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Bentley prepares to unveil Mulsanne Convertible

Ragtop to riches: Bentley appears to have gone for a traditional fabric roof for the Mulsanne Convertible concept.

Drop-top Mulsanne teased as Bentley provides private Pebble Beach preview

20 Aug 2012

BENTLEY is understood to have given prospective buyers a private preview of a convertible version of its Mulsanne limousine at the Pebble Beach automotive event in California at the weekend, whereas mere mortals have been treated to a series of sketches.

As a successor to the Azure that was discontinued in 2010, the Mulsanne Convertible would provide a competitor to the Phantom Drophead from fellow German-owned British super-luxury brand Rolls-Royce.

Sketches supplied by Bentley show only side-on and overhead views of the four-seat convertible, which appears to share bodywork up to the A-pillar with the sedan.

A steeply raked windscreen lends itself to a low roofline and behind the long front doors are exaggerated haunches reminiscent of classic drop-head Bentleys.

Judging by the sketches, Bentley has opted for a traditional fabric roof instead of a folding hardtop, the complexity and weight of which could prove problematic due to the sheer size of the car.

As with other cars of this ilk, Bentley has drawn inspiration from “luxurious, high-performance power boats” for the convertible’s interior, using the usual adjectives sumptuous, handcrafted and painstaking to describe the levels of luxury, quality and craftsmanship.

54 center imageBentley chairman and CEO Wolfgang Durheimer described the Mulsanne limousine as “a perfect foundation on which to create the world’s most elegant convertible”.

“The Convertible Concept will extend the appeal of the Mulsanne family, while enhancing the profile of the Bentley brand, particularly in new and emerging markets,” he said.

Details of the convertible are scarce, but it is expected to be powered by the same 6.75-litre twin-turbo V8 as in the Mulsanne sedan, where it develops 377kW of power at 4200rpm and 1020Nm of torque at 1750rpm.

Drive is sent to the rear wheels via an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission related to the unit used in VW Group stablemate Audi’s A8 limousine.

Bentley expects the Mulsanne Convertible will appeal to “automotive connoisseurs seeking the ultimate in contemporary design, prestige and exclusivity”, and claims it represents “the world’s most elegant and sophisticated convertible”.

If it reaches production, the Mulsanne Convertible will join Bentley’s long line of desirable open grand tourers dating back to the 1920s.

Other Bentleys showcased at Pebble Beach included the new 329km/h Continental GT Speed coupe and the controversially styled EXP 9 F SUV concept.

Bentley’s decision to show the Mulsanne Convertible at the US Pebble Beach event is timely as the Americas reclaimed the title of top Bentley market from China in the first half of this year with 1140 deliveries to 1059 for China.

Bentley’s global growth rate was 32 per cent in the first half, but Australian sales were down 7.7 per cent with 36 cars sold compared with 39 for the same period last year.

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