There’s something about wood which adds classiness to a car’s interior. Perhaps it brings to mind the days when wood was the primary material for trim, instead of plastic and metal, and it was handcrafted rather than moulded. Wood trim is a mark of luxury and therefore a must for the prestigious brands.
So far, wood panels have had flat surfaces, polished or natural but now Bentley is offering a ground-breaking new Three-Dimensional Wood trim with the all-new Flying Spur. Used for the rear door trim, Three-Dimensional Wood is a world-first in the automotive sector.
Available from Bentley Mulliner Collections
The trim has a striking, diamond-shaped pattern enhanced with a three-dimensional surface finish machined directly into the wood. The new option is one of the unique veneer choices from the Bentley Mulliner Collections and forms a contemporary luxury design statement, bringing tactility to the natural beauty of wood.
Each rear door and quarter panel is handcrafted from a single block of sustainable American Walnut or American Cherry timber, in a harmonious marriage of traditional skills and modern technology. The Three-Dimensional Wood parts are not made using veneers, as is typically applied to the fascia and waist rails. Instead, each is created from a single block of timber.
The concept for 3D-machined wood was first shown in Bentley’s EXP 10 Speed 6 concept car at the Geneva Motor Show in 2015. The distinctive feature was inspired by the form of leather used for the diamond-quilted areas in Bentley’s Mulliner Driving Specification interior suite.
18 months of development
Three-Dimensional Wood required 18 months of production development by expert technical craftsmen before Bentley Mulliner could then bring the complex concept to reality. To achieve the three-dimensional surface, skilled operators carve the wood with a multi-axis routing machine to a tolerance of 0.1 mm, less than the thickness of a human hair, hand-finishing the cuts for perfect results. An open-pore lacquer is then applied, allowing the true colour and texture of the wood to shine through for a refined, natural appearance.
The back or ‘B surface’ of the log is machined to match a die-cast aluminium door panel template. The timber is then bonded to the template before the assembly is placed back into the machine and the front or ‘A surface’ is cut into its three-dimensional form.
Highest quality sustainable timbers
Both American Walnut and American Cherry timber are sustainably sourced from North American hardwood forests. Bentley selects only the very finest timbers, with no knots or resin inclusions through the depth of the wood. Only these logs offer an attractive grain and smooth finish, plus a natural texture and warm colour to complement the superbly appointed Flying Spur cabin.
American Walnut and American Cherry are both popular growing stock in North America, offering an abundant supply of sustainable wood. American Cherry woodland is increasing by more than 7 million cubic metres each year after harvest, while American Walnut is increasing by 3 million cubic metres.
American Walnut is one of the most sought-after species of wood in markets around the world. It is darker than European Walnut, as well as tough, hard and of medium density. American Cherry is highly prized for furniture and interior joinery – the wood finish varies from rich red to reddish brown.
From concept to production reality
“Three-Dimensional Wood is the next interior design element we’ve taken from concept car idea to production reality. It works in perfect harmony with the three-dimensional leather quilting across the cabin of the Flying Spur and creates an even more special environment for those being driven,” explained Bentley’s Head of Interior Design for the Flying Spur, Brett Boydell.
“The principle of milling a geometric three-dimensional diamond form into solid wood was so well received at Geneva, it confirmed the value in translating the concept into reality for the customers of Bentley’s all-new Flying Spur,” he said.