Designed by Bentley’s bespoke coachbuilding division, the Mulliner Driving Specification was created in direct response to customer demand for a more overtly sporting character to the Continental GT.
The new Mulliner Driving Specification is the first significant product development for the Continental GT since its launch. The new package also marks the first occasion that Bentley Mulliner, the world’s most respected coachbuilder, has been able to demonstrate its unique skills on the Continental GT.
The Mulliner Driving Specification will be available to Bentley Continental GT customers as a complete package and is designed to enhance the sporting appearance of the car by introducing contemporary materials and tones to the already exquisite cabin.
‘When the Continental GT was first launched we intentionally made more of a grand touring statement in terms of its visual feel, especially inside the car. The GT has proved to be an unequivocal sales success around the globe. However, some potential buyers have demanded the Continental GT reflects a more overtly sporting character, so the Mulliner Driving Specification was the obvious next step,’ said Robin Page, head of interior design, Bentley Motors.
To fulfill those requests for a more sporting character, the new package includes 20-inch two-piece alloy sports wheels, drilled alloy sports pedals, a new gearlever with knurled top and aluminium surround, diamond-quilted hide for the seats, doors and rear quarter panels, indented hide for the roof
headlining, embroidered ‘Bentley wing’ seat emblems and a choice of piano black or dark-stained burr walnut veneer.
The mighty Bentley Arnage T seemed like the perfect place to start when Bentley Mulliner’s design team considered how to create a Continental GT with a more sporting appearance. The Arnage T’s use of diamond quilted hides and aluminium trim options to the pedals and facia gives it a distinct and purposeful look – a powerful representation of the Bentley theme.
Those same materials are used to make the Mulliner Driving Specification the most contemporary Bentley yet. Bold, two-tone leather and dark veneer combinations give the car a modern yet distinct feel, much like a fashionable driving watch. By combining heavily lacquered, dark veneers with lighter seat leathers, the Continental GT’s interior becomes a place of intent and focus. The use of dark woods also acts as a helpful contrast to the beautiful, jewellery-like switchgear and brighter trim that is introduced with the Mulliner Driving Specification.
‘Creating a different feel is as much about the tactile nature of a car’s interior as producing a stunning overall design. When people hold a beautifully created, handmade steering wheel or rest their feet on drilled alloy pedals, it’s those little touches that combine to give a really big overall impression,’ continued Page.
Even the appearance and feel of the beautiful leather hides used for the Continental GT have not escaped the attentions of the Bentley Mulliner design team. Diamond quilting has been applied to the seat cushions and squabs in both the front and rear as well as the door and rear quarter panels. This diamond pattern is a classic Bentley performance cue and is as much a nod to the heritage of this great sporting marque as it is the perfect design tool for the Mulliner Driving Specification.
The hides used to line the cabin headlining have also been given a distinctive addition in the form of embossed indentation. This look, much like the back of the iconic leather driving glove, is another subtle reference to the car’s potential. Simple devices though they are, both the fluting and hide indentation have specific purposes, as Robin Page explains:
‘The Mulliner Driving Specification has a slightly different flute pattern to the Arnage T. In the Arnage T we use a squarer diamond shape, but in the Continental GT it is a more recognisable ‘playing card’ diamond. If you look closely you will see that the diamond is reflected in the knurled texture we have applied to the new gearlever and they have tremendous impact when you put them together,’ said Page.
A final visual aid to help create that unmistakable sporting presence is the introduction of a new 20-inch two-piece alloy sports wheel to replace the standard 19-inch versions currently available on the Continental GT. This seven-spoke rim has a combination of chrome and silk finishes while retaining the distinctive ‘Bentley Motors’ hub.
The new two-piece sports wheels also wear a brand new tyre created exclusively for the larger rim. Designed on behalf of Bentley by Yokohama, the Advan Sport 275/35 R20 tyre provides significant benefits for drivers looking for even sportier handling and improved steering feel and response.
The culmination of an intensive development programme carried out by both Bentley and Yokohama engineers, the new tyre has a lower sidewall that provides sharper turn-in feel and precision. The Advan Sport manages to deliver increased performance without noticeable reduction in overall ride quality, meaning drivers will continue to enjoy the unparalleled luxury of a Continental GT and now benefit from its increased sporting characteristics.
The new range of individual Bentley Mulliner options for the Continental GT brings the unparalleled craftsmanship of the Mulliner coachbuilding division to every customer. This year marks the 80th anniversary of HJ Mulliner’s first commission for Bentley Motors and since then the Mulliner name has established itself as the world’s leading creator of coachbuilt cars.
Now Mulliner options can be specified individually for the 2005 model year Continental GT, meaning customers can create individual statements with every car ordered. The new range consists of a beautiful Mulliner alloy fuel cap with a Bentley ‘B’ badge and knurled finish for improved grip, that mirrors the interior switchgear design cues.
To provide added visual appeal to the seats and door panels, exquisite contrast and cross-stitching is being introduced. For single-tone interiors a list of approved thread colours is available. For two-tone interiors, thread for the main hide is matched to the secondary hide and vice versa.
To complement the new dark veneers and alloy trim of the Mulliner Driving Specification, aluminium facia panels can be ordered to replace the veneer on the instrument panel and centre console. Bentley Mulliner has designed these beautifully crafted panels to be combined with dark veneers and a single tone interior throughout the rest of the cabin, allowing the aluminium to make a full visual impact.
Two premium wood veneers – Vavona and Olive Ash – can be specified through the optional Mulliner range, as well as the choice of lambswool rugs or deep-pile carpet mats with hide trimming to provide added comfort and protection to the footwells.
Price this car:
MSRP: $159,990 – $159,990
Invoice: not available yet
Source: Bentley Press Release