Luxury British motor manufacturer Bentley is taking advantage of the relaxed European travel regulations by making the French resort of St-Tropez the venue for the unveiling of its new, special-edition Continental GT Mulliner Convertible.
An even more extravagant version of the existing GTC rag-top, it’s described by the company as “the luxury pinnacle of the Continental GT family” and is the first in a forthcoming portfolio of Bentleys to be given a thoroughgoing massage by the company’s bespoke coachbuilding and personalising operation, Mulliner.
Distinguished from lesser Contis by its exclusive silver-on-black “double-diamond” front grille, a motif that’s also continued throughout the car’s interior, the Mulliner’s exterior also features headlamps inspired by cut crystal and side vents carrying a similar theme, as well as newly designed 22-inch wheels. Buyers also have a choice of 88 “standard” Mulliner paint colours, though with bespoke finishes available in virtually any shade you like, the sky is more or less the limit.
It’s on the car’s hand-built interior, however, that most of Mulliner’s efforts are concentrated, from the choice of 88 piano-finished wood veneers (with Grand Black Walnut standard) to the diamond-stitched quilting (with some 440,000 stitches to a single car) that appears on the seats, door facings and even the tonneau cover. Moreover, the luxurious leather upholstery is available in a choice of eight three-colour combinations, while the centre console receives a diamond-milled technical finish in addition to an exclusive Breitling clock with a brushed-metallic face and jewelled hour markers.
Among the other cabin features are a standard 18-speaker Naim sound system with twin active bass transducers that’s driven by a 2,000-watt amplifier, a mood-lighting system with seven themes, illuminated Mulliner tread plates and door-mirror-mounted LED welcome lights that project the Bentley logo on to the ground as you enter.
After all that, the availability of two familiar powertrains – 6-litre, twin-turbo V12 or 4-litre twin-blown V8 – seems almost unexceptional, not that anyone’s likely to complain about the Continental Mulliner’s ability to get up and go. W12-powered versions will hit 100km/h from a standstill in just 3.8 seconds and max out at 333, with V8 models just marginally slower. We think, though, that this ultra-posh Conti will be most in its element in the very place that Bentley is launching it, with the Mediterranean sun glazing down on its fortunate occupants as it cruises the boulevards and corniches of southern France.