Bentley's Grand Convertible concept is a showcase for craftsmanship
For this year's LA Auto Show, Bentley has decided to ask itself the question: How do we improve upon our flagship limousine GT car, the Mulsanne?
And it turns out that the answer is to cut its roof off, do away with two of its four doors and give the company's team of craftsmen complete carte blanche.
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'With this car we combine the opulent Mulsanne experience with the full sensory indulgence of open-air touring, continuing to unite luxury and performance in new ways,' said Bentley Chairman and CEO, Wolfgang Dürheimer, at the car's unveiling in Los Angles. 'We will ensure that this car -- if it reaches the roads -- will be a highly exclusive, extremely limited collector's piece.'
The Grand Convertible is powered by Bentley's formidable 530bhp 6 3/4-liter twin-turbo V8, so progress will be as rapid as it is stylish. Although the company is keeping quiet about exact performance figures, this engine catapults the Mulsanne from 0-62mph (100kph) in a little over 5 seconds and on to a top speed of 184mph (296kph).
But if you do end up taking delivery of a Grand Convertible -- ignore the false modesty, this car will be going into production -- you will want to drive it slowly in order to enjoy its interior comforts for as long as possible.
Its four seats are wrapped in 14 naturally tanned leather hides, hand-matched and merged together with Bentley's trademark diamond quilting needlework, which subtly changes size as the pattern progresses through the cabin.
A sequin blue (to match the bespoke exterior paint color) cross thread acts as a subtle contrast and is also hand-stitched into the leather.
All Bentleys are a soothing sea of wood, leather and chromed brightwork but the Grand Convertible takes things up a notch with the tonneau (the panel that covers the roof when down). The biggest individual piece of wood veneer ever fitted to a Bentley, the book-matched mirror-finished walnut burr piece is shaped entirely by hand.