Bentley has revealed the Bacalar developed by the company’s bespoke Mulliner division.
Taking cues from the extraordinary EXP100 GT concept revealed last year, the Bacalar comes at a time when Bentley is reshaping its line-up to focus more on its driver-centric cars.
The car’s unveiling had been due to take place at the 2020 Geneva Motor Show, which has been cancelled at very short notice due to ongoing concerns relating to the spread of Coronavirus.
The new car brings together some of the breathtaking features of 2019’s concept car of the year, and packages it in a Barchetta-style Coachbuilt convertible body that loosely echos the EXP 12 Speed 6e concept, revealed at Geneva in 2017.
Only twelve of these bespoke cars will be built, all pre-ordered and personalised to the customer’s tastes so they can be expected to fetch a tidy premium if they ever re-surface on the pre-owned market.
If you’re wondering about the name, that comes from Laguna Bacalar in Mexico, and further establishes Bentley’s modern-era naming convention started by the Bentayga SUV. It seems the company has broadened its sights from the corners and straights of historic racetracks, and is now picking out extraordinary and exotic landmarks around the world to reflect Bentley’s extraordinary and exotic clientele.
Speaking ahead of the reveal, Bentley boss, Adrian Hallmark spoke of the new suite of services the revised Mulliner Division will be responsible for. Summarised as Classic, Collections, and Coachbuilt, Mulliner will be tasked with bringing back classic models from the brand’s rich heritage, personalising existing models to client requirements, and coach-building one-off and limited edition vehicles.
He went on to say, “Our customers are as excited as we are about Bacalar, as it brings our team and discerning enthusiasts together, to create the finest bespoke, hand-built cars, and push the boundaries of our imagination and capabilities.”
Bentley was once celebrated as the stoic producer of old-fashioned, traditional British cars but the Bacalar is as avant-garde as anything to come out of the fragments of the 2020 Geneva Show. The attention to detail includes a cabin full of ethically-sourced materials, and it is the first new Bentley to emerge from Crewe since the company HQ was declared the world’s first carbon neutral luxury car factory.
With the company’s 6.0-litre W12 engine fitted, this promises to be an exciting car to drive, and is just as exciting to look at, with its roof-less design and muscular stance.
It is no coincidence that Hallmark’s new plan for Bentley is reminiscent of the strategy adopted at JLR during his time in the boardroom there. The Midland’s carmaker introduced the Classic Works and Special Vehicles divisions, offering a similar suite of services to the revived Mulliner division at Bentley – albeit a bit lower down the food-chain. In a Sunday Times interview, Hallmark described his time at the Midlands car-maker as the “perfect training” for running Bentley. We suspect his approach is far more suited to Bentley in many ways where customers have long-expected the level of customisation that Mulliner has now been given the freedom to of deliver.