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New Bentley Batur 2023 review

The million-pound Bentley Batur limited edition marks a crossroads in the British firm’s history

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

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Verdict

Bentley’s ultra-exclusive Batur takes everything that’s good about the Continental GT and clothes it in a stunning new body that also demonstrates the future of the British brand’s design language. That combines with a dizzying array of personalisation options and a true GT-like driving experience, with simply superb straight-line performance. The price is fairly outrageous, but then all are sold, so Bentley certainly knows its market.

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You’re looking at Bentley’s future, but it’s one with at least one foot reassuringly anchored in the past. The Batur coupé – successor to the open-roofed one-of-12 Bacalar – is the work of Bentley’s internal coachbuilders, Mulliner, the oldest company of its kind in the world, with an illustrious history dating back more than 250 years.

Just 18 Baturs will be made, each costing £1.65million plus taxes. The model also marks the ultimate evolution of Bentley’s mighty 6.0-litre twin-turbocharged W12 petrol engine before it goes out of production early next year.

Yet, at the same time, it also hints strongly at the styling we can expect from the next generation of electric-powered Bentleys.

Underneath its striking new skin, the Batur is essentially a Continental GT Speed, complete with the W12 engine, four-wheel drive system, three-chamber air suspension and a range of chassis technology Bentley deploys to make 2.2 tonnes of leather-lined luxury handle in a suitably sporting manner.

But the body is unique, crafted in the main from carbon-fibre panels, which has allowed the designers to incorporate far more intricate and challenging shapes than would be possible on a vehicle built on the standard production line.

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This new design language is visible in three key areas. Firstly, there’s the grille, which is low and upright. Then there’s what Bentley likes to call the ‘endless bonnet’, a physical line that runs from the front, down the side of the car and finally kicks up around the end of the side glass. It’s meant to give the car that long-nose, pre-war look. Finally, there’s the ‘resting beast stance’, like a big cat ready to pounce, demonstrated by the haunches over the rear wheels.

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To drive, the Batur is predictable, but not a disappointment. Unsurprisingly, it feels very much like the GT on which it’s based – far from a revelation when you consider that, apart from a 40kg weight saving and some suspension tweaks, it’s essentially the same. But that’s no bad thing: the Batur is as smooth as newborn skin, hushed and deeply sumptuous, but with a simply massive punch in the back when you command the engine to work.

The W12 now produces a huge 740bhp and 1,000Nm of torque (up from 650bhp and 900Nm in the GT Speed), thanks to alterations to the turbos and other detail changes, and when it’s on full song it makes this large, heavy car fly. However, the usual criticisms of the W12 remain: it doesn’t sound particularly special, and the weight penalty compared with the V8 Continental GT means it’s not as agile as its sibling. There’s no V8 available here and the Batur is no sports car, but then it isn’t intended to be. Instead, it offers fast, secure transport that’s comfortable everyday or over long distances.

However, the real appeal to would-be Batur owners is the vast, almost unlimited customisation available from Mulliner: any shade of any colour you can think of; an interior with a bewildering array of materials, some sustainable; etchings, finishes, leathers and even an 18K gold control wheel for the infotainment system if you so desire. The average spend on options on each Batur is £100,000, something that reflects the rising trend for personalisation with Bentley’s regular models, too.

Model:Bentley Batur
Price:£1.65million (plus tax)
Engine:6.0-litre twin-turbo W12
Power/torque:740bhp/1,000Nm
Transmission:Eight-speed dual-clutch auto, four-wheel drive 
0-62mph:Less than 3.3 seconds
Top speed:209mph
Economy:20mpg (est.)
CO2:311g/km (est.)
On sale:Sold out
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