It also shows us Bentley's new design language, which will be used on future products.
How do you follow up on the Bentley Bacalar, a modern coachbuilt classic from the hallowed halls of Bentley's Mulliner division? Meet the all-new Bentley Mulliner Batur, the second bespoke project from the Mulliner department, and a car that simultaneously signifies the end of one era at Bentley and the start of another - albeit in two completely different facets.
That's because this is both a goodbye to the Bentley W12 engine and a preview of the ultra-luxury brand's future design direction.
While Bentley made 12 Bacalars, the Batur won't be as exclusive. That's because Bentley has upped production numbers by half a dozen for a total of 18 of these bespoke coupes. Unfortunately for us peasants, every Batur is already spoken for. That means Bentley found 18 people willing to hand over $1.95 million (before taxes and options) before even seeing the car.
Effectively based upon the same chassis as the Bentley Continental GT Speed, this is more poignant purely for what it stands for going forward, as its design DNA will guide Bentley forward not just through the end of its combustion era, but into the electric age.
Like the Bacalar, the Batur is named after a natural body of water. Lake Batur is situated on the island of Bali, Indonesia - a stunning place that is easily a match for the French Riviera.
The automotive namesake is perhaps not traditionally beautiful, at least not in typical Bentley terms, as it eschews classic hallmarks of the brand's contemporary design like split round headlight clusters in favor of a new, more organic shape. It also showcases a new grille, one which houses the Bentley 'Flying B' within its framework.
While the Batur is a glimpse at the future, it also reflects on an essential part of Bentley's past - combustion. Bentley will soon retire the W12, so what better way to celebrate than equipping the Batur with the most powerful version of the W12 to date?
The W12 under the hood of the Batur produces 730 hp and 738 lb-ft. It will be the most vocal of the lot, unleashing the sounds of internal combustion into the atmosphere via a titanium sports exhaust. Compared to the Continental GT Speed, which was the most powerful until the Batur came along, its W12 "only" produces 650 hp and 664 lb-ft. The improvement is courtesy of a new intake system, upgraded turbos, new intercoolers, and revised engine mapping.
As usual, the power will be sent to all four wheels via an eight-speed double-clutch transmission. Bentley did not provide claimed performance figures, but we're willing to bet it will likely be the quickest and fastest of the lot.
The Batur is about more than just grunt, however. Bentley claims the Batur will be its most dynamic coupe to date, featuring adaptive three-chamber air springs, a 48-volt electric active anti-roll control system, and an electronic limited-slip differential (eLSD) all inherited from the Continental GT Speed.
The electric anti-roll system can provide up to 960 lb-ft of anti-roll torque in 0.3 seconds or completely decouple the wheels at either end of each axle. It can also be used to adjust the roll stiffness front to rear. We experienced this tech in the Speed and particularly enjoyed how it could provide fantastic front-end bite while livening up the rear when needed.
Bentley's new eLSD vectors drive torque across the chassis, and it's helped along by a brake-based torque vectoring system.
It sounds like a proper riot, and thankfully it has massive brakes to keep you from scraping the roof. Bentley's Carbon-Silicon-Carbide braking system is standard, with massive 17.3-inch discs in the front and 16 inches at the rear. It has ten-piston calipers at the front and four at the back, housed within specially designed 22-inch wheels shod in Pirelli rubber.
But enough about the performance and more about the design that will hugely impact Bentley's future.
According to Bentley's head of exterior design, Andreas Mindt, his team reimagined Bentley's design language, keeping some continuity from the past and present but not forgetting to change critical elements drastically.
"The design of a modern Bentley should always be potent, inspirational, and harmonious. The form has to be strong and muscular whilst remaining graceful. The term we use is resting beast stance," said Mindt.
The new design includes an endless bonnet which gives the car a long and lean appearance. The visual mass has also been moved to the rear, and the famous grille now sits lower and more upright. The latter provides a more dominant face and a dominant stance. In short, the front of the car still shouts, "move out of my way, poor person." Our quote, not Bentley's.
Aerodynamic tweaks include a front splitter, side skirts, and rear diffuser, which can be manufactured from either carbon fiber or a new natural fiber composite - likely the same flax composite that corporate sibling Porsche has used before.
The details like the window surrounds can be specced in bright or dark finishes, and the Mulliner pain specification will even cater to your desire for hand-painted graphics to truly stand out. The wheels - a unique five-spoke design - can be finished bright or dark, or even paint-matched to the bodywork.
The car you see here - showcased at the Monterey Car Week for the first time - has been specced in Bonneville Pearlescent Silver to underscore its flowing proportions, with carbon fiber accouterments and Black Crystal details. The bold new grille showcases Gloss Dark Titanium for the matrix accented by Hyperactive Orange contrast chevrons.
You can't talk about a new Bentley and not mention the interior. As you'd expect, it's luxury at its finest and highly customizable. The big news is Bentley's move over to sustainable materials, including low-carbon leather sourced from Scotland. Bentley is not giving up on genuine leather just yet, but the cows will now travel much shorter distances to get to the place where cows are turned into leather. If you don't want any cows to be harmed, Bentley now offers Dinamica suede-like material.
The interior of the car you see here is finished in Beluga hide with Hyperactive Orange contrast panels and Hotspur trim. In this car, the interior veneers are gloss black painted and completed with a piece of art. The laser-etched sound wave you see represents the unique sound generated by the W12 engine, but you can choose any number of trims, including natural fiber weave.
The other details are equally as extraordinary, as Bentley offsets recycled yarn carpets with 3D-printed organ stops in 18-karat gold.
While all 18 examples are already spoken for, Bentley will be curating the design of each with each customer, with the assistance of Mulliner's in-house design team. The first deliveries are expected to begin in mid-2023.
"The Batur is a significant car for Bentley," says CEO Adrian Hallmark. "Far more than the heir to the successful Bacalar, the Batur showcases the design direction that we're taking in the future as we develop our range of BEVs." Hallmark describes the W12 powerhouse as "easily the most successful twelve-cylinder automotive engine in history," telling us how this was an ideal way to mark its achievements.