Brake feel? Check. Powertrain calibration? Check. Sufficient heads swiveling in Monte Carlo as the car passes? Check. Check. Check.
Bentley just put out a press release talking about how its engineers are subjecting the new Batur coupe to a ton of what it calls “real world” tests in advance of the 18 production cars being delivered to their egregiously rich owners next summer. It’s mostly PR puff – every carmaker tests cars, though I’m sure Bentley will claim that its “120 individual tests over a 58-week period” reach the weakness that other brands’ tests just don’t reach.
And judging by the supplied pictures, the testing procedure is certainly different from what we’d expect a durability test to look like. “Real world” testing for Peugeot engineers honing the next 208 might involve sitting in a Parisian traffic jam for six hours or trudging around a shopping mall parking lot on a Saturday afternoon trying to find a space, and then parking really badly so the person in the next bay can’t get into their car they return an hour later.
But while Bentley talks about subjecting its garish purple test car to thousands of miles of test track work, followed by thousands more miles on European roads, Bentley’s “real world” testing pictures include a shot of the Conti GT-based limited edition coupe cruising past the superyachts on Louis II Boulevard. You’ll know the spot from footage of the Monaco F1 race; it’s the stretch of pavement after the famous tunnel, one we’re pretty sure has a 50 mph (31 mph) speed limit.
We’re poking fun, but then, that road is a real-world test for a car that is going to set its owners back $2 million. In return for that cash – which would only buy a tiny one-bedroom apartment in Monte Carlo, where the nice pads go for upwards of 25 mill – those owners get a car with 731 hp (740 PS) of W12 power, a 48-volt active anti-roll system, rear-wheel steering, three-chamber air springs, adaptive dampers, and an electronic rear-limited slip differential from the Continental GT Speed. But more importantly, they also get a body created by Bentley’s Mulliner coachbuilding arm that provides a clue to how the company’s future cars, including its first-ever EV, will look.
The tapering fastback tail, sculpted doors and muscular rear arches give the Batur a distinctive, and distinctly sporty look that manages to make this Bentley feel almost shockingly modern, while still referencing cars from the past. Nice trick. Inside, the meat of the package is lifted from the Continental GT, but enhanced with special touches that include 3D-printed 18k gold, which is almost as brash as the test car’s purple paint. But when you’re somewhere like Monaco and surrounded by rich people, it’s all about going the extra mile.