Launching the Bentley Batur at the Beams

This year, we launched a very special car at The Beams, with help from Jae5 and TikTok. We explore why the world’s most powerful Bentley is leading the charge on electric vehicle design.

Outside car buffs and the automotive industry, the Bentley Mulliner team is relatively little known. A world-class group of coachbuilding artisans, they create bespoke cars for individual clients, build Classic examples from the brand’s history and create exclusive Limited Editions. The Bentley Batur, which launched at The Beams this November, is an archetypal Mulliner creation: a handmade, fully customisable car designed by one of the world’s most exciting designers. The most powerful Bentley ever built, just eighteen examples of the car will be made for select clients.

The car will be delivered to its exclusive circle of owners from 2023, but it heralds a much larger shift for the British car giant. The Batur introduces a new design aesthetic that will lead the brand’s mission to become fully electric. In 2020, Bentley announced its roadmap to becoming an electric-only, carbon-neutral maker by 2030. For the largest producer of petrol engines in the world, this was a bold step. There has been much speculation about the ways in which the electrification of the UK’s best-loved car might affect its design. On the polished concrete floor of The Beams, we got a first glimpse of these changes at the launch of the Batur. The Director of Design, Andreas Mindt, describes the shape of the coupé as a ‘resting beast stance’:

Picture a lion or tiger, laying low in attack position in long grass. That powerful shape – of ultimate power at rest, that looks fast even when stationary – is one that drives our new interpretation of the classic Bentley power line and haunch.

The clean, uninterrupted bonnet line of the Batur was reflected in the sleek industrial lines of the Beams’ Space One. Chosen for its marriage of luxury and functionality, the venue provided an elevated backdrop for the new car. The space has drive-in access onto a polished concrete floor and a state-of-the-art lighting rig. At the launch, the car was lit from above by a Classic spotlight, so that it appeared to emerge animated from the depths of the warehouse. During filming for the TikTok launch, however, the full lighting capabilities were seen with a coloured light show transforming the warehouse into a futuristic, pulsing environment.

We were delighted to welcome the producer Jae5 to the space, who presented the Tiktok videos, working up a beat and encouraging rappers, producers, singers and dancers to contribute their own riffs to the rhythm. In some shots, you can see the producer taking to the decks in front of our recognisable original factory windows. He explains how he built up the track from noises produced by the car itself:

‘I started with the indicator sound, then I added drums. I feel like the chord progression had to be dark to match the aesthetic of the video – a car running through the whole beat.’

The Batur found a perfect home at The Beams. In one of the videos, we see how the car transforms in character from day to night, the first shot lit from the steel factory windows, and the second in darkness, bathed in red light. In another we watch the Batur drive across the polished concrete floors, highlighting both the smooth drive and the engineering power behind the wheel. The collaboration between the heritage carmakers and Jae5 exemplified the impact and flexibility of The Beams as a centre for new culture.