The Bentley full-size drop-top is about to return as a limited-production model with a ludicrous price tag

Launched in 2010, the current Bentley Mulsanne replaced the dated Arnage in the company’s lineup and revived a nameplate the brand previously used between 1980 and 1992. At 5,575 mm (219.5 inches) in length, the Mulsanne is currently Bentley’s largest sedan, sitting above the Flying Spur. The most interesting fact about the Mulsanne is that it received a styling language of its own, being the only Bentley that’s not based on the Continental. Updated in 2013, the full-size sedan spawned several special edition models, as well as a performance-oriented Speed model.

Scheduled to remain on sale for at least three more years, the Mulsanne could soon receive a two-door convertible version. Such a model has been in the rumor mill since 2012 and gained more traction in 2014 when the Brits showcased the Grand Convertible concept. The much-anticipated production model was canceled in 2015 when Wolfgang Durheimer was replaced by Wolfgang Schreiber as Bentley CEO, but now that the former has return to the helm of the brand, the Mulsanne cabriolet is back on the drawing board.

Bentley has yet to make an official statement about it, but Durheimer recently told CarAndDriver that the Grand Convertible concept could be turned into a production car in Mulliner’s workshop. The luxury drop-top would be built in a limited batch and sold with a huge sticker compared to the sedan. Should that happen, Bentley will offer its first full-size convertible since the 2009, when the Arnage-based Azure was discontinued.

There’s no specific timetable for the Mulsanne convertible, but this gives us just enough time to take guesses upon what it may bring to the table. We also created a rendering to go with our speculative review below. Check it out and stay tuned for updates.

Continue reading to learn more about the Bentley Mulsanne Convertible.

Exterior

2015 Bentley Grand Convertible Concept High Resolution Exterior
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Note: Bentley Grand Convertible Concept pictured here.

Our rendering is obviously based on the Grand Convertible concept and the reasons for that are quite simple. First, should Bentley launch a Mulsanne convertible, it already has a running vehicle to work with and it would only take a few nips and tucks to transfer it from the museum into customers’ garages. Second, it’s simply gorgeous to look at the balanced design conforms that Bentley pondered a drop-top since it began working on the Mulsanne in the late 2000s.

The cabriolet will get the more stylish grille with the chrome frame and vertical slats

In transforming the Grand Convertible into a production car, our rendering artist replaced the concept’s front fascia, which is identical to the standard Mulsanne, with the one seen on the long-wheelbase sedan built by Mulliner for the 2017 model year. With the drop-top set to be designed by Bentley’s bespoke arm, we think that it will receive a similar front end, which will enable it to stand out next to the regular Mulsanne model. Specifically, the cabriolet will get the more stylish grille with the chrome frame and vertical slats. Down below, the grille that stretches from one corner to the other will be split in the middle by the lower extension of the main grille. These features will give the convertible a more striking and elegant stance.

Around back, the drop-top will most likely retain the Mulsanne’s familiar features, including the vertical taillights, the hunched trunk lid, and the chrome detailing in the bumper. When viewed from the sides, the convertible will be an entirely different car due the two-door configuration, the shorter wheelbase, and the more muscular rear fenders. The missing roof and the lower windscreen will also change the car’s appearance dramatically.

Interior

2015 Bentley Grand Convertible Concept Interior
- image 579545

Note: Bentley Grand Convertible Concept pictured here.

The interior configuration will probably mimic the sedan’s as well, but expect most of the features seen in the concept car to be transferred into the production model. As a refresher, the Grand Convertible had no fewer than 14 naturally leather hides, a unique diamond quilting layout on the seats and the door panels, and bright-blue inserts and Sequin Blue stitching. These colors will vary as Mulliner allows its customers to select from a comprehensive color palette. Other exquisite features should include dark-stained Burr walnut on the dashboard, upper door panels, and rear deck, as well as a unique instrument cluster and an array of bespoke elements that we will find out more about at the official launch. All told, the Mulsanne convertible will be one of the most luxurious and customizable Bentleys ever built.

Drivetrain

2015 Bentley Grand Convertible Concept Drivetrain
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Note: Bentley Grand Convertible Concept pictured here.

There is no doubt that the convertible will get its juice from the same twin-turbo, 6.75-liter V-8 engine offered in the Mulsanne four-door. However, we expect the Brits to use the beefed-up unit in the Mulsanne Speed, meaning output will sit at 530 horsepower and a massive 811 pound-feet of twist. That’s 25 horses and 59 pound-feet more than the standard sedan. Performance should be similar to the Mulsanne Speed sedan — 0 to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds toward a top speed of 190 mph. Although the two-door will be significantly shorter than the sedan, the convertible configuration will add just enough weight to keep the convertible from hitting the 60-mph benchmark faster. Still, it will be one of the quickest luxury drop-tops on the market.

Prices

It’s too early to talk about prices, but Durheimer said that the production model will be built in only 20 units and sold "to absolute connoisseurs at a very high price." Car And Driver claims that Bentley might ask around £1 million for one of these, which converts to around $1.4 million as of June 2016. That’s a lot of dough considering that the sedan starts from a little over $300,000. But, despite the ludicrous price tag, all 20 examples will probably sell in no time.

Competition

Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe

2011 Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe Exterior
- image 386518

Introduced in 2007, the Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe arrived just in time to compete against the then-new second-generation Bentley Azure. While the latter was discontinued in 2009, the Rolls soldiered on as the most luxurious convertible on the market. Much like the four-door Phantom, the Drophead Coupe comes with the finest high-grade leathers, the company’s latest technology, and a large amount of customization options, including no fewer than 44,000 exterior color combinations. Additionally, the company’s Bespoke division enables customers to create unique examples tailored to their own specifications.

The Phantom Drophead Coupe uses a 6.75-liter V-12 engine rated at 453 horsepower and 531 pound-feet of torque, which travels to the wheels through a ZF, eight-speed automatic transmission. The drivetrain enables the Drophead Coupe to hit 60 mph from a standing start in 5.7 seconds, before reaching a top speed of 149 mph. Although slower than the Bentley, the Rolls-Royce is significantly more affordable (sounds pretty weird, huh?), retailing from $435,000 before options. Take it to Bespoke for some unique features and the sticker jumps beyond the $500K mark, but that’s still far cry from the $1 million+ Bentley is expected to charge for the two-door Mulsanne.

On the other hand, the Phantom Drophead Coupe will be discontinued by the end of 2016 and it is not yet clear whether the next-generation model will arrive before the special-edition Bentley.

Find out more about the Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe here.

Conclusion

2019 Bentley Mulsanne Convertible Exterior Exclusive Renderings Computer Renderings and Photoshop
- image 678339

Bentley has been in desperate need of a full-size coupe ever since the Azure got canned, but various strategy changes within the company kept the Grand Convertible from being promoted from concept to production model. It’s been four years since Bentley unveiled the original sketches and it seems that the Mulsanne is finally going to ditch its rear doors and roof. Granted, the drop-top will be awfully expensive and only a handful of collectors and wealthy people will be able to buy one, but this kind of strategy is quite common among luxury manufacturers. Given that the Mulsanne convertible will probably arrive before the next-gen Phantom Drophead Coupe, Bentley will have plenty of time to speculate the absence of a proper competitor and sell the entire production run with little effort.

  • Leave it
    • Ludicrous price tag
    • Very limited production run and availability
    • You can by any Rolls-Royce for a lot less
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