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Bentley Azure possibly returning for limited edition run

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On: Wed, Jun 1, 2016 at 8:46AM | By: Carl Malek

Bentley Azure possibly returning for limited edition run

Bentley currently has one convertible in its lineup, the Bentley Continental GTC; but not too long ago it had a second convertible. Dubbed the Azure, the bigger droptop was based on the Brooklands sedan and brought top-tier luxury to buyers who wanted to feel the wind in their hair. The Azure went out of production several years back, but, if executives at Bentley have their way, the Azure could very well be resurrected for a new generation of well-heeled buyers.

Unlike the old Azure, which was based on the equally antiquated bones of the Brooklands, this reborn Azure would be based on the Mulsanne flagship sedan; at first glance such a conversion would be easy, given the sheer size of the Mulsanne as well as the minimal engineering that would be involved in transforming it into an ultra-luxury droptop cruiser. The possibility was reported by Car & Driver which had the chance to interview Bentley CEO Wolfgang Durheimer. When pressed on the subject, Durheimer said that a reborn Azure "would be built in [batches of] 20 units and sold to absolute connoisseurs at a very high price."

Durheimer stopped short of confirming whether Bentley is actually considering or its exact cost. However, Car & Driver wasn't deterred and they have already released a preliminary estimate of the MSRP with their figures resting between $1 million and $1.5 million dollars per copy. The timing for such an ambitious model is pretty surprising since Rolls Royce is phasing out the Phantom Drophead Coupe, which would have been the only true rival to this model. Like the Azure, the Drophead was designed to be a top-tier ultra-luxury convertible with the car featuring a boot cover made out of real teak. Unfortunately, this high level of detail did not translate to solid sales; the car recorded only modest numbers during its time in production. As a result the Azure would have its small segment all to itself, which should please Bentley buyers who want to have a vehicle that is truly exclusive and unique.

There is some precedent here as well; the initial idea began when Durheimer unveiled a special Mulsanne-based concept called the Mulsanne Vision back at the 2012 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. The idea was shelved by his successor, Wolfgang Schrieber, a year later. Now that Durheimer has regained his old job (along with his new role as the head of Bugatti), he seems to be blowing the dust of the project. He proved that the idea had real legs when the brand introduced the Grand Convertible concept in 2014 which was based on a Mulsanne Speed. Bentley said it was observing customer reaction to the car, and its press release did confirm that the luxury droptop was "developed to signify Bentley's intentions for the future". While not many details have emerged since then, this new round of rumors could help reinforce this vision, and hints at a possible production model.


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