Bentley Hypes New Mulsanne Convertible Concept

The Mulsanne Convertible Concept will be based on powerboats, if it's every actually built.

John Scott Lewinskiby John Scott Lewinski

It’s a pretty significant and potentially annoying boast when an automaker claims to have made the world’s most elegant convertible. The problem is the company that made that boast most recently might just be able to do it.

Bentley recently marched out the new Mulsanne Convertible Concept – serving a distant sneak peak at what the ultra-luxury car creator will be selling in the years to come.

The Mulsanne Convertible made its debut at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 2009 (the annual reunion of luxury and supercar builders and owners that fills the Montery Bay area every year). This convertible version of the Grand Touring Bentley – or at least this suggested vision of  what the car will be – looks to combine what Bentley describes as (…And they say it only as Bentley could say it…) “coach-built elegance and hand-crafted luxury.”

More importantly, Bentley promises to pack extreme British power with a new power plant.

Of course, by definition, a concept car isn’t something that actually exists – at least not on the roads. It drives only on an engineer’s table until they build a one-off version of the car that might be built one day. So, every spec Bentley tosses out on the Mulsanne Convertible lives next door to Fred Rogers in the Land of (Very Expensive) Make Believe.

With this particular pile of maybes and ifs, the Mulsanne Convertible Concept promises to be “the world’s most elegant and sophisticated convertible, providing a supremely powerful and refined luxury grand touring experience for four adults.” I think Bentley threw the “four adults” part just to make it seem more of a family expense.

With its typical mix of British understated lines and international luxury, the Mulsanne Convertible Concept promises to pack every up-to-the-minute tech feature a luxury car can have – paired with Bentley’s most powerful 12-cylinder power plant. Of course, if and when the Mulsanne Convertible Concept is forged in the flesh (or metal), Bentley might’ve transitioned to a turbo-charged V8 – as the other supercar companies are moving away from the monster V12s.

The current top of the Bentley performance line is a Continental GT Speed with a 6 liter, 48-valve, four-cam, twin turbocharged W12 engine. It generates a brutal 616 horsepower and a 0-60 time of 4 seconds – numbers rarely seen in anything resembling a luxury car. In fact, it’s surprising to learn that Bentley is now the world’s largest producer of V12 engines.

While Bentley’s aspiring sports cars tend to look a little swollen and overly squat, the Mulsanne Convertible would take its lines from some of the automaker’ luxury heritage vehicles, like the 3-liter of the 1920s, the Park Ward S1 Drophead Coupe of the 1950s, the Corniche and the Azure.

Inside, the big cabin of the Mulsanne Convertible is inspired by powerboats. Seriously. That’s how Bentley puts it – “luxurious, high-performance power boats.”

Now, time will tell if Bentley actually builds this stately, massively powerful boat of a car. But you don’t have to wait to know you won’t be able to afford it.