If the Bentley Grand Convertible gets the green light for production, it will be as a direct result of customer demand; Bentley’s official line is that it’s awaiting the response from prospective owners. So if the idea of a four-seat, bespoke open tourer powered by Bentley’s mighty 6 ¾-litre V8 appeals to you then tell our sales team, and we’ll pass the word on to Crewe.
First shown at the LA Motor Show in November 2014, the Grand Convertible concept travelled eastwards to Art Miami in December. Both cities are key markets for large, luxurious convertibles though Britain, too, is enthusiastic about open-air motoring. Bentley’s official line is that the Grand Convertible will be put into production if customer response is enthusiastic, but only as an exclusive, limited production collectors’ piece.
Bentley has a long heritage of grand and luxurious convertibles, from recent models such as the Azure back to earlier iterations such as the Bentley Corniche of the late 1970s. The Grand Continental is clearly based upon the Mulsanne four-door, but its wheelbase is shorter, which gives it better proportions for a two-door convertible.
With the fabric hood down, all of Crewe’s craftsmanship in wood and leather is on show. It takes 14 naturally-tanned and flawless hides to make the upholstery, which features progressive diamond quilting. On the show car this is in Linen with contrast stitching in Sequin Blue to harmonise with the two-tone exterior finish. Equally eye-catching is the tonneau cover, created using the largest piece of veneer ever to appear in a Bentley and finished with parallel strips of chromed steel. The effect is sensuous, hedonistic, indulgent…and irresistible.
Generally, convertibles require additional strengthening to compensate for the lack of roof, so even though the Grand Convertible has a shorter wheelbase than the Mulsanne, it may not be much lighter. That’s hardly relevant as the twin-turbo 6 ¾-litre V8 (which it shares with the Mulsanne Speed) produces 530bhp and 1,100Nm of torque, delivering a tidal wave of power at almost any engine speed.
Although no technical details of the Grand Convertible have been released, the Mulsanne Speed’s cosseting air suspension offers Comfort, Bentley and Sport modes and there’s no reason to suppose the Grand Convertible won’t be similarly equipped.