WORDS: JEREMY TAYLOR | PHOTOS: BENTLEY
Imagine driving an Aston Martin Valkyrie or a Pininfarina Battista on your daily, inter-city commute? With low-slung appendages and bespoke alloys, no wonder even well heeled owners prefer to keep them cocooned in dehumidified splendour.
London drivers certainly have little chance to enjoy their prized, multi-million pound motors. Narrow streets, kamikaze cyclists and a 20mph speed limit don’t help – add on the Congestion Charge, and hypercar owners are at the bottom of the pecking order.
Surprising, then, that the 207mph Bentley Batur I’m steering around the capital is the most forgiving of hypercars. Handcrafted in England from lightweight aluminium, carbonfibre and other precious metals, the fastest production Bentley ever is behaving remarkably well.
The constant rumble from those titanium-tipped tailpipes and the indiscreet purple paintjob are attracting plenty of attention
That may be because the £2 million super-coupé is loosely based on the sublime Continental GT, a luxury grand tourer par excellence. Even so, the bespoke Batur is built in such a way that even a minor bump will likely require an entire factory respray back at Crewe HQ.
It certainly focusses the mind when scooter couriers pass within inches of the bodywork. Even the wheels are special. The Batur sits on unique, 22-inch alloys, painted crystal black, then machined and polished to perfection. You won’t find a spare in Halfords.
Aided by rear-wheel steer, I’m determined not to bash the Bentley executing a parking manoeuvre. As with Continental GT, at least the Batur has decent-sized door mirrors, proximity sensors and a reversing camera to guide me in.
The only technology missing is a laser-guidance system, a must for squeezing through the backstreets of Soho. The 6ft 5in-wide Batur wasn’t designed for urban driving, but it’s making a decent fist of things.
Good thing, because the constant rumble from those titanium-tipped tailpipes and the indiscreet purple paintjob are attracting plenty of attention. With so many mobile-phone cameras following the Batur, I don’t want to go viral for the wrong reason.
Thankfully, there’s no scrabbling around for a suspension-lift button approaching a speed bump. Unlike your everyday McLaren and Lamborghini, the car that costs the same as five Rolls-Royce Ghosts boasts decent ground clearance.
Fun as it is cruising the capital, exiting London is obviously the only way to experience the power and handling of a 730bhp Batur. Propelled by an uprated version of Bentley’s long-serving W12 unit, the 6.0-litre will clock 0-62mph in 3.5 seconds. The venerable twin-turbo is due to retire later this year, as the company pursues its Beyond100 strategy to be fully electric by 2030.
Bentley claims the Batur – a fixed-roof version of the open-air Bacalar Barchetta – is also the most dynamic model ever built in Crewe. The engine is matched by a finely tweaked chassis, with speed-tuned suspension, electric anti-roll control and torque vectoring.
Right enough, the Batur somehow disguises its bulk and dimensions on the open road, as huge torque of 1,003Nm hauls the car out of slow corners and an eight-speed gearbox slices through the revs.
Once I’ve got my head around the staggering cost, heck, the almost practical Batur could be a Honda Jazz. If there is such a thing as an everyday hypercar then this is it. Just paint mine any colour, except bright purple.