Bentley's in-house coachbuilder can do wondrous things. With the Batur, Mulliner has made one of the finest cars to ever wear the winged "B." Granted, the likes of you and I will never get our mitts on one, but it represents a big moment of change for the team at Crewe.
The W12 is going to the big engine farm in the sky, and for the Batur, Bentley's pushed the boat out. It’s now packing 740 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque, a healthy jump over the Continental GT Speed's 659 hp and 664 lb-ft. A gentle nod needs to be given to the Speed, as its bones are used as a base for the Batur's slinky frame – but it’s much, much more than that.
Cutting-edge composites, nods to sustainability, and a preview of what’s coming as Bentley electrifies its range, the Batur is a moment in the company’s history that shouldn’t be overlooked.
|Quick Stats||2024 Bentley Batur|
|Engine||Turbocharged 6.0-Liter W12|
|Output||740 Horsepower / 738 Pound-Feet|
|0-60 MPH||3.3 Seconds|
|Top Speed||209 Miles Per Hour|
|Base Price||$2.1 Million|
|On-Sale Date||Now (But Sold Out)|
A Bolder Continental
Let’s be honest, the world doesn’t feel like it needs a $2.1-million super GT right now, let alone one based on an already very capable Bentley. One that can be had for a fraction of the price, at that. But just because you don’t think it’s necessary, buyers don’t agree.
For the hardcore owners, it’s something to be prized: the most special of cars that sits a cut above the rest. For them, only a Patek Phillipe or a Rolex will do, though we all know a Casio F-91W does the same job. The difference is that anyone can have the Casio, the Rolexes of this world are for the privileged few. The Batur is just that. Only for the few who can – in this case, 18 lucky high-rollers – it shows the world you’ve worked your way to only the finest things in life. Long story short: if you don’t think it’s worth the huge outlay, it’s probably not for you.
Bentley’s not been shy in saying that the Batur’s something of an IRL concept for what’s to come when petrol stops running through its cars' veins. Along with a powertrain shift, there’ll be a new look. A set of swept-back, small (ish) headlamps frame a suitably chunky grille, while its sides come with dynamic feature lines that disguise quite a bit of bodywork. And the rear lamps mirror the fronts leading the back to an elegant sweep. Bentley’s curves are still present, but not quite as prominent – this thing’s a steam train of a car. If steam trains were made of carbon fiber.
Inside there are only two seats, a shelf sits behind the driver in place of the Conti’s buckets. If you’ve spent time in a Continental GT the dash layout won’t be unfamiliar, though it comes with neat touches – a gold drive select wheel and air vent valves, and, of course, some even more customizable options abound. Given the Batur has a huge footprint, you get the impression that it could be a bit bigger in there, but unless you dine exclusively on Big Macs and milkshakes, you won’t accuse it of being cramped.
Sustainability is also part of the Batur’s allure. The leather is sourced sustainably, and some of its bodywork is made from a flax-based composite that, Bentley says, is as strong as it gets. Flax is good in your protein shake and for your mega exclusive GT.
Walking up to it, I was more than slightly intimidated by its size. Barely able to fit into a UK-spec parking spot, its hefty overhangs, long trunk, and looooooooonger hood made me, an already shortish chap, feel like an ant. After making myself comfortable, I headed off for some quick roads, but to get to them I needed to go on the highway, where the Batur did really rather well.
Large, Long, And Lovely To Drive
With the seat gently massaging various appendages, and its ultra-high spec NAIM stereo firing podcasts into my ears with such clarity I’m pretty sure the hosts were broadcasting straight from my ear canals, the car just… sat. There was no fuss, little noise from the outside world, and no worries at all. Its size (and REALLY VERY PURPLE paint job) ensured that other road users could see it, and get out of the way if they were dawdling. It was a bubble of utter calm in the world.
This was, of course, with the car set to "comfort," which keeps its dampers supple, steering light, and monstrous motor calm. Should you need to make progress, a gentle press on the throttle wakes the engine up nicely, and a seemingly endless wave of torque shoves you forward numbers to the Batur’s wonderfully clear digital speedo at a rate it’s best not to mention. It’s the most powerful production Bentley ever built, and it’s not shy about it.
On more challenging asphalt, the golden dial switched to "sport," (the car’s default) the Batur’s 4,923-pound curb weight doesn’t necessarily spoil any fun, but you’re very aware that, despite it being clad in flax, it’s a touch heavy. A Caterham, the Batur is not. But it sure covers ground fast. I found myself pointing it at a corner, pressing the go pedal, and getting there rather more quickly than I’d thought possible. The sheer amount of grunt on offer is baffling. Barring a runway, or a slab of clear Autobahn, I’m almost certain it’ll be nigh on impossible to run out of torque to play with. There’s so much there that’s breezes past "needless," and flicks the bird at "gratuitous."
It’s the most powerful production Bentley ever built, and it’s not shy about it.
Helpfully, it comes with truly massive brakes, which do a very good job of slowing you down. Flicking the paddle shifters, the Batur smoothly switches from ratio to ratio, though considering how much torque is available you could quite happily sit it in any gear, mash the gas, and be fired at the horizon without any bother.
Taking the Batur into the city is… an experience. Of course, being that it’s vast and clearly very expensive, you’ll garner plenty of attention. So much so that you’ll get questions at stoplights, people who know what it is will quickdraw their smartphones, and you feel all special. You feel less special when you try to thread it through narrow streets. Admittedly a European problem, the Batur’s width, and large, curb-magnet wheels make parking, passing traffic, and generally being anywhere narrow is cause for concern. You’ll end up with great glutes after a run to pick up the groceries.
You’ll also be entirely unbothered by the outside world. You can gently tickle the gas and get to the speed limit, barely bothering the motor, and you hear little of what’s going on around you. Double-glazed side windows and a healthy blob of sound deadening ensure that Batur drivers need not concern themselves with anything other than enjoying their plush surroundings.
There are a couple of other drive modes to play with. The "B" mode neatly mixes ‘sport’ and ‘comfort’ to give you a balanced Bentley experience. As every new car has to offer some level of personalization, you can also set the car up to your own preference. Steering to its sportiest, powertrain to angry, and ride to its squidgiest was my perfect setup.
Being a Bentley, despite having more power than anyone outside of Formula One or the World Endurance Championship has any real need for, it’s never uncomfortable. Bentley’s ride and handling team has ensured that even when you ask the Batur to be at its very, very angriest, it never crashes over potholes or bumps. It’ll be a big, comfy couch at 20 mph or 120mph, and that’s just fine by me.
While you’re luxuriating on your couch, you can marvel at the mark you’ve put on the car. As it’s a Mulliner machine, customization options are seemingly infinite. If you want your seats to be a lurid green, and the exterior a more subdued hue, that’s fine. More than fine, in fact. While the car’s design is set in stone, it’s to be treated as a canvas for endless creativity. Cars in this sector will likely be celebrated for the spec they’re created in, known online as "the yellow one," "the red one," or "the one with pink piping." There’s little point in going for resale grey here, and I fervently hope the lucky 18 have a wild streak in them.
A Stunning Sendoff
There are likely two schools of thought about the Batur. The first will say it’s a Continental GT with more grunt and a new face, and write it off as a money-making exercise. This car is not for them. It’s for the second lot: the people who see the Batur as the ultimate expression of the Bentley W12, what can be done with more resources, cutting-edge tech, and seemingly infinite imagination.
While, yes, it is incredibly expensive (but not to those it’s marketed at), and one of the rarest cars ever made, it’s something of a Director’s Cut for Bentley. It pushes the boundaries of available design and engineering technology and ties it all up in a very large, rather fine-looking package. Comfort, speed, luxury – it’s the full package.
If you’re going to criticize anything about it, it’d be the size. It’s so big, and so ornate that driving it in the city, or anywhere without at least a mile of room in any direction is a little concerning, but you probably won’t care about any of that anyway. A fitting, glorious goodbye for the W12.
Gallery: 2024 Bentley Batur First Drive Review
2024 Bentley Batur