Open Roads, May | Lot 162
2002 Bentley Continental R Mulliner 'Wide-Body'
| Naples, Florida
19 - 26 May 2021
- Believed to be one of fewer than 150 built
- Finished in Black over Cotswold leather
- Odometer shows 13,413 miles at time of cataloguing
- 6.75-liter turbocharged V-8 engine mated to a four-speed automatic
- Presented with Bentley Motors build and delivery information
In the mid-eighties, Bentley Motors sought to reinvent itself after languishing in the shadow of then corporate parent Rolls-Royce. To build on the success of the well-received 1985 Bentley Turbo R and further revive its sporting pedigree, the British automaker took inspiration from a beloved classic: the R-Type Continental of the 1950s. Following years of research, Bentley introduced the Continental R in March 1991. This large, hand-built coupe became one of the fastest and most expensive four-passenger cars in the world. Perhaps more importantly, it is credited with burnishing Bentley’s faded image and proving its relevance as a standalone brand—one that would eventually flourish again after disentangling from Rolls-Royce under ownership of the Volkswagen Group starting in 1998.
Several variations of the coupe were produced during the car’s 12-year run. Among them was the Continental R Mulliner, introduced in 1999 to answer requests for a car with “T” power but additional passenger legroom. As such, this variant combined the standard “Wide Body” R shell with the 420-horsepower, turbocharged engine of the short-wheelbase Continental T. Besides its length—stretching seven inches longer than an extended-wheelbase Mercedes-Benz S-Class of the day—the Continental R Mulliner was further distinguished by its flared wheel arches, aerodynamic door sills, sports bumpers, a single large-diameter tailpipe, steering that was 20 percent quicker than standard, and special badging.
The 6.75-liter V-8 engine featured a Garrett turbocharger with electronic transient boost control, while the chassis benefited from sophisticated front and rear double-wishbone suspension. Electro-hydraulic dampers offered automatic ride-height control with load compensation; their computer-controlled response rates were linked to the four-speed automatic transmission and quick-ratio steering.
The car offered here was originally delivered through Bentley Downers Grove in suburban Chicago. It is finished in Black over Cotswold leather with black carpets and matching mouton overlays. Other features include wood inlays, chrome instrument bezels, drilled aluminum pedals, walnut gearshift knob, and 18-inch chrome wheels. The odometer shows 13,413 miles at time of cataloguing. In addition to its Bentley Motors build and delivery details, this Continental R Mulliner is accompanied by a pair of Bentley umbrellas, an owner’s manual, and factory books in a leather case.