Bentley talks a lot about “bespoke” — the customized elements done at the hands of its Mulliner division — but the newly unveiled Bentley Mulliner Bacalar takes the idea to a new level. This isn’t just a unique paint color or a special upholstery fabric or a fabricated housing for an owner’s pet ferret. It’s a completely custom-bodied automobile, one that transforms the Continental GT convertible into a restyled two-seat roofless barchetta, which takes its name from a lake in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.
Bentley claims that not a single exterior body panel from the Continental GT remains unchanged on the Bacalar, and the design is said to be inspired by last year’s EXP 100 GT concept. That show car was a coupe with scissor doors and an electric powertrain. The Bacalar is none of those things. But you can see some rub-off from the EXP 100 GT in the detailing, such as the horizontal lighting elements at the front and the rear. This example wears special Yellow Flame paint that incorporates the ash from burned rice husks as a more environmentally friendly way to create a metallic effect.
In the Bentley Mulliner Bacalar, the doors and fenders are made from carbon fiber, while the clamshell covering over the rear compartment is aluminum. The body panels feature additional air intakes, a double hump behind the front seats, and more pronounced rear haunches over the 20-mm wider rear track. There is no roof — presumably owners will drive one of their dozens of other cars if rain is predicted.
It would be a shame, after all, to let this interior get wet. The Bacalar’s cabin has just two seats, with a carved-out luggage hold behind each one that is specially designed to fit custom-matched bags made by Italian luggage maker Shedoni. The reworked center console angles up to meet the dash, which contains Bentley’s Rotating Display and a digital instrument cluster that differs from that of production Bentleys. The seats are upholstered in British wool together with two types of leather, and the wool elements also appear on the console and door panels. The wood trim — in both matte and gloss finishes — is sourced from 5,000-year-old trees harvested from rivers, lakes and peat bogs.
The 6.0-liter twin-turbocharged W-12 engine is massaged to the tune of 650 horsepower and 667 lb-ft of torque (versus 626 ponies and 664 lb-ft in the Conti GT). The W-12 is paired with an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and rear-biased all-wheel drive. The chassis features Bentley’s adaptive suspension and unique 22-inch wheels.
Bentley says 12 copies of the Bacalar will be built, each individually personalized with input from its buyer. The company did not elaborate on the degree of customization between them — presumably it’s along the lines of the traditional areas of colors and trim. And while those 12 cars are already spoken for, Bentley says that its Mulliner division will do more vehicles like this, in addition to its customizing of production vehicles and turning out continuation cars from Bentley’s past.