Even by Bentley standards, the British automaker known for its rare combination of elegance and performance, the just-unveiled Mulliner Bacalar reeks of pretentiousness.
The $2 million open-topped cars will feature an interior made from 5,000-year-old trees and be powered with 650 horsepower, a 12-cylinder engine, with all-wheel-drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The small production vehicle — only 12 will be made — was scheduled for its debut at the Geneva Motor Show. The annual prestigious event was scheduled to begin March 5, but it was canceled due to concerns about the coronavirus.
Like many other manufacturers that altered plans, the new Bentley was unveiled online.
All 12 Bacalar cars have already been pre-sold to customers, who will work with Bentley’s Mulliner division to select colors and fabrics.
In the Bentley tradition, the Bacalar is named after the extraordinary. Bacalar is the name of a lake in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula. The vehicle is classified as a Barchetta, which means “little boat” in Italian.
Best practices also mean the Bacalar will remain garaged in inclement weather.
The new car’s interior wood trim is made from trees that have been naturally preserved for more than 5,000 years in the rivers, lakes and peat bogs of East Anglia in the United Kingdom.
Bentley boasts the naturally sourced wood is one of the car’s “sustainable” features. Another is paint made using rice husk ash, a byproduct of industrial rice production. The ash is used to make a substance that gives the paint its sparkle.
Instead of the usual silver color, the badges on the Bentley Bacalar are made from dark bronze with black titanium detailing.
Custom made luggage designed to fit precisely into an open area behind the seats is available from the Italian firm of Schedoni. The luggage can also be made to match the interior of the car. Based in Modena, not far from the headquarters of Ferrari and Lamborghini, Schedoni specializes in producing custom-fitted bags for ultra-high-end sports cars.
The strategy is similar to what Bentley’s sister-company Bugatti — both are owned by Volkswagen Group — has been doing in recent years. Bugatti has unveiled many specially designed low-volume cars that cost even more — far more, in some cases — than the $3 million Bugatti Chiron, the brand’s core model.
Article Last Updated: March 8, 2020.
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A sports, travel and business journalist for more than 45 years, James has written the new car review column The Weekly Driver since 2004.
In addition to this site, James writes a Sunday automotive column for The San Jose Mercury and East Bay Times in Walnut Creek, Calif., and a monthly auto review column for Gulfshore Business, a magazine in Southwest Florida.
An author and contributor to many newspapers, magazines and online publications, James has co-hosted The Weekly Driver Podcast since 2017.