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Keith Richards named his “Blue Lena”. keeping up with the Kardashians aired an entire episode about Kim Kardashian getting her first. Quavo and Saweetie recently had a custody battle after their split. Jay-Z leaned on one for the album cover of vol. 2… Hard blow of life. We are talking, of course, about Bentley.
There’s something about the flying B that acts like a celebrity magnet. Apparently every A-lister owns (or has owned) one of the lavish games, from Elton John, Jennifer Lopez and Kobe Bryant to Nicki Minaj, Drake and Ludacris to Robert Downey Jr., Dr. Dre and Future. You often see the rich and famous hiding in other luxurious carsbut, above all other luxury automakers, Bentley has a viable claim for the celebrity car of choice.
While they are beautiful status symbols, so is every other super expensive luxury and sports car out there. So what is it about Bentley that wins the hearts (and hundreds of thousands of dollars) of all of our favorite artists?
With the new Bentayga Extended Wheelbase arriving later this year, we went to the Bentley factory in Crewe, England to find out what all these celebrities are paying for.
Get in a Bentley and you’ll immediately want to touch everything. The leather comes exclusively from bulls, which produce thicker skin than cows (without any pregnancy stretching). Bull skin is not also special (you can buy bull leather belts in Amazon), but Bentley’s meticulous selection and inspection processes are special: After receiving the leather only from Northern European bulls, experts check it for blemishes or insect bites. Any imperfections and the leather is sent to other manufacturers.
For the backsplash, customers can choose from thousands of material combinations, including rare woods from around the world and even real stone cladding. “Material selection is an incredibly complex process,” says Darren Day, Bentley’s head of interior architecture. Rolling Stone. “Leather, woods, metals, and even stone elements have to combine an often nearly impossible skill set to be included.” In addition to looking perfect and adhering to Bentley’s strict green-responsibility practices, Day says all materials must be hand malleable and resistant to temperature fluctuations and sun exposure.
The combination of all these elements, from the material of the sheet metal to the color of the leather, the stitching and piping, as well as the color of the exterior paint, is up to the customer. In all, “there are literally billions of possible ways to configure a Bentley,” says Day, “meaning no two are ever the same. That attracts our customers all over the world.”
But for a small percentage of Bentley’s clientele, billions of possible design configurations aren’t enough. This is where Bentley’s in-house coachbuilder, Mulliner, comes into play. Williams, account Rolling Stone.
And “next level” might be an understatement. “You get some crazy requests,” says Williams. “One of our favorites was a customer who came in with a salt and pepper shaker, and they wanted the interior of the car to match the salt and pepper shaker.” Of course, Williams and the team at Mulliner complied, after creating an entirely new paint development process to match the patina of the client’s cookware.
Williams points to the hyper-personalization that Mulliner offers is another draw for celebrities: “We have a lot of celebrity clients,” he says. Mulliner (and Bentley in general) are very protective of customer privacy, so they can’t tell us any names. “I think one thing [celebrities] What I like most about working with us is that you can be a little more discreet and you can do things with Mulliner that are a little bit special. We can offer them time, we can also send them people.”
Another detail you’ll notice in Bentley cabins is that the technology is relatively hidden. There is a rotating display located on the sheet metal dashboard, which the driver can choose to interact with using touch controls or analog buttons. “The choice remains in the hands of the driver as to how much or she wants to participate at any one time,” says Day. “We believe in a perfect combination, without compromising digital and analog.”
As audiophiles, the highlight of the Bentley experience is the optional Naim for Bentley sound system (a likely selling point for Bentley’s many musician customers). In the 2023 Bentayga SUV, the Naim system includes an incredible 20 speakers powered by a 20-channel, 1780-watt amplifier, and it’ll set you back an extra $8,970.
Luckily, you can taste Naim quality without buying the Bentley – see this Naim for the Bentley Mu-so music system. It’s an all-in-one high-resolution audio system with a Bentley-inspired design for your home.
Bentley may be known for its cloud-like comfort, but performance is just as important. “With Bentley, you can have Ferrari performance, but in a proper luxury car,” says Williams. The Bentayga Speed, for example, weighs 5,542 pounds and has an optional third-row seat, but claims 0-60 acceleration in just 3.8 seconds thanks to a W12 engine making 626 horsepower. (See a review of the first Bentley Bentayga at the grand tour in Amazon-Prime).
Combine all of this – the rare materials, the performance, the mix of tech and analog good looks, and the incredible customizability – and you begin to understand why so many celebrities choose a Bentley. “Personally, I think for this type of market, it’s often about your car as a way to reflect a little bit of what your personality is, or the personality that you’d like to put in there,” says Williams. “As people see our cars and we expand on the look and colors and how it can be really customized, that draws people in and allows them to express their personality through what they choose to drive.”
The latest from Bentley is the Bentayga Extended Wheelbase, a longer and even more luxurious version of the brand’s best-selling SUV, due to launch later this year. Seven inches are added between the axles, which translates to a lot more legroom.
The EWB also has the Airline Seat option, which turns the rear seats into first-class thrones capable of reclining up to 40 degrees. Once EWBs are on the road, we won’t be surprised to see Drake, Rihanna, or any other A-lister napping in the back.