‘Be Extraordinary,’ says Bentley Motors, and the car manufacturer would certainly know. The marque is synonymous with an unmatched level of exclusivity and luxury. Having completed legs in Australia, Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand, the Bentley Be Extraordinary Tour arrived in Kuala Lumpur in October. At Bentley Kuala Lumpur’s showroom at Etiqa Twins, this tour stop offered an introduction to the Bentley experience and focused on history and craftsmanship.
These are two things Bentley is no stranger to. The company has a storied history just under a century long, full of quirky characters. One such is Woolf Banarto, winner of the 24 Hours at Le Mans race three consecutive times from 1928 to 1930 — driving Bentleys, of course. His victories formed part of Bentley’s early 20th-century motorsports success, responsible for cementing their reputation as carmakers. He was one of that era’s wealthy, self-sponsored gentleman drivers — the type who would down glasses of champagne in the pits before continuing the race. More recently, actor Idris Elba broke the ‘Flying Mile’ UK land speed record in 2015. At the wheel of a Bentley Continental GT Speed, he reached 290km/h at the Pendine Sands in South Wales, breaking the previous record of 281km/h set in 1927.
At its exhibits on craftsmanship, Bentley took pains to ensure that their pursuit of quality would make a lasting impression. The leather for the renowned upholstery, for instance, is carefully sourced from Northern Europe, and is hand-checked before being cut. It takes 17 hides to fully outfit a Continental, and 22 for a Mulsanne. When it is time to stitch it together, expert craftsman painstakingly accomplish it by hand. It takes five hours and 260 stitches to complete a single Mulsanne steering wheel.
And of course, there were the automobiles. Occupying the prime showroom position and brought to the Malaysian market for the first time was the Mulsanne Speed (RM2,588,000). Touted as a driver-focussed version of the four-door Mulsanne grand tourer, the Mulsanne Speed packs a bigger punch in a similar package. Behind its formidable front grille lurks a mighty 6.75-litre twin-turbo V8 engine, capable of putting out 530bhp. It can go from standstill to 100km/h in 4.9 seconds—impressive, considering it weighs over two and a half tonnes. Inside, the aforementioned Bentley craftsmanship is at full bore—the diamond-quilted seats are particularly inviting. The stitching is as precise as promised, but look closely, and you might notice slight organic perturbations that remind you that it is indeed hand-stitched. From its selectable sports suspension to complete rear-seat entertainment system, the Mulsanne Speed is among Bentley’s most high-tech offerings.
The Bentayga SUV (RM1,749,000) has some new add-ons available. For those who felt it was missing a little presence, the carbon fibre styling specification adds a sporty and aggressive finish to both the exterior and interior. Among other things, it includes a front splitter and rear spoiler, as well as additional styling for the side mirrors and air vents. Deployable side sill steps are another particularly swanky new option, sliding out automatically with a futuristic hum — the perfect convenience for a vehicle as high as this one.
Of course, no Bentley experience is complete without the two-door Continental GT, and this one was quite special. A one-off commission to commemorate the Kuala Lumpur leg of the Be Extraordinary Tour, the Continental GT V8 S ‘X’ (RM1,728,000) comes with Blackline kit. As the name suggests, the accents are a polished black instead of shiny chrome. Even the headlamps are behind tinted glass. The unique lower body styling is what separates it from the rest, and even improves aerodynamic performance. Overall, it is an undeniably muscular and athletic package, one that is truly unique and is sure to be the pride and joy of its lucky buyer.