Bentley Could Bring Back an Ultra-Luxury Convertible to Crush the Rolls-Royce Dawn

The brand is mulling a $1.5 million, Mulsanne-based droptop to rule the coastal highways.

byBen Keeshin| PUBLISHED May 25, 2016 12:00 PM
Bentley Could Bring Back an Ultra-Luxury Convertible to Crush the Rolls-Royce Dawn

Two years ago, at the LA Auto Show, Bentley showed a hunk of open-topped magnificence called the Grand Convertible. Essentially a Mulsanne minus two-doors and with a canvas roof instead of metal, it looked, like the Bentley Azure convertible that preceded it, like the perfect car for driving to the beach. Not because your current Bentley, just a few steps from your Malibu bungalow, is in any way lacking, but because sometimes it's fun to put on a show. Even moreso with the Mulsanne Sedan, a car so special it has a removable, chromed ashtray the size of a grapefruit; the Grand Convertible would therefore be a instrument of special occasions. But then, as happens, corporate leadership changed—CEO Wolfgang Dürheimer departed for Audi, and with him, energy for the project diminished. The Grand Convertible was shelved.

But now, Dürheimer is back. And apparently, that slab of al fresco elegance is back with him. According to remarks made to Car and Driver, Bentley is considering putting the convertible not into full production, but an extremely limited partial run. "Such a model would be built in [a batch of] 20 units and sold to absolute connoisseurs at a very high price," Dürheimer said. The estimate given was one million pounds, or almost $1.5 million. That's before any presumable sheik or athlete starts thumbing through Bentley's tome of an option book.

This news comes just as Rolls-Royce is ending production of what had been the world's premier luxury convertible, the Phantom Drophead Coupé. While RR is proffering the Dawn in its place, that car, though expansive, doesn't have the planet-like dimensions of its departing stablemate. Maybe now, with this tiny, artisanal batch of super-luxury, Bentley will claim the front valet spot at every Ritz-Carlton in the Caribbean.