Climbing on the Cote d’Azur

If you’ve ever had the experience of traveling along the Mediterranean coast in France, Monaco or Italy, you are already aware that it’s a location whether sheer, unadulterated, in-your-face, politically incorrect levels of unbridled wealth and consumption are as much an element of life as breathing. If it bespeaks big bucks, it’s got a home there. That explains why Bentley, a nameplate as proudly British as the Union Jack and Yorkshire pudding, chose the megadollar Cheval Blanc resort on the St. Tropez coast as the location for the upcoming launch of its most exclusive convertible, the Continental GT Mulliner, named for Bentley’s in-house coachwork partner, the oldest such firm in the world, which produces highly individualized, extraordinarily exclusive takes on Bentley’s existing model range. If you’ve got to have something totally unique that bespeaks the monetary investment required to own one – a figure that’s yet to be disclosed in this automobile’s case – then a Bentley like this one has its crosshairs squarely on you.

The hyperbole train can very quickly find itself derailed, Casey Jones style, when you’re talking about a car like this. Take the interior. Buyers can select from eight different three-tone leather combinations, with machined metal accents and a Breitling clock – priced one of those lately? – embedded in the dashboard. That dash can be inlaid with one of 88 piano-finish wood veneers offered on the Continental GT Mulliner. To that variety, you can add choose between 88 exterior colors, or else have Bentley custom-mix any shade you want, matching a proferred sample. The interior is assembled using 400,000 individual stitches, and boasts a standard Naim for Bentley audio system with 2,200 watts and 18 speakers. If you buy this car, you’ll receive your keys in a handcrafted Mulliner presentation box, matching your car’s three-color interior hides, with the keys placed in similarly color-matched leather cases. The car has interior mood lighting in seven driver-selectable themes. Powertrain choices range up to a 6.0-liter, twin-turbocharged W-12 – three banks of four cylinders each – that can propel this enormous automobile to 207 MPH. Maybe nobody can travel to the Med right now, but buying this isn’t a bad, or downscale, substitute.

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