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Just how customisable is a new Bentley?


Dubai is the epicentre of excess. It's the home of the world's tallest building, the only seven-star hotel and the largest shopping mall.

It's also home to some of the world's most exotic cars — even police get around in a Bugatti.

And buyer tastes range from expensive to downright bizarre in some cases.

Just ask Hans Holzgartner, head of product for Bentley's Mulsanne limousine.

The latest and greatest Bentley, the $733,000 Mulsanne Speed, has an optional entertainment system that costs $43,000.

The outrageous requests for customised Bentleys...can take up to 12 months to build

The rolling lounge room that is the rear seat can be further embellished with a frosted glass bottle cooler at a cost of $22,000 (with crystal champagne flutes, of course). Fold-down picnic tables with iPad docks can be added for another $28,000.

That's just the starting point, Holzgartner says.

His job is to deal with the outrageous requests for customised Bentleys, which can take up to 12 months to build.

By far the wackiest request came from a Middle East customer who wanted a prescription windscreen fitted so she would not have to wear glasses when driving (that went into the "not possible" folder).

There was another Middle East woman who wanted to paint her car the same shade as her favourite nail polish. The problem was she would not part with the bottle (one of the Bentley execs got her to paint his nails so he could show the techs back home).

Or there was the Dualit food blender that turned up in the post one morning. Puzzled craftsmen phoned the customer, who explained he wanted his car painted the same shade of powder blue.

If it's legal and it's do-able, then we'll try

Or how about the man who wanted to incorporate the wood from a tree on his property or the woman who sent some flower petals in the mail and wanted the colour matched?

"The paint guys deserve a medal for that one," says Holzgartner. "If it's legal and it's do-able, then we'll try."

Surprisingly, the one thing Bentley won't come at is gold plating, simply because the precious metal doesn't wear very well — but the paint shop is experimenting with new finishes, such as rose gold.

Described as the world's fastest ultra-luxury driving experience, the Mulsanne is a big — 5.6 metres, 2.7 tonnes — twin turbo V8 sedan.

The Speed version is a step up again, with more power and torque, faster acceleration and an even higher top speed.

Its 7.0-litre V8 produces 395kW of power and a massive 1100Nm of torque, the latter from just 1750rpm.

The combo is capable of catapulting the land yacht from 0-100km/h in a mere 4.9 secs and on to 305km/h.

Despite the expense, Bentley sold more than 10,000 cars worldwide last year, 135 in Australia — 87 coupes and 48 of the larger sedans.

The new Speed is expected here soon.