Bentley’s limited-edition Batur will be limited to 18 coupes, based on the Continental GT but with all-new bodywork. The Batur gets a 729-hp version of Bentley’s long-lived W-12 engine.
It might seem odd to be looking at a car powered by a 729-hp W-12 engine and thinking about EVs, but that is what Bentley is ordering us to do with the Batur, a limited-run coupe that has just been unveiled at Monterey Car Week. Because, while the Batur is still powered by sweet, sweet hydrocarbons, we’re told that it showcases the design direction the British luxury brand is planning to take as it develops its first full EV, which is due to arrive in 2025. Beneath its all-new bodywork, the Batur is based on the floorplan and mechanical package of the existing Continental GT. Just 18 will be built by Bentley’s bespoke Mulliner division, and all have already been reserved by clients, none of whom was apparently put off by the base price. We’re told that at least some of those customers already own examples of Mulliner’s previous Conti-based limited run, the roof-free Bacalar. The speed at which the speedster sold out its even more restricted run of 12 cars encouraged Bentley to commission more of the Batur, and it seems likely that additional ultra-exclusive models will follow. Like the Bacalar, the Batur is named after a body of natural water, in this case, Lake Batur, a 290-foot-deep crater lake in Kintamani on the Indonesian island of Bali. Award yourself a geography point if you already knew that. The muscular aesthetic is the work of a small team led by Andreas Mindt, Bentley’s recently arrived director of design, with a reimagined style language that seeks to combine elegance and the projection of power. What the company refers to as a "resting beast stance: picture a lion or tiger laying low in attack position in the long grass. While the Batur’s sizable radiator grille is a familiar detail from existing Bentleys, the new teardrop headlight units are a radical departure for a brand that has become associated with large circular lights, with the smaller apertures containing three powerful projector units. Behind this, the Batur’s long hood gives apparent proof that even fully electric Bentleys will keep the brand’s distinctive cab-rearward stance. The side profile is pleasingly reminiscent of a muscle car, and the Batur’s rounded rump is softer and more organic than the more angular lines of the Continental GT. The only carried-over parts are the door mirrors, these containing too many sensors to make it economically viable to create new ones for such a limited run.
The cabin keeps the basic dashboard architecture of the Conti, since Bentley was unable to radically alter safety-critical systems like airbag placement for such a limited run. But, of course, it is finished with even plusher and rarer materials, with buyers able to specify a practically limitless range of colors and with trim options including a natural composite that is described as a more sustainable alternative to carbon fiber. The fascia includes a laser-etched sound wave that represents the sound of the W-12.Twilight Sentinel
While much of the Batur is forward-looking, the 6.0-liter W-12 is definitely part of Bentley’s past. Even the official release acknowledges it is entering its "twilight years" but also describes this version as being its ultimate development. A new intake system, upgraded turbochargers, and recalibration have boosted output to 729 horsepower, a 79-hp increase over the output of the W-12–powered Continental GT Speed. The Batur’s chassis uses the W-12 GT’s combination of air springs, adjustable dampers, and a 48-volt electromechanical anti-roll system. It also has an electrically operated torque-biasing rear differential, carbon-ceramic brakes, and bespoke 22-inch wheels as standard.
Bentley’s enduring 6.0-liter twin-turbocharged W12, the Batur produces over 545kW and 1000Nm. Chassis advancements include speed-tuned air suspension, electric active anti-roll control, an electronic limited-slip differential, four-wheel steering, and torque vectoring.
The Batur forms the first part of a celebration of Bentley’s long-serving W12, as the dawn of internal combustion continues to pass through its twilight, and Bentley continues on the path of its Beyond100 EV strategy.
Compared to Bentley’s existing catalog of vehicles, the Batur represents the genesis of a new, bold and modern design language that will see Bentley’s transition to a producer of battery-electric vehicles (BEVs).
DISTINGUISHED EXTERIOR DESIGN
The reductive nature of the design is free from superfluous detail, resulting in a form that has breathtaking modernity. This is the most desirable Range Rover ever created.
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