What would you rather have in your lap when you crash: an airbag, or bits of quartz?
Of all the things we never expected to encounter in an automotive interior, genuine stone probably tops the list - second only maybe to whale foreskin.
But Bentley's ultra-luxurious bespoke division, Mulliner, is no stranger to firsts, and indeed, the company has now added stone veneer to the extensive menu of options available to its exclusive, well-heeled clientele. The veneers are made from slate and quartzite, with four different colors available: Autumn White, Copper, Galaxy, or Terra Red. If you now find yourself wondering how much said stone veneer weighs, don't worry; at just a tenth of a millimeter thick, it can't be much. If, on the other hand, your concerns lie more with how safe stone veneer could possibly be in the event of an accident, we can't give you any insight. We're sure it's fine.
But that's not all that Mulliner has added to its dash veneer repertoire; the bespoke Bentley division now also offers open-pore wood, carbon fiber, aluminum, and color-matched paint. Granted, "open-pore wood" is a bit misleading; the wood veneers still have a matte protective coating to keep it from staining and discoloring with prolonged use, but that coating is thin enough that you can easily feel the grain. Wood choices include Dark Burr, Tamo Ash, and Liquid Amber, which is made from American Red Gum wood.
The rest of Mulliner's new dash veneer options are pretty straightforward. The carbon fiber option is simply gloss carbon fiber, using a resin that highlights the weave for a nice "pop" visual effect. Color-matched paint gives customers the option of selecting any one of Bentley's 88 exterior colors or opting for a paint that perfectly matches the leather upholstery. The aluminum option is visually stunning, with an intricate diamond brushed pattern that echoes the grille, but it's exclusive to the Bentley Bentayga - at least for now.
The Mulliner name has long roots within Bentley, initially as the coachbuilder that bodied many of Bentley's most striking early cars, before being purchased by Bentley's then-owner Rolls-Royce in 1959. Today, Mulliner has an expanded role within the company encompassing three different divisions: Mulliner Classic, Mulliner Coachbuilt, and Mulliner Collections.
If you're ready to put in an order for that sweet-looking stone veneer, you want the line for Mulliner Collections.