Talk about living in your car.
The British luxury car brand Bentley is the latest automobile manufacturer racing toward the residential real estate market.
“Bentley DNA doesn’t only need to be in cars,” said Christophe Georges, president and CEO of Bentley’s Americas division. “It’s not only a car, it’s a lifestyle.”
Apparently, that lifestyle is go big and go home.
Currently under construction in Sunny Isles, Miami, the world’s first Bentley Residences will be 70 stories of five-star, EXP 100 GT-inspired opulence.
Forget fighting over street parking with the plebs. The building’s 216 units will all feature attached three- or four-car garages. Like its neighbor, Porsche Design Tower, the structure’s centerpiece is its core of four futuristic car elevators. Other amenities include a whisky bar, restaurant and wellness suite.
“We’re pushing innovation boundaries within the building industry,” said Brett Boydell, Bentley’s head of design collaborations. “Nobody is doing this, and the reason is because it’s incredibly expensive.”
Fortunately, the word “expensive” is a turn-on for Bentley’s customers, many of whom have sets of wheels worth more than the average American home. The new Bentley Residences at 18325 Collins Ave. range from $4.6 million for the three-bed, three-bath Bacalar unit, to $14.4 million for the four-bed, five-baths combo unit.
When it’s finished in 2026, it will be the tallest beachfront high-rise in the country. It will also have the most pools per capita, with each unit boasting its own balcony pool.
But the sexiest feature — for car enthusiasts, at least — will be the floor-to-ceiling glass walls.
“We designed the garage so you can see your cars from your apartment,” said Chris Cooke, Bentley’s product and lifestyle design manager. “You can have your pride and joy on display while you’re relaxing and cooking.”
Cooke and Boydell, who say their customers are very discerning with “huge demands,” drew much of their inspiration from Bentley’s current range of cars — i.e., expect the level of luxury you’d find in the new Flying Spur (MSRP $198,000) and the GT (MSRP $202,000).
“We’ve even gone beyond those cars because we’re working five years in the future,” said Cooke. “This building gives glimpses into the next generation of our cars.”
The biggest challenge for both designers was not making the inside of the building look like the inside of a car, despite using many of the same finishes and materials like wood, glass and leather.
“We want the essence of the Bentley experience without overkill,” said Boydell.
Instead of slapping the Bentley logo everywhere, they’re subtly incorporating its signature diamond motif in everything from the windows to the floor tiles. They’re also working with Dezer Development and Sieger Suarez Architects on the building’s eye-catching exterior. The 749-feet-tall structure will be supported by two wings a la the iconic Bentley badge.
Automobile aficionados will also go gaga for the games room where they can slip on virtual reality headsets and race at speeds greater than 200 mph from behind the wheel of a Bentley Continental GT. “I say it’s for the kids but we may find a lot of adults in there as well,” laughs Boydell. The building’s other over-the-top amenities include a golf simulator, cigar lounge and cinema.
Why Miami? “America is our largest market in the world,” said Georges. “And Florida and California are our two main markets in the US”
Perhaps a better question is this: Do you have to drive a Bentley to move in? The answer is no.
“You won’t be popular,” said Boydell. “But you’re allowed in.”