Bentley Mulsanne Convertible Concept

Bentley and Rolls-Royce may be as direct as competitors get, but that doesn't mean they go head-to-head on every model. Bentley is arguably more focused on its Continental line, with the pricier Mulsanne branching off of it. Rolls-Royce, meanwhile, only recently expanded (relatively) down-market with the Wraith and the Ghost on which it's based. For Rolls, it's long been about the Phantom and its coupe and convertible variants. And Bentley doesn't pose much of a challenge in that stratospheric segment.

Crewe discontinued the old Arnage-based Brooklands coupe and Azure convertible in 2009 and 2011, respectively, and hasn't rolled out a successor for either in the few years since. The high-end British automaker revealed a conceptual convertible based on the Mulsanne at Pebble Beach Concours last year and was said to be moving ahead with production plans, but the latest intel suggests that Bentley has taken it off the development table.

This according to Car and Driver, which spoke with Bentley's new chief exec Wolfgang Schreiber at the Frankfurt Motor Show. According to Schreiber, there just isn't enough demand worldwide to justify the development costs – even if it is based on the existing flagship sedan. Apparently Bentley has evaluated that beyond the US and Europe, they couldn't sell enough of them in other markets to make it worthwhile. We'd imagine some Middle-Eastern sheikhs might like to get their hands on a few, but apparently the higher priority is getting the Falcon sport-ute out the door.

For what it's worth, this author can't help but wonder if Bentley might not find a better business case on its hands avoiding going head-to-head with the Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe and instead going after more of a niche the way Daimler's now-defunct Maybach brand did with the Landaulet and go with a full four-door convertible – at a suitable premium. It has, after all, been a long time since there's been a proper "parade car" on the market, and if anyone could make it work, certainly Bentley would rank high among them.

Should Bentley make a Mulsanne convertible?
No. The Continental GTC should be enough.690 (13.2%)
Yes. I like the two-door Mulsanne cabrio in the rendering.2535 (48.6%)
Parade car! Build it with four doors and they will come.566 (10.9%)
Damned if I know. My car doesn't cost a tenth of what these do.1420 (27.3%)