Autofocus: 2023 Bentley Batur Mulliner

Bentley Motors announced today the launch of the 2023 Bentley Batur Mulliner, an exclusive two-door grand touring coupé limited to just 18 units. This model marks the initiation of a design revolution within Bentley, showcasing a fresh design DNA under the creative direction of Andreas Mindt, the Director of Design. The Batur sets the tone for Bentley’s upcoming Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) range.

Crafted by Mindt and his team, the Batur represents a departure from conventional design and serves as a precursor to the future of Bentley’s electric vehicle lineup. This limited edition, part of Bentley’s in-house bespoke and coachbuilding division, Mulliner, follows the success of the Bentley Bacalar. The Batur, like its predecessor, derives its name from a picturesque natural water body—Lake Batur, an 88-meter deep, 16 km² crater lake in Kintamani, Bali, Indonesia.

Promising to be Bentley’s most potent vehicle yet, the Batur boasts a 740+ PS version of the iconic 6.0-liter twin-turbocharged W12 engine, meticulously hand-assembled. This marks a celebratory tribute to the W12’s exceptional power, torque, and refinement over the last two decades, as Bentley progresses toward full electrification in its Beyond100 transformation.

The Batur’s performance is complemented by the most advanced Bentley chassis to date, featuring Speed-tuned air suspension, electric active anti-roll control, eLSD, four-wheel steering, and torque vectoring. All 18 units of the Batur have already been spoken for, with each customer participating in a collaborative design process guided by Mulliner’s in-house team.

Customers can personalize every aspect of their Batur, from color to finish, resulting in a truly unique and bespoke vehicle. The handcrafting process occurs at Mulliner’s workshop within Bentley’s carbon-neutral factory in Crewe, England, with anticipated deliveries commencing in mid-2023.

Unveiled at Bentley’s Signature Party during Monterey Car Week, the Batur garnered attention from nearly 500 VIP guests. Adrian Hallmark, Bentley’s Chairman and Chief Executive, emphasized the significance of the Batur, not just as a successor to the Bacalar but as a design beacon for Bentley’s future BEV lineup. Hallmark praised the collaborative co-creation experience for the fortunate 18 customers and highlighted the Batur as a testament to Mulliner’s growth and the demand for uniquely tailored vehicles that embody Bentley’s signature blend of luxury and performance.

A Design Revolution

The visionary design of the Bentley Mulliner Batur is the result of the creative collaboration led by Bentley’s Director of Design, Andreas Mindt, alongside his accomplished team, including Head of Exterior Design, Tobias Suehlmann, and Head of Interior Design, Andrew Hart-Barron. This team, renowned for shaping the iconic Continental GT, Flying Spur, and Bentayga families, has undertaken a revolutionary approach for the Batur, introducing fresh themes, innovative approaches, and intricate details that redefine Bentley’s design DNA. This evolution aligns with Bentley’s commitment to sustainability and forms a pivotal chapter in the brand’s Beyond100 transformation towards becoming a global leader in sustainable luxury mobility.

The Batur serves as a preview, offering a glimpse into the design principles that will steer the development of Bentley’s inaugural Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV), scheduled for release in 2025, as well as the subsequent car families.

Andreas Mindt elucidates the design philosophy:

“For any design team, the opportunity to redefine our own rules is the most exhilarating challenge. We have reimagined the Bentley design language, preserving certain elements from the past and present while fundamentally altering key aspects.

“The design of a contemporary Bentley must exude potency, inspiration, and harmony. It should possess strength and muscularity while retaining grace – a synthesis of elegant flow and robustness. We refer to this as the ‘resting beast stance’ – envision a lion or tiger, poised low in an attack position in tall grass. That commanding shape – the epitome of power at rest, appearing fast even when stationary – inspires our reinterpretation of the classic Bentley power line and haunch.

“A hallmark of power and prestige has always been a lengthy bonnet. Our fresh design cues feature a line extending from the bonnet throughout the car’s length, integrating the bonnet into the body, creating a long and lean profile, and bestowing an elongated proportion to the front end. This distinctive attribute, known as the ‘endless bonnet,’ stands as the sole accent highlight to the cleaner shape. Simultaneously, the visual mass of the car is shifted rearward, creating the illusion that the car is seated on the rear axle, enhancing the depth of the haunches.

“At the forefront of the car, we have modernized the renowned Bentley grille, lowering it and making it more upright, bestowing a more robust countenance and a commanding presence. This upright elegance exudes self-assurance with a luxurious posture. Flanking the grille are novel headlight shapes, an evolution of the design seen on the Bacalar, maintaining the single large headlight on each side. Complementing these are entirely new tail-lamps at the rear, positioned on either side of a deployable spoiler.

“In essence, the form is more refined and simplified, relying on gracefully contoured surfaces strategically divided to play with light and shadow, infusing more strength into the design.”

The Next Exceptional Mulliner Project

The Batur stands as the rightful heir and successor to the Bentley Bacalar, the exclusive 12-unit Barchetta design that marked the revival of coachbuilding at Mulliner. Mulliner, having demonstrated proficiency in delivering intricate projects like the Bacalar and the Blower Continuation Series—the world’s inaugural continuation of a pre-war car—melds revived coachbuilding skills with multi-generational craftsmanship for the meticulous construction of the 18 Baturs, each crafted entirely by hand.

Paul Williams, the Director of Mulliner, expresses:

“With Bacalar, we showcased our clients’ appetite for genuinely bespoke and individual Bentleys. We are extending that narrative with the Batur, and the fact that all 18 cars are already spoken for attests to the fact that our design team is creating cars that our clients eagerly desire. The Batur is not just a stunning handcrafted Bentley; it is the latest addition to a distinguished lineage of cars coachbuilt by Mulliner, which includes W.O. Bentley’s favorite, the 8 Litre, and the now-iconic R-Type Continental.”

Mulliner’s in-house design team engages in a collaborative process with each Batur customer, spending several hours using a specially crafted Mulliner visualizer. This tool allows customization of every aspect of the car, from color to surface finish. The process includes a plethora of samples featuring unique materials, infusing texture into the design. The resulting designs are truly individual, limited only by the customer’s imagination. From the primary exterior paint to the finishing touch on air vents and every minute detail in between, each customer has the opportunity to specify their preferences.

Transforming these personalized designs into reality involves Mulliner’s team of automotive artisans, who bring each Batur to life through a painstaking process spanning several months for each car. The use of handcrafted materials and an array of exceptional colors ensures that every Batur is a unique masterpiece, a testament to the dedication and skill of Mulliner’s artisans.

Exterior Details

The allure of the Batur extends far beyond its exterior form, offering an extensive array of choices for each discerning owner. The paint selection is virtually boundless, commencing with the comprehensive Mulliner color palette and extending into fully bespoke paints, including the option for hand-painted graphics.

Aerodynamic enhancements such as the front splitter, side skirts, and rear diffuser provide another avenue for personalization. These components can be meticulously crafted in either carbon fiber or the innovative, sustainable Natural Fiber composite.

The exterior brightware, encompassing various elements, allows for customization in terms of finish and color. Owners can opt for a blend of light and dark tones, choosing between satin or gloss finishes, or even the contemporary allure of titanium. A distinctive option, inspired by the inaugural car, involves a graduated contrast color application to the front grille, creating a dynamic ombre effect.

The Batur gracefully sits on distinctive 22-inch wheels, with the ‘standard’ choice featuring a Black Crystal base, complemented by surface bright machined and polished detailing. An alternative darker option combines dark gloss faces with satin spokes. Owners also have the freedom to match the wheel color to the body, with or without a contrast finish, or to select an entirely different contrasting hue.

The Batur showcased at Monterey exemplifies the car’s form language with a bespoke exterior paint – the captivating Bonneville Pearlescent Silver. This unique color gracefully accentuates the curves and lines of the car. Carbon fiber front splitters, side skirts, and rear diffuser, all painted in Black Crystal, add a touch of sophistication to the bodywork. The front grille stands out as a masterpiece, with the main matrix finished in Gloss Dark Titanium, adorned with contrasting chevrons in a horizontal ombre pattern. The gradient flows from Hyperactive Orange in the center, gradually darkening towards the sides to Black Crystal. The distinctive “endless bonnet” line and the 22-inch wheels are finished in Satin Titanium paint, while the spokes match the grille in Satin Dark Titanium, completing the harmonious and striking exterior presentation.

A Cabin of Sustainable Bespoke Beauty

The Batur’s intimate two-seat interior space is meticulously crafted to offer the epitome of personalization and comfort for long-distance grand touring. Drawing inspiration from the success of the Bacalar’s interior design, the Batur builds upon the foundational elements of the Bacalar’s cabin design while incorporating new features that embody sustainable luxury.

Veneer options for the fascias include a groundbreaking addition for Bentley—the Natural Fibre composite, a sustainable alternative to carbon fiber. Presented as a 2×2 twill weave and finished in satin lacquer, the Natural Fibre composite introduces a new sustainable texture to the cabin. Regardless of the chosen veneer, the passenger fascia panel is adorned with a unique etching of the audio signature of the W12 engine, with bespoke etching options available.

Clients have the freedom to choose between bright or dark treatments for the interior brightware, and titanium options are also available. Certain controls, like the organ stops for ventilation, can even be crafted in 3D-printed 18K gold.

The launch Batur’s interior is a testament to the possibilities of personalization, featuring a hand-trimmed combination of black, red, and orange. The Beluga main hide is complemented by the more sustainable low CO2 Mulliner Hyperactive Orange leather. Dinamica, a suede-like alternative to leather, is utilized in both Beluga and Hotspur. Intricate “Batur Chevrons” are hand-embroidered in Snap Orange thread, adding a unique touch. The soft elements are finished with a new feathered artisan piping in Beluga, Hyperactive Orange piping to the seat centers, and a Hyperactive Orange finish to the lower spoke of the steering wheel.

The veneers on the Instrument Panel, fascias, and doors are Gloss Black painted, featuring a ‘guitar fade’ to Fine Brodgar that transitions from the fascias to the doors and fades back to black. The fascia is adorned with a unique piece of art—a laser-etched sound wave representing the distinctive sound generated by the W12 engine. The metallic elements of the interior incorporate Black Anodized Aluminium and Satin Titanium, culminating in a hallmarked 18-karat gold Bentley Dynamic Drive Selector and a ’12 o’clock’ steering wheel center band.

The Mighty W12

The Batur proudly houses the most potent engine ever fitted to a Bentley, embodying the culmination of the iconic 6.0-liter W12. This engine, which heralded Bentley’s renaissance with the introduction of the Continental GT in 2002, has undergone several design evolutions and stands today as the most advanced twelve-cylinder engine globally. Handcrafted with precision in Bentley’s carbon-neutral factory in Crewe, England, this power plant has been a symbol of craftsmanship and performance.

For the Batur, the W12 engine undergoes a transformative upgrade, featuring a new intake system, enhanced turbochargers, new intercoolers, and extensive recalibration. These improvements result in an output exceeding 740 PS and a formidable 1,000 Nm of torque, delivering exceptional performance for this pinnacle grand tourer. This evolution of the W12 engine serves as a celebration of its accomplishments over two decades, during which it has witnessed a nearly 40% increase in power, accompanied by a 25% improvement in fuel economy.

Paired with Bentley’s eight-speed double-clutch transmission and complemented by a sports exhaust, the Batur’s W12 engine offers a soundtrack befitting its exceptional performance. The entire exhaust system is crafted from titanium, with the finishers being 3D-printed in titanium—a pioneering achievement for Bentley.

As Bentley steers towards an electrified future, the W12 engine approaches its twilight years. The Batur serves as the ultimate canvas for showcasing the zenith of W12 performance, paying homage to this engineering masterpiece before its retirement.

A Chassis System to Match

The Batur not only stands as the most powerful and exclusive Bentley coupe to date but also claims the title of the most dynamic in the lineup.

Its dynamic prowess is facilitated by adaptive three-chamber air springs, featuring three switchable chambers that modify the air spring’s volume, adjusting its effective stiffness. The driver can fine-tune the balance between ride comfort and body control through the four-mode Drive Dynamics Control located in the center console. The available modes include Sport, Bentley, Comfort, and Custom.

The Drive Dynamics Control doesn’t just affect ride comfort—it also influences the 48V electric active anti-roll control system. This system can deliver up to 1,300 Nm of anti-roll torque in a mere 0.3 seconds or completely decouple the wheels at each end of every axle. Additionally, the anti-roll control system can adjust the roll stiffness front-to-rear, enhancing turn-in precision and allowing the Batur to maintain balance on the throttle in Sport mode.

To maximize traction and cornering grip, the Batur employs an electronic Limited Slip Differential (eLSD) that actively distributes drive torque across the chassis. This is complemented by torque vectoring by brake, enabling the car to lightly brake the inside rear wheel on turn-in for improved front-axle response. It also lightly brakes both inside wheels on corner exit, redirecting power to the outside wheels for enhanced traction.

Braking is executed through Bentley’s advanced CSiC (Carbon-Silicon-Carbide) braking system, featuring substantial 440 mm front and 410 mm rear discs paired with 10-piston front and four-piston rear calipers. The Batur rides on bespoke 22-inch wheels fitted with Pirelli tires, contributing to its exceptional dynamic capabilities.