Bentley announces Mulsanne Vision Concept, a new flagship droptop

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The arrival of the all-new flagship Bentley Mulsanne sedan in 2010 (for the 2011 model year) marked the departure of the range-topping Azure convertible, leaving the Continental GTC range as the automaker's only open-roof models.

Bentley's big convertible program took a huge leap forward this past weekend at Pebble Beach when the automaker allowed a select few to view its Mulsanne Vision Concept, a possible successor to the discontinued Azure. Unfortunately, Bentley refused to allow photography and will not be releasing pictures – only the sketch above, and those in our gallery, are offered for your consumption.

On the positive side, Autoblog did see the four-place convertible in the flesh and we found it every bit as spectacular as the sketches. The Mulsanne-based concept features a steeply raked windshield, a chopped wheelbase (about six inches shorter) and two lengthened doors to bring all the proportions in properly (the inside panels of the doors have two latches on each interior panel, so rear seat passengers may open them from the inside as well). In addition to the sharp hydroformed aluminum panels, there are LED accent lights on the top of the rear decklid. The interior seats four passengers comfortably, with a sea of soft leather, polished stainless steel and signature wood.

Even though Bentley says its designers are "providing a glimpse into the potential future of the marque's flagship family," we say the Vision concept is much closer to production than they would lead us to believe. Its power-operated roof mechanism (seemingly lifted from the Azure) worked flawlessly, as did all switchgear (including the unique interior door handles) and lights. We expect Bentley will reveal its newest star at an auto show in the very near future.
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(Crewe, England. 00.01hrs, 20 August 2012). Since its debut at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in 2009, the Mulsanne saloon remains a pure example of the Grand Touring Bentley, combining coach-built elegance and hand-crafted luxury with immense power and sportiness at the pinnacle of British luxury motoring.

Now with the Mulsanne Convertible Concept, Bentley's designers are providing a glimpse into the potential future of the marque's flagship family. Appealing to automotive connoisseurs seeking the ultimate in contemporary design, prestige and exclusivity, the Mulsanne Convertible Concept will be the world's most elegant and sophisticated convertible, providing a supremely powerful and refined luxury grand touring experience for four adults.

The graceful form of the Mulsanne Convertible Concept is a fusion of sportiness and coach-built elegance, its sculpted lines and muscular haunches conveying a sense of power and movement.
The spacious yet intimate cabin design is inspired by luxurious, high-performance power boats. With its unrivalled combination of chic, contemporary design, sumptuous materials, painstaking attention to detail and supreme refinement, the Mulsanne Convertible Concept reinforces Bentley's position as the undisputed benchmark in handcrafted automotive luxury.

Commenting on the Mulsanne Convertible Concept, Wolfgang Dürheimer, Bentley's Chairman and Chief Executive said: "The modern, luxurious, high-tech Mulsanne saloon provides a perfect foundation on which to create the world's most elegant convertible. The Convertible Concept will extend the appeal of the Mulsanne family, while enhancing the profile of the Bentley brand, particularly in new and emerging markets."

Open-top cars have been an intrinsic part of the company's heritage since its formation in 1919. From the race-bred 3-litre of the 1920s to the Park Ward S1 Drophead Coupe of the fifties through the Corniche and, most recently, Azure, Bentley has created an array of glamorous and desirable convertibles at the zenith of luxury motoring.

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