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The Uniquely Materialistic World of Bentley

Updated: Aug 17, 2023



Vanilla pods.

Freshly ground coffee beans.

Campfires.

The great outdoors after a summer downpour.

Petrol.

New books.

Lavender.

Freshly baked bread.



The list of smells which assault our senses, permeate our consciousness and subsequently resonate deeper still is seemingly infinite.


New car smells in particular are one of those things most of us can recall in our mind’s proboscis. It’s typically a very distinctive aroma quite like nothing else our nasal response systems can draw from thin air.


And in the wonderful world of automotive aromas, there’s a cornucopia of whiffs which are instantaneously indicative of a Bentley.


And no. We're not referring to THIS.






Scent-sational Bentley’s


There’s no scent like the one that greets you when you open the door of a Bentley.


There just isn't.


Not a single one.


Your senses are suddenly, abruptly confronted by a fusion of primarily wood and leather like no other.


If you don’t believe us, try it next time you are afforded the opportunity. Although we’re not encouraging you to stick your beak in a random stranger’s Bentley, just for the record. And to distance ourselves from any court rulings which may follow.





Quality combined with sustainability are the keywords Bentley facilitates in conjunction with the materials it sources per se. Employing the specialist services of oak oracles, aluminium aficionados, fabric fashionistas and hide hotshots.


So as to meld all the core components which quintessentially make a Bentley a Bentley.


So, let’s take a closer look as to what individual elements are accommodated within a Bentley’s inner sanctum.







What Does It Feel Like To Be Behind The Wheel Of A Bentley?


The best way to describe this unique driving experience is to muse that it’s something akin to finding yourself steering a boutique hotel.


Scratch that.


Chatsworth House is probably closer to the (very distinguished) mark.


Only on a more compact scale.


At Bentley, human interaction in the automotive-manufacturing journey is literally everything. With traditional craftsmanship at the very nucleus of all that the Crewe-based car maker is about.


A mantra which has held firm since 1919, and Bentley’s inception.


That’s why thousands of highly skilled craftspeople are employed by the iconic Pym Lane site, to hand-craft all Bentley’s.


From veneers, embroidery and leather, to a myriad of fabrics, metals and even stone.






Did We Just Say Stone? In A Car?


We did, and no. It wasn’t a typo.


As wood isn’t the only material used in Bentley fascias.


Stone veneers are available for commission should you wish to foster a truly original cabin space. Where precision technology is employed to forge layers of slate or quartzite stone which measure just 0.1mm in thickness to determine naturally sublime presentation values.


In terms of the metals we touched on above, and Bentley doesn’t simply start and finish with carbon fibre like some of its automotive contemporaries.


On the contrary.


As its bespoke carbon fibre elements are intricately interwoven with polished metals which include copper and titanium to afford a more technical provision.






Let’s Talk Wood For A Minute/Paragraph

However, wood is arguably what ensures Bentley stands out from the pretenders to its mighty oak-constructed throne.


Bentley can never be accused of not seeing the best wood from the trees which surround other, lesser motoring mortals.


And only ever plunders the most sought-after wood, hand selected by its very own resident wood experts. Folk on the payroll who frequently ‘get their Columbus on’ and travel to great lengths to source tree varieties from across the globe.


From the elegant straight grain of Koa, to the lighter colour and delicate markings of Tamo Ash.


Koa wood hailing from Hawaii and more traditionally used to construct guitars, surfboards and canoes, rather than car interiors. Until Bentley got in on the act that is.


Bentley’s dedication to the cause extended to its deploying of a team to the Mississippi wetlands in search of the American red gum tree. The culmination of an exhaustive 2-year quest, based around a brief to manifest the bespoke Bentley rich red-brown Liquid Amber veneer.






Environment Sustainability At Heart Of Bentley Mantra


Yet perhaps most important of all, every single strip of bark Bentley acquires is ethically sourced. Undergoing stringent testing to ensure that it meets with Bentley’s own extremely high quality and sustainability standards.


To underline Bentley’s absolute and unswerving commitment to this peer acknowledged sustainability - and both awareness and respect for the natural environment - as a socially conscious global company, it only takes from trees where they've fallen naturally.


Whilst a new tree is always planted in the place of the one removed.


Bentley loves to experiment with wood too, and has previous for infusing oak with copper of all converse material gains. A process that began by collaborating with respected bog oak specialists to reclaim fossilised oak that had been lying dormant in peat bogs for centuries.


And which very much adheres to Bentley’s sustainable sourcing ethos. Bentley’s bespoke ‘Riverwood’ material option was crafted courtesy of filling open grain, knots and cracks of said wood with recycled copper in a process inspired by the Japanese art of Kintsugi.






And How Does The Leather Aspect Play Into The Overall Look And Feel?


That exclusive Bentley volume of sumptuous comfort and enveloping of occupants of its motor vehicles is achieved in no small part by the high quality of leather products used throughout the cabin area.


And the thought process behind the finished product is truly mind-blowing. To the point where cattle are grazed at Northern Europe’s highest altitudes to protect them from insect bites. Because apparently these bites have a habit of causing leather blemishes much further down the line.


So altitude essentially preserves suppleness.


For when natural imperfections do occur, Bentley has enlisted the honed attributes of the Scottish Leather Group who procure soft and tactile aniline hides. Soluble dyes lend colours which if anything work with and emphasise the natural imperfections found in the leather to champion layers of texture.


Also there’s a special tanning process which allows the hides to retain their natural leather aroma. Which is said to be reminiscent of classic Bentley interiors of yore.







While We’re On The Subject Of Leather And Stitching…


Did you know that the entire stitching process relating to the steering wheel alone takes some 5 hours of labour time.


During which 10 metres of thread are woven into the insertion of a staggering 620 separate stitches.


No machine can compare or indeed, be trusted with this particular remit.


Perhaps another reason being that to guarantee that all stitches are equidistant from one another Bentley’s craftspeople mark the leather with a kitchen fork prior to stitching. Thus resulting in perfectly placed markers.


Now THAT’S Bentley dedication for you.


And based on this, it probably won’t therefore surprise you to learn that to complete the interior of a Bentley Mulsanne takes a full 136 hours of labour time.






Are Alternative Fabrics Used By Bentley?


Yes.


While leather commands the biggest headlines and comprises the predominant share of Bentley customers’ interior material choices, that’s not to say that other fabrics are overlooked.


Harking back to Bentley’s motorsport heritage heyday of the 1920’s and 30’s, cloth was used instead of leather in numerous instances. Yet since these halcyon days, it’s only really been facilitated on bespoke customer commissions carried out by Bentley’s ‘go-to’ interior savants and in-house design arm, Mulliner.


With the Royal Family’s Bentley’s more often than not the recipients of exclusive fabric weaves.


With Mulliner themselves employing the specialist services of Gainsborough Mill, who have been weaving for over a century and have created Cotton Damask purely for Bentley.


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