Could arrive in 2018 and cost in excess of $1 million

In 2012, Bentley showcased a teaser of a Mulsanne-based convertible at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, getting everyone excited about a successor to the stately and elegant Azure. Originally slated for low-volume production, the drop-top was cancelled a year later, when Wolfgang Durheimer was replaced by Wolfgang Schreiber as Bentley CEO. The model came back into focus at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show, where Bentley introduced the Grand Convertible concept, but Bentley declined rumors to turn it into a production model.

Come 2016 and a Mulsanne-based drop-top is again a possibility. That’s the word from Car and Driver, which claims that Durheimer’s return at the helm of the British brand will finally spawn a Bentley-badged competitor for the Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe. According to the source, the CEO is currently studying the possibility of having the Mulliner division built a small batch of only 20 convertibles that will be sold "to absolute connoisseurs at a very high price."

The publication goes on to speculate that the Mulsanne cabriolet will hit the market by 2018 and cost somewhere around £1 million, which converts to nearly $1.5 million. There’s no word as to what nameplate it will carry, but Azure seems to be the obvious choice if Bentley wants to make use of its rich heritage.

Continue reading for the full story.

Why it matters

One and a half million bucks is a lot of dough for a Mulsanne, but Bentley is the kind of brand that can get away with marketing schemes like this. The British firm knows that and, given the enormous interest the Grand Convertible Concept stirred at its official unveiling, it’s not surprising that the brand is gunning for such a limited production. And don’t let the huge price tag fool you, these luxury drop-tops will sell out in a matter of days and Bentley will most certainly receive orders for more than 20 cars. It’s this kind of strategy that keeps luxury manufacturers running at a profit and at the end of the day there’s nothing wrong with that. Judging by the release date, Bentley probably also wants to speculate the fact that the current Phantom Drophead Coupe will go out of production by the end of 2016, leaving the upcoming Mulsanne cabrio alone in this segment.

Bentley Mulsanne

2017 Bentley Mulsanne High Resolution Exterior
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Updated for the first time since its introduction in 2010, the Bentley Mulsanne gained revised exterior and interior features for the 2017 model year. Design highlights include a new front grille, all-LED headlamps, new B-shaped wings on the fenders, and new taillights. Inside, it boasts 13 new wood veneers, a unique glass gear shifter, and 24 hide colors in single or two-tone finishes. A new infotainment system was also added, together with 10.2-inch tablets for the rear passengers. Customers with a preference for being driven can opt for the Extended Wheelbase model, which has a 250 mm (9.8 inches) longer wheelbase to the benefit of rear-passenger legroom. In addition to the larger rear compartment, the Extended Wheelbase model also received airline-style leg rests that extend outward and pivot, and a bespoke console between the two rear seats. Motivation comes from the same 6.75-liter V-8 rated at 505 horsepower and 752 pound-feet, a number that has remained unchanged from last year’s model.

Read our full review on the Bentley Mulsanne here.

Bentley Grand Convertible Concept

2015 Bentley Grand Convertible Concept High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the Bentley Grand Convertible Concept here.

Source: CarAndDriver

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