As if there weren’t enough things in the world that you want but probably can’t afford, Bentley decided to pile it on. The ultra-luxury car maker recently debuted its new Grand Convertible, which just might become the world’s ultimate top-down vehicle. At its core, the Grand Convertible is a Bentley Muslanne Speed, complete with a 530-horsepower 6.75 twin-turbo V8 engine that tacks on a whopping 811 pound-feet of torque. This car is the paramount of engineering and sophistication, and the only downside is that it will be a tad bit out of the price range of your average consumer.
“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,” said Bentley CEO Wolfgang Dürheimer upon the car’s unveiling at the LA Auto Show. “This concept demonstrates Bentley’s ability to create a pinnacle convertible Grand Tourer, while embodying elegance beyond compare. 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.”
The Grand Coupe will continue its promotional tour following the LA Auto Show, and head to Miami for Art Basel, where it will likely garner even more consumer excitement. But again, we’re talking about an ultra-luxury convertible that will likely have an astronomical price tag. For comparison, the car’s soon-to-be greatest rival, the Rolls Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe, sells for around half a million dollars. While the car itself is still in the concept phase, all signs point toward production in the near future.
“It’s a production-ready concept,” Corey Proffitt, a Bentley North American spokesman, told The New York Times. “No final decision on production has been made, though. The business is using L.A. and Miami appearances to gauge dealer and customer feedback in our two largest convertible markets.”
While it’s certain to turn a lot of heads and create a good amount of buzz in the auto world, the pressing question really regards where the new Grand Convertible will fit in. Really, all it boils down to is how Bentley plans on introducing a car that very few people can afford into an auto market that is being dominated by sales of pickup trucks, cheap commuter cars and economical compact SUVs.
As mentioned previously, Bentley is taking aim at its chief rival, Rolls Royce. On Rolls Royce’s side of things, they already have the Phantom Drophead Coupe on the market, which is currently the $500,000 ultra-luxury convertible leader. By introducing the Grand Convertible to compete with the Phantom, Bentley is taking a stab at a market segment that has really, up to this point, gone mostly unchallenged. Now that it’s been on the market, dominating the ultra-luxury convertible segment since 2008, this may be the perfect chance for Bentley to jump in and swipes some market share.
But how about the rest of the Bentley line up? With the lack of a marquee convertible model, the Grand Convertible will be a welcome addition that will augment what the company has to offer. Though it’s really an offshoot of the Mulsanne, the new addition extends Bentley’s reach on the market. Right now, the Flying Spur, the Continental and the Mulsanne are the only current production models that Bentley produces, so by expanding on that, execs are hoping to improve sales.
It’s also worth mentioning that the Grand Convertible isn’t the only new addition coming to the Bentley family. The company is also in the midst of a new SUV project, which is still mostly under wraps. While the convertible will open a few new doors, adding an SUV to the fold will really shake things up, and give the world what is likely to be one of the most powerful and expensive sport utility vehicles on the planet.
We’ll need to wait to see what actually comes of the project, but for now, the Grand Convertible looks to be on its way.