For as much as the Batur is the most powerful Bentley ever made, and certainly the 740PS (544kW) final flourish for the twin-turbo W12 engine is dramatic, the basis for it does remain that of the Continental GT Speed. So yes, you get the new e-LSD at the back and yes, it’s still all-wheel-drive. But the Batur is marginally lighter, with its carbon-fibre bodywork moving the mass away from the car’s outer skin by comparison to the Conti. The Speed is an expensive car ordinarily but is ten-times cheaper than the Batur. The hope therefore is for some compelling distinction in the driving experience.
We drove the Continental GT Le Mans Collection immediately before trying the Batur and, truthfully, there are differences. There’s added subtlety to the damping, there’s an extra sense of agility in the steering. You really get the feeling that while the raw numbers are similar – the Batur is only 40kg down at the kerb next to a Speed – every kilo is better-disguise, which is saying something given this prototype has some 18,000 hard testing miles behind it.
Of course, the big difference is the engine, which features new intakes and turbos and beefier cooling. It might only be a jump of 80PS (59kW) over the Speed but it seems to take the Batur over a threshold of sorts, into the realms of a car that’s actually over-engined. Such is the Batur’s positively anabolic barrel chest – the real punch is in the mid-range – that you can actually spin all four wheels on a roll, say, when using full throttle out of a village into a 60 limit in the wet. This is power that tugs at the tread blocks as it lunges the car forward, the tyres snatching and scratching at the road under its rotational force. Never in all the W12’s tenure has it felt quite so ferocious and quite so close to being too much for any Bentley it’s been fitted to, possibly, until now. That gives the Batur a somewhat heartening kinship in character with the turbo nutter barges of Bentley’s immediate pre-VW era.