‘future of coachbuilding’
► Mulliner creation uses sustainable materials
► Limited-run GT car will cost £1.5m each

Bentley has begun the final phase of testing for its coachbuilt Bacalar convertible. Car Zero is racking up mileage around Europe, with parameters such as stability, top speed testing and handling evaluation all being carried out before a further 12 cars are built. All have been sold. 

The testing is vital for the Bacalar, because although it looks similar to other models for Crewe, it packs in more than 750 new components. 40 of those are formed of carbonfibre, while 100 have been created using ‘rapid additive manufacture techniques.’ 

So far, the 20 week schedule is progressing as planned, with Bentley already proving the Bacalar’s 200mph+ Vmax. 

‘The Bacalar is a thoroughly modern iteration of the coachbuilt Bentleys of the past – extremely rare, entirely hand-crafted, totally bespoke to each customer and exquisite in its details,’ said Bentley’s director of Mulliner, Paul Williams. 

The whole team behind the car is thrilled to see the prototype shrugging off every test we throw at it, and we’re really looking forward to starting the build of the 12 customer cars.’

How much of this is Mulliner?

It’s a Continental GT Convertible that’s had one considerable makeover, taking styling details from the brand’s EXP 100 GT concept.

And a lot of it is Mulliner; more than your usual creation from Bentley’s special arm. Bentley’s focus with the Bacalar is to further illuminate what it’s bespoke arm can do. The Bacalar has taken significant design inspiration from the EXP 100 GT; the headlights, grille shape and arrangement of the rear have all been pilfered from Bentley’s centenary concept.

Bacalar interior

Mulliner has taken the basis of a Continental GT Convertible, widened the rear track by 20mm, the rear clamshell is made out of aluminium and the doors and wings from carbonfibre. Massive 22-inch wheels bespoke to the Bacalar also feature.

Materials from the EXP 100 GT also make their way into the Bacalar; 5,000-year-old riverwood, dredged from the river beds of the East Anglian Fens is what you see on the dashboard’s wraparound veneer, while wool cloth, piping and yarns are all sourced from small, sustainable UK suppliers.

What powers the Bacalar?

Would you be surprised if we said there was a W12 under there? Of course not. Here, the 6.0-litre, twin-turbo engine makes 650bhp and 667lb ft and is mated to an eight-speed auto. Bentley’s 48v active body roll system is implemented, as is air suspension.

Bacalar rear tracking

How much?!

The Bacalar will set each of the 12 lucky people to sign up for one at the very least £1.5m before taxes.

Of course, given each one is a special project, that leaves the barn door wide open for that cost to rise, in order for Mulliner to carry out whatever they desire.

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By Jake Groves

CAR's deputy news editor, gamer, serial Lego-ist, lover of hot hatches