A convertible version of the Bentley Mulsanne could be produced in very limited numbers, despite rumours that the proposed new model had been canned.
Autocar has learnt that the project has indeed been sidelined, but it could still be reopened with a delayed production date, likely to be some time in 2018 or 2019.
The idea of a drop-top Mulsanne has been around for some time. In 2014 Bentley revealed the Grand Convertible concept, which was based on the Mulsanne and previewed what a Mulsanne convertible could look like.
But since then other projects have taken precedence, forcing the Mulsanne convertible to sit on the back burner as it did during the Bentayga’s development. If it does eventually make production, however, Bentley says it will be highly exclusive, with production numbers most likely limited to 20-30 units. The price would be significantly higher than that of the Mulsanne Speed, which starts at £250,000.
The convertible would almost certainly share componentry with the Mulsanne Speed, which itself has just received a range of mid-life revisions. That car’s twin-turbocharged 6.75-litre V8 now produces 530bhp and 811lb ft torque and sends power to all four wheels via a ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox. We can expect similar, if not identical levels of output from a Mulsanne drop-top.
Bentley's air suspension, too, would most likely be transferred over from the Mulsanne Speed, perhaps with minor recalibrations to cope with an expected increase in weight.
The new drop-top Rolls-Royce Dawn provides evidence for the popularity of luxurious drop-tops, but given the anticipated limited production numbers for a Mulsanne convertible, it would be unfair to call the £250,000 Dawn a competitor.
Additional reporting by John Howell