British carmakers transform car buying experience through digital customisation

Bentley and Rolls-Royce allow you to build your own virtual car from scratch.

Rolls-Royce's home market flagship has spearheaded advanced contact methods and services from its temporary location in the capital’s luxury quarter of Mayfair (Photo: Rolls-Royce)

Aside from their superlative vehicles, the appeal of luxury marques is their levels of service and customisation – you can get anything you want done, with an experienced consultant guiding you through the entire process. It may be a car you’re buying, but the human element, right from the personalised craftsmanship to its service, makes up a lot of what you pay for.

Covid-19 and the resulting lockdowns have required a complete mindset shift on the luxury carmakers’ part, because customers expect same levels of individual attention they would have received in pre-pandemic times. In recent months, British marques Bentley and Rolls-Royce have created unique digital platforms of their own to continue their close connection to clients, coinciding with the launch of the new Bentayga and Ghost models.


To celebrate the regional launch of the new Bentayga SUV, Bentley Motors Asia Pacific has introduced, for the first time, an interactive virtual experience so customers may explore the car from the comfort of their own homes. Available on until Jan 4, the entire experience includes detailed explanations on various aspects of the new Bentayga by Bentley experts, as well as the chance to build your own virtual car from scratch.


A screenshot of how the customisation website looks like (Photo: Bentley)

“The new Bentayga has been reimagined to offer the ultimate in power, luxury and usability,” says Calista Tambajong, the marque’s head of marketing for Asia Pacific. “As these unprecedented times have given rise to changing media consumption habits, we are inspiring our customers and Bentley enthusiasts to embark on a virtual adventure. Each individual may be drawn to different aspects of the new Bentayga; through the interactive virtual experience, we are imparting freedom to out audience to choose the way they explore the new car.”

Virtual experience aside – which, it must be said, it a truly absorbing and enjoyable activity – once the chance presents itself, we think a test drive of this mighty beast is worth leaving the house for. Unveiled globally earlier this June, the facelifted Bentayga is the first model under Bentley’s Beyond100 plans. This model has emerged to be one of the carmaker’s most popular, and since its launch five years ago, more than 20,000 units have been hand-crafted at the marque’s headquarters in Crewe.

Combining the abilities of a performance grand tourer, luxury limousine, family car and off-roader, the new Bentayga gets its striking, dynamic looks from a new design language that combines elements from the third generation Continental GT and the new Flying Spur. Meanwhile, the interiors have also been significantly revised, with the major changes consisting of a new centre fascia, steering wheel, door trims and seats. A new digital display includes super high-resolution and dynamic graphics, configurable to suit driver preferences. The car is powered by Bentley’s 4-litre, 32-valve dual twin-scroll turbocharged V8 petrol engine, which is mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Expect a top speed of 290km/h, 0-100km/h in 4.5 seconds, and an impressive range of 639km.


As Rolls-Royce Motor Cars London finalises its relocation to an all-new boutique, the marque’s home market flagship has spearheaded advanced contact methods and services from its temporary location in the capital’s luxury quarter of Mayfair. The arrival of new Ghost has accelerated the trend of communicating via highly secure digital platforms that respond to the demands of dynamic entrepreneurs attracted to this remarkable new car.


It's possible to commission a highly Bespoke motor car without leaving the comfort of one’s home (Photo: Rolls-Royce)

The highly personal Bespoke commissioning process, which lies at the heart of nearly every Rolls-Royce, is increasingly being undertaken via encrypted digital messaging services. Clients unable to participate in face-to-face meetings with the London showroom’s product experts share images and ideas, which are passed to the Bespoke Collective of Designers, Engineers and Craftspeople at the Home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood, West Sussex. The marque responds with design sketches and material samples, which are couriered to clients for review. Once the aesthetic direction is agreed upon, clients are able to sign a commitment digitally. Via Rolls-Royce Motor Cars London, it is possible to commission a highly Bespoke motor car without leaving the comfort of one’s home.

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars London also offers a full virtual showroom experience from its temporary location, which will be carried over to its permanent Mayfair home on Berkeley Street, just a stone’s throw from its current location. Its most popular service is a full virtual ‘walkaround’ briefing via secure video conferencing, familiarising existing and prospective clients with the manifold hidden-until-requested technologies within all products in the marque’s portfolio.

The London showroom also offers Effortless Servicing. Using the client’s preferred communication channel, be it the marque’s proprietary Whispers application, secure digital messaging or telephone, a team will arrange for client’s motor cars to be collected by a team of highly trained driving specialists, serviced, fully detailed and sanitised before being returned at their convenience. Should the client not wish to be without a Rolls-Royce, a model fitting their requirements will be made available.

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