Coming Soon? Bentley Grand Convertible
It’s not often a company like Bentley shows us a dramatic potential new model, but when they do, it usually excites everyone.
Bentley Chairman and CEO, Wolfgang Dürheimer, who unveiled this car in LA, commented: “We are eagerly awaiting the response of our customers to this car. We will ensure that this car – if it reaches the roads – will be a highly exclusive, extremely limited collector’s piece.”
It will have 530 bhp and 1,100 Nm (811 lb.ft) of torque from Bentley’s legendary 6¾-litre twin-turbo V8 engine. Nothing new and spectacular here.
So it seems that at the moment, it’s a one-off masterpiece, but if Bentley customers take a liking to it, it will be produced in “very limited numbers”. The show model is finished in Sequin Blue, originally a bespoke colour created from a single sequin from a customer’s gown, the Grand Convertible also has a silver “liquid metal” finish to the bonnet and windscreen frame… like a Rolls-Royce.
Which brings me on to a thought I’ve had for a while now. Even though Bentley and Rolls-Royce seemingly went their separate ways in 1998 when Rolls was acquired by BMW, the companies’ cars are still remarkably similar. I get that Rolls-Royce has always been about luxury and wafting through cities, and Bentleys focus on the actual driving experience, calling their vehicles ‘sports cars’ and even producing hardcore GT cars in recent years (the Supersports springs to mind) and rather unbelievably GT3 racing cars. But the differences should be more extreme in my opinion. The ‘cheaper’ Bentleys have had a [bad] reputation as ‘footballers cars’ in recent years, but they are still fantastic cars to drive and look at with their sleek curves and bespoke production. The Audi W12 engine is one of the best engines I’ve experienced as well.
I’ll try not to give a history lecture, but Bentley was severely hit by the Great Depression and in 1931, Woolf Barnato (one of the ‘Bentley Boys’) notified the lenders he is no longer able to meet the debts he had guaranteed for. The court appointed a receiver to Bentley and in November 1931, the company was bought by the British Central Equitable Trust which was in reality Rolls-Royce. From the acquisition of Bentley by Rolls-Royce, the future development of both car producers became intertwined with Bentley being dependant on the Rolls-Royce’s owner. This, however, has been shown to have no effect on the brand. Just like Rolls-Royce remains associated with pure luxury, Bentley remains associated with top sports cars and high performance for increased driving experience. Up until 2004, all Bentleys were actually built on Rolls Royce chassis and used adapted Rolls Royce engines.
So at the moment, I’m sitting on the fence with this new car. However, if I get my hands on one to test, that may all change! Bentley are ready push the button to produce it, as long as it gauges enough interest.