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Bentley Batur Convertible: This is what £2 million looks like?

Bentley Batur Convertible

The final W12-powered convertible from Bentley has lots of imposing stats, none more so than its price. Ken Pearson wonders whether it’s worth it.

Two million pounds. That’s how much each Batur Convertible is expected to cost, once customers have personalised their limited-edition car to their exacting tastes. I assure you, dear reader, that isn’t a typo. The Batur is Bentley’s final convertible application for the venerable 6.0-litre twin-turbo W12 engine before production ends this summer and it certainly looks like an impressive setting to close this particular chapter of Bentley’s engine history, but does it look like it’s worth £2 million?

At first glance, I’m not so sure. The Batur is a model made by Bentley’s in-house Mulliner coachbuilding division. The name has been applied to an extensive customisation programme for years but more recently the name returned to its coachbuilding roots by creating ultra-exclusive models based on the Bentley Continental GT. It started with the roofless Bacalar in 2022 which was followed by the Batur coupe of 2023. Both preceding models cost over £1 million and while it was clear to see why with the Bacalar, I struggled to see it with the Batur.

Styling-wise, it’s clear what car this is based on; everything from the shape and placement of the grille, front bumper inserts, high-level character line and blistered rear wheel arches look - to the untrained eye at least - like the Continental GTC. That’s not an insult, but the Continental GTC starts at around £200,000, or 10% of the cost of the Batur.

Bentley Batur Convertible

It is said that the Batur previews the styling of future Bentley models so we’d better get used to the tall and wide square-shaped grille, two headlights as opposed to four, and a more tapered rear end than we have yet to see on production Bentleys. Speaking of the rear end, there’s no confusing its origin here; the narrow light clusters draw inspiration from those at the front but now feature three individual LEDs that get wider towards the centre.

Rather than an overly fussy diffuser design, the rear bumper features just one downwards strake in the centre, with clean bodywork extending away from it in both directions. Two large trapezoid exhaust outlets are mounted at the outer edges. The highlight for me is the integrated ducktail spoiler which takes a design trick usually used for bonnets and applies it to the boot lid; a line on either side of the car raises up and creates an elevated section for the ducktail spoiler to emerge from. Think of it as a power dome for the boot lid - I like it a lot, even if I don’t think the rear-end design matches up perfectly with the front end.

Could it be that the true differentiators lay within? Well…not really. Again, at first glance, the cabin of the Batur Convertible still looks rather familiar. The interior looks like a wonderful place to be with the mixture of wood, leather and intricate metal trim. The three-piece rotating dashboard can show the infotainment system, three analogue dials or a continuation of the interior trim at the touch of a button - it’s still one of the coolest interior items I’ve ever seen and flies in the face of the race to fit ever larger screens inside passenger cars.

Bentley Batur Convertible
Bentley Batur Convertible

Indeed, Bentley also gives a Great British two-fingered salute to the removal of physical buttons for car controls; by the looks of it there is no need to sift through multiple infotainment menus to adjust things like the air conditioning, heated seats, driving mode or to operate the fabric soft top which takes just 19 seconds to fully open or close and can be done at speeds of up to 30 mph. Strangely, the Batur Convertible is a strict two-seater and although it looks large enough to offer seating for four, this isn’t the case.

The designers opted to give the car a wraparound cockpit - closer to a two-seater like a Porsche Boxster -and this is something that I’m onboard with. I much prefer two-seat convertible cabins over more open four-seat interiors - I’d put that down to spending so much of my life in SLKs.

This effect has been achieved with a cowling that covers the rear of the cabin and there is a rather lovely trim element called the “airbridge” that sits above it. The area below the cowling can be used as an extra storage space and no doubt, there will be specially made luggage available. The thing is, unlike with the roofless Bacalar, the covered rear section on this four-seater(based) convertible just doesn’t look quite right to my eyes - have a look at the Aero Cowling for the Rolls Royce Dawn and you’ll see what I mean.

Bentley Batur Convertible
Bentley Batur Convertible

So after all that, there are still lots of similarities in terms of exterior and interior design, so what about under the skin? The 6.0 litre biturbo W12 that made its debut with Bentley in 2003 appears for the final time in a convertible with the Batur. In this setting, it makes 739 bhp and 737 lb ft (1,000 Nm) which it sends to all four wheels through an 8-speed twin-clutch transmission. In the 21 years since its introduction, the W12 engine has become almost 40% more powerful while simultaneously being 25% more efficient. Performance figures haven’t been quoted, but we can expect a 0-62 mph sprint in around 3.5 seconds and a top speed of over 200 mph.

So at first glance, it’s easy to wonder how on earth something with styling, an interior and drivetrain that we have all seen before can cost £2 million - and I still do - but I think the reasoning is actually hidden in plain sight with the Batur: it’s all in the detail. The orange car that you see is the prototype for the 16-car build run and it is a fabulous showcase of the intricacies of customisation that are possible for the model.

Bentley Batur Convertible

The orange hue - called Vermillion - has a gloss finish on the bonnet and windscreen frame, but matte on the rest of the car. The grille has inserts that are dark in the centre before becoming bright orange at the outer edges. The 22” wheels feature orange detailing to match and the airbridge continues this theme.

The drive mode selector that surrounds the engine start/stop button is made from 3D-printed rose gold and has the same pattern on the outer edge as the grille; this is continued on the leather upholstery for the seats, door cards and rear storage area. Vermillion orange runs from door to door across the base of the dashboard and underscores the personalised pattern that can be placed above.

Every single surface that you see - inside and out - can be finished in any colour and, like the Vermillion prototype, any combination of textures too. Hand-painted graphics can be specified for the exterior although I’m not sure how well Bentley would receive the request for my face to be applied to the bonnet.

Bentley Batur Convertible

Customisation is desirable and the simple fact of the matter is that people will pay for things that they want. Rolls Royce have had their Bespoke programme for years, offering high degrees of personalisation that range from bespoke colours to one-off cars like the magnificent Sweptail. There’s a huge post-sale market for car customisation, brought about by lots of manufacturers limiting the options available to buyers, so it’s no surprise that brands like Bentley are using cars like the Batur Convertible to show what can be done in-house to take back some of that market.

Customisation going hand-in-hand with exclusivity is another characteristic of the Batur Convertible that guarantees its current and future value: there will only ever be 16 examples of the car, all powered by the last batch of engines that defined the brand’s rebirth under Volkswagen’s ownership.

If I had £2 million to spend on a roadster, would I be banging down the door at Crewe and placing an order? No - I’d buy an Audi R15 TDI Le Mans Prototype and road-legalise it, but that’s just me. However, I think there is more to the Batur Convertible than just being seen as a re-bodied and re-trimmed Continental GTC with an incredible price tag: there’s a reason that a Singer or a BRABUS costs more than the Porsche or Mercedes-Benz that it is based on, and that reason is hyper-personalised attention to detail.


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