Writing an ode to a roofless car, as the rain lashes against the window and it’s brass monkey weather outside, might seem a bit strange, but the Bentley Bacalar doesn’t really ‘do’ normal. It’s a £1.5 million, 12-run barchetta that’s been designed to showcase exactly what Bentley’s Mulliner division can do in terms of personalisation and with inclement weather very much off menu.
It’s certainly quite the mission statement. Even driving it on a windswept Bedford autodrome, with a thick coat on for warmth, couldn’t detract from the specialness of it. The detail changes inside are predictably gorgeous – the 5000-year old river wood veneer is deliciously tactile even by Bentley’s standards, with its open-pore finish – but the real drama is reserved for outside.
Every panel is unique to the Bacalar, with unique lights, ally rear clamshell and top deck, and carbonfibre panels elsewhere. In fact, the only parts that are common to both the standard Continental GT and this are the door handles and badge. Just imagine the tooling costs of gearing up for this, for a run of only 12 cars. No wonder the car costs upwards of £1.5 million (apparently, a “significant proportion” will end up costing near £2m by the time all the extra personalisation is added in).
Hardware tweaks aren’t as dramatic. Power from the W12 engine is up slightly (650bhp versus 626bhp), but torque remains the same at 664lb ft and the chassis is identical to a regular GT’s, save for a 20mm-wider rear track. Handily, this saves on expensive crash tests because the hard points are unchanged for homologation purposes.