Bentley Continental GT Full Overview

The limited-edition 2021 Bentley Mulliner Bacalar was meant to be one of many stars of the 2020 Geneva Motor Present. However COVID-19 had different concepts, and with Geneva’s sudden cancellation, Bentley was pressured to forgo the pomp and circumstance of launching the Bacalar at an occasion that has up to now hosted the debuts of fashion icons such because the Jaguar E-Sort and Lamborghini Countach. As a substitute, Bentley’s first two-seat automobile in 90 years was revealed through a direct knowledge dump into media inboxes across the globe.

Ultimately, it did not matter. All 12 Bacalars had been rapidly snapped up with out a single buyer having seen an precise automobile, and never one canceled their order even because the pandemic threw the worldwide financial system into chaos. Anxious Bentley boss Adrian Hallmark, who has met, through Zoom, all of the Bacalar patrons at the least 3 times over the previous 12 months, requested every of them why they nonetheless needed to purchase a automobile that was a pure indulgence. Their reply? “Why not?”

The Bentley Bacalar’s Roots

The Bacalar relies on the Continental GT Pace convertible, sharing that automobile’s working gear and fundamental inside physique construction. Meaning the Pace’s 650-hp, 664-lb-ft model of the twin-turbo W-12 engine is underneath the hood, driving all 4 wheels via an eight-speed automated transmission tweaked to supply barely sooner shifts than in common Conti GTs. It additionally means the Bacalar has the Pace’s rear-wheel steering system and digital differential, in addition to its faster steering ratio. The spring, damper, and anti-roll-bar charges are an identical to these of the Pace convertible.

The one exterior parts the Bacalar shares with the Pace droptop are the door handles, and solely as a result of they include the {hardware} for the keyless entry system. Each exterior panel is exclusive to the Bacalar, designed and crafted by Bentley Mulliner, the corporate’s in-house coachbuilding, customization, and classic-car specialist. The hood and door skins are aluminum; all the pieces else is comprised of carbon fiber.

Although it shares key onerous factors with the common GT convertible—wheelbase, dash-to-axle ratio, cowl top—the Bacalar is 2.0 inches longer total, with many of the additional size behind the rear wheels. It is also 1.7 inches wider, because of rear fenders pumped as much as accommodate a 0.8-inch improve within the rear monitor. Lastly, the windshield is shallower, lowering total top by 1.6 inches. Consequently, the Bacalar hunkers nearer to the street than the suavely elegant GT Convertible, all sinew and muscle underneath a tautly stretched pores and skin like LeBron James in a Savile Row swimsuit.

Naturally, the Bacalar Is Particular Inside, Too

The Bacalar inside has additionally been given a Mulliner makeover, with re-profiled door and center-console therapies, a digital instrument panel, and element adjustments to all the pieces else, proper right down to knurling on the bullseye vents, the sample of which is repeated on the steering-wheel controls, media and local weather controls, and the speaker grilles. The 2 seats function a singular quilting sample that, in keeping with Bentley, requires exactly 148,199 stitches per seat to finish. Behind them, underneath the aero humps extending onto the rear deck, is room for 2 specifically designed baggage by Italian luxurious baggage maker Schedoni.

Solely 12 Bentley Bacalars will ever be bought, however 13 exist. Bacalar Automobile Zero is the check validation mule, a automobile that, amongst different issues, has already lined greater than 6000 ‘buyer’ miles and greater than 4500 ‘sturdiness’ miles in its brief profession. It’s, as Bentley insiders freely admit, somewhat scuffed across the edges, not least as a result of the dearth of a roof means even the inside was subjected to climatic testing involving temperatures starting from 14 to 176 levels Fahrenheit, humidity ranges of 80 %, and high-intensity UV hundreds. However aside from some distressed lacquer on the painted areas of the 5000-year-old Riverwood veneer, the inside seems none the more serious for put on.

The wind deflector between the aero humps is a prototype half mounted with bolts, and the distinctive wheels are painted black for comfort. (Every ‘manufacturing’ Bacalar wheel, which has three separate finishes, requires a day’s portray and preparation earlier than being fitted to a automobile, says Omar Sheikh, coachbuilding challenge chief at Bentley Mulliner.) Aside from these objects, and the metal brakes, Bacalar Automobile Zero is just about the identical spec as will likely be delivered to the well-heeled purchasers.

A Particular and Distinctive Driving Expertise

Feathered tires and a spongy brake pedal betray the onerous lifetime of a manufacturing facility check mule, however in each different approach Automobile Zero feels contemporary. The Pace-spec engine and transmission ship Bentley’s trademark 12-cylinder thrust in a single easy surge all the way in which to 6000 rpm, to the accompaniment of a tingly muted snarl from the exhaust, notably in Sport mode. Regardless of the chilly, blustery spring climate, it is quiet sufficient within the cabin to have interaction in regular dialog at freeway speeds.

There is a acquainted measured cadence in the way in which the Bacalar goes down the street, and a relaxed heft to the physique motions as they’re artfully modulated by the air suspension and steadied by the 48-volt anti-roll system. However the second you pull the steering wheel off heart, it is clear the Bacalar is a really completely different kind of Bentley, gentle on its toes and surprisingly responsive. It is probably not gentle—though it has no convertible roof and attendant mechanisms, and it is swathed in carbon fiber and aluminum, the Bacalar weighs simply 66 kilos lower than a 12-cylinder GT convertible. No, the Bacalar’s alert entrance finish is a results of the rear-steer system, the differential, and the faster steering.

It is fast and composed, nevertheless it’s not a sports activities automobile. The Bacalar has been tuned for consolation, not for ricocheting from apex to apex along with your hair on fireplace. It is a Bentley completely pitched for a languid late morning run alongside the Grande Corniche, the blue waters of the Mediterranean glowing within the distance, en path to lunch on the Hôtel de Paris in Monaco. The place, in fact, its rarity and elegance will earn it a primo valet spot proper out entrance.

Even Bentley’s Adrian Hallmark, no stranger to promoting costly vehicles to well-heeled shoppers, appears barely shocked that, within the midst of a worldwide pandemic, anybody would splash $1.9 million on a hand constructed, 12-cylinder, 200-mph automobile that does not actually have a roof. “We’re not seeing recessionary conduct; we’re seeing one thing like a postwar growth,” he says of the response to the Bacalar, the primary in what will likely be a sequence of restricted version coachbuilt vehicles from Mulliner. “Individuals are saying, ‘life is simply too brief to not do what I’ve needed to do.’ “

The Bacalar is a Bentley for the Roaring Twenties: the post-pandemic 2020s.

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