2014 BENTLEY GRAND CONVERTIBLE: It's on show for the first time at the Los Angeles auto show in California and the Brit brand is hoping for enough interest to build for real. Image: Newspress / Bentley
• Most sophisticated convertible
• Shows Bentley’s future intentions
• 'Ultimate' British luxury automobile
LOS ANGELES, California - Bentley is using the 2014 auto show here on the US West Coast to show off two cars: the new Mulsanne Speed sedan and a giant of a topless concept called, with little imagination, the Bentley Grand Convertible.
The show opened today, November 19, and the BGC will certainly be a focus of attention. Bentley is, of course, now owned by German automaker VW but its products continue to roll out from the hallowed industrial halls of home factory in the grimy English Midlands town of Crewe.
Bentley's media pack describes the BGC as "the ultimate expression of British automotive luxury... the most sophisticated open-top car ever created by Bentley". Until the next one, of course...
GALLERY: Bentley Grand Continental
Anyway, the paean continues: "Iconic yet understated in style and fashioned entirely by hand from the very finest materials, this unrivalled flagship of luxury represents the ultimate in powerful, sensuous roofless motoring."
Right, that's that then... oh, sorry, wrong. Bentley's chairman and CEO Wolfgang Dürheimer, who dragged the drapes off the car in LA, added: "This concept demonstrates Bentley’s ability to create a pinnacle convertible Grand Tourer while embodying elegance beyond compare.
"With this car we've combined the opulent Mulsanne experience with the full sensory indulgence of open-air touring, continuing to unite luxury and performance in new ways. We will ensure that this car - if it reaches the road – will be a highly exclusive, extremely limited, collectors' piece."
The wheels are also for collectors: the left and right rims are directionally-designed and "finished by hand before being polished to a high shine". Bentley adds that the design is intended to remind that hidden (shame for such a work of art - how about glass sides) under the bonnet is one helluvan engine.
BYE-BYE BOUNCY BOVINES
The BGC has a 6.75-litre, twin-turbo, V8 from the flagship Mulsanne that thunders out as near as darn it 400kW. Not that unusual today, but how about the torque...? 1100Nm, enough to get a Cape Town tugboat up on the plane.
Bentley - a real understatement this time - says the BGC "promises the luxury of effortless performance". Then comes back to the reality of the cabin (lounge? stateroom? luxury suite?) for which 14 very healthy and bouncy bovines gave their all to have their skins naturally (naturally?) tanned and turned into diamond quilting for the upholstery to cosset four adult ass... backsides.
The tonneau is another example of a Bentley trying to look like a cross between a speedboat and a luxury boat tender: it's covered in matched, mirror-finished, dark-stained burr walnut and described by Bentley as "the largest piece of wood veneer ever applied to a Bentley".
"Fashioned entirely by hand," the automaker says, "this expanse of veneer is only paralleled by the creations of the world’s best furniture-makers and is finished with elegant parallel lines of chromed steel."