Through the use of additive manufacturing (AM), Bentley will install up to 210g of 18ct yellow gold inside the coach-built Mulliner Batur coupe.
Just 18 £1.65m, W12-engined Baturs are being made. Customers can decide if they want 3D-printed gold to be added to a number of driver touchpoints, including the Charisma Dial, which encircles the start/stop button and is used by the driver to change driving modes. Gold can also be applied to the Bentley’s Organ Stop vent controls on the dashboard or as a gold insert on the steering wheel.
Bentley Mulliner has worked with goldsmiths Cooksongold to produce the unique parts for the Batur. All of the gold is sustainably sourced and is 100% recycled from old jewelry, which is ground down and turned into a powder for the 3D printing technique. As it is recycled, the use of gold within the production process ensures there is no environmental impact caused by mining for new precious metals.
Each 3D gold part is digitally designed using CAD models, before they are printed using a process with laser melting printers. The components are then hand finished by jewelers, using traditional techniques to achieve a high-quality, polished finish. The pieces are all hallmarked in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter as a sign of having solid material authenticity.
In February 2022, Bentley invested a further £3m (US$3.7m) to double AM capacity at its Crewe factory to enable 3D CAD models to be converted into physical parts.
“Bentley’s approach to additive manufacturing is industry leading, evident through our pioneering use of a luxury metal in the design and development process of the Batur,” explained Dr Matthias Rabe, member of the board for R&D at Bentley Motors. “One of the key benefits is that it is efficiency led, cutting down on the cost and complexity of a myriad of jobs but maintaining the value of a rare resource.
“As Bentley embraces an exciting future, we see huge potential in advanced, innovative technologies. Processes such as 3D printed gold will be a springboard that allows our customers an even greater ability to personalize, further enhancing the individualization program offered on every car.”