Regular Bentley simply not special enough for you? Fear not, in-house special products team Mulliner has your back! The name carries with it suitable gravitas, given associations with traditions of coachbuilding and bespoke luxury going back to a time before the automobile. Modern Mulliner, meanwhile, offers three levels of garnish to modern Bentley buyers, starting with branded options and trim levels to give your Bentayga, Continental GT or Flying Spur a little extra sparkle through to the next level of personalisation with special paints, upholsteries or extras for something truly unique. Through both routes it’s reckoned two in five new Bentleys now have Mulliner ‘content’ of some sort. Still not satisfied? The absolute pinnacle are the Mulliner coachbuilt specials, like ‘continuation’ models of the 1930s Blower and Speed Six, or ultra-limited edition cars like the Bacalar and its coupe successor, the Batur. At around £2m exclusivity doesn’t come cheap. But it does get you a very, very special car and, in style, a teaser for what the next generation of Bentleys will look like.
Reasons to buy:
You won’t see another
Spectacular last hurrah for petrol-engined Bentleys
“In this league purchase price and running costs are pretty abstract quantities”
Don’t worry if the starting price of £1.65m (before taxes or options) looks too steep – even if you had the money you couldn’t buy a Batur, on the basis Bentley is only making 18 of them and they’re all sold already. In this league purchase price and running costs are pretty abstract quantities anyway, on the basis anyone buying a Batur has likely already got a fleet of luxury limos and collectable supercars to choose from. And may not even drive it, on the basis the value is more the bragging rights of owning it, rather than using it. Don’t feel too bad, though. If you like what Mulliner does you can order the Continental GT on which the Batur is based with any level of customisation you want, up to and including the most extravagant combinations of finishes, interior fittings and colours you can think of. And still save over a million quid with change in the process!
Expert rating: 1/5
Reliability of a Bentley Batur
“The Batur is, mechanically at least, based on proven Bentley bits”
In the very unlikely event anything goes wrong with your Batur you can be assured Bentley will send someone to grovel at your feet, whisk it back to the factory and sort it out double quick. While putting you up in a suitably luxurious hotel and sorting a table at the most exclusive, multi Michelin starred restaurant in town. At a more practical level for all the bespoke trimmings and fancy materials the Batur is, mechanically at least, based on proven Bentley bits. And should be as reliable as anything carrying this most esteemed badge.
Expert rating: 4/5
Safety for a Bentley Batur
“All the safety kit you’d get on any modern Bentley is present and correct”
For all the giddy fun Rory had with the launch control in his video the idea of putting even a scratch on the paintwork of your Batur will probably encourage a more measured driving style. If not for the cost of repairing it – on the basis that won’t matter to most owners – but more for the indignity. All the safety kit you’d get on any modern Bentley is present and correct as well, and even when we drove it in absolutely filthy conditions on slippery autumnal roads it put its huge power down with utmost confidence and security. So, if you were mad enough to use it as your daily drive in all weathers you most certainly could do in total confidence.
Expert rating: 4/5
How comfortable is the Bentley Batur
“Everything from the perfect weighting to the controls to the expensive textures of anything you sit on or touch with your fingers serves to remind you of what a special car this is”
Shockingly we’re going to deduct a mark from what would otherwise be a top score for comfort on the basis the Batur has a deliberate edge to it compared with the Continental GT on which it is based. So, there’s no back seat, the exhaust is a little naughtier in its growl, the suspension feels a tad stiffer and there’s more roar from the tyres on poor surfaces. All things relative, though. This is still a Bentley, and everything from the perfect weighting to the controls to the expensive textures of anything you sit on or touch with your fingers serves to remind you of what a special car this is. Given every one will be uniquely trimmed to its owner’s specification it’s hard to make a meaningful judgement here as well, but the quilted seats of our spectacularly purple pre-production test car were exquisite in their texture and detail while buyers will be able to choose from a huge range of sustainably sourced trim materials. Options include leather from Scotland for both its quality and reduced carbon footprint of its transport to Bentley’s factory in Crewe and sustainable natural fibre (as opposed to carbon fibre) with bespoke etching as you desire. And pure gold for things like the vent controls and starter button? It doesn’t help with physical comfort. But if you have a taste for the finer things in life it sure as hell makes you feel good about yourself.
Expert rating: 4/5
Features of the Bentley Batur
“If we had to quibble slightly it would be on the fact that a lot of the switches are the same as found a Continental GT costing a tenth as much”
Another abstract score, on the basis the features of the Batur are basically anything you want them to be. If we had to quibble slightly it would be on the fact that a lot of the switches are the same as found a Continental GT costing a tenth as much. The answer to that is, of course, to throw more gold at the problem and even here Bentley makes a point about sustainability, given these parts come from recycled jewellery rather than freshly mined metal and then shaped through a combination of 3D printing and hand finishing by artisan specialists. The scope for adding further to the quality of the experience is always there, too, one example being a stereo system by Bentley partner Naim that costs as much as a regular hatchback. Sadly, it wasn’t fitted to the car we tested, but the Mulliner folk we spoke to assured us it’s worth every single penny.
Expert rating: 5/5
Power for a Bentley Batur
“The steering is both light and precise enough to make this monster of a car handle like a hot hatch and the sheer potency under your right foot is a thrill”
Although at the time of writing Bentley is the biggest producer of 12-cylinder motors in the industry it is on a fast track to full electrification of its range, making the Batur a last hurrah for a big, powerful petrol engine that has defined the brand for the last 20 years. Some last roll of the dice as well, the 6.0-litre powerhouse getting an entirely unnecessary but utterly glorious upgrade to 750 horsepower and 1,000Nm of torque, which it puts to the road with suitable vigour through all four wheels and an automatic gearbox. Fancy air suspension can be adjusted to your preferred level of firmness via the solid gold driving mode selector, the steering is both light and precise enough to make this monster of a car handle like a hot hatch and the sheer potency under your right foot is a thrill, even if you only tickle the throttle. The sound from the 3D-printed titanium exhaust tips is almost enough to have you switching off that fancy stereo, the cultured burble becoming steadily more exciting the closer the pedal goes to the carpet. The electric Bentleys that follow will likely be just as fast, probably more refined and definitely more eco conscious. But as the brand embarks on what it calls its third age this is a hell of a send-off for the big internal combustion engines that have characterised its previous two.