Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hot News: Bentley Plans 3 New Cars

The Bentley empire is spreading! Bosses are hard at work plotting models with bodystyles new to the marque – but it won’t be the usual VW technology underneath.

The cars will be underpinned by Porsche architecture – a fact confirmed to us by the new CEO of Bentley, Wolfgang Dürheimer, who is also outgoing head of R&D at Porsche.

First on the agenda, as we reported in Issue 1,136, will be a £150,000 five-door coupé version of the Continental GT. It was originally thought that Bentley would base this car on a version of the VW Group’s modular longitudinal platform that underpins the Audi A7 and the upcoming A9. But in light of the new boss’s revelation, it’s almost certain the next-generation Panamera will be the donor.

Petrol engine choices are expected to include a reworked version of the current W12 – with upwards of 600bhp – as well as the new turbocharged 4.0-litre V8, set to debut early next year in the Continental GT. An oil-burner shouldn’t be ruled out, either, after VW Group chairman, Dr Ferdinand Piech, told us recently: “You will see diesel at Bentley.”

A crossover is also under consideration, based on the Cayenne, although this Bentley 4x4 will have an even more luxurious interior and use the same engine range as the five-door coupé. The Cross Continental badge has been touted, along with a price of around £120,000.

Last, but certainly not least, is a £90,000 coupé to slot into the range below the Continental GT. This would be aimed squarely at the likes of the Maserati GranTurismo and Mercedes SL63 AMG. It should be a volume seller for Bentley, and could push annual registrations way beyond the 10,000 peak recorded in 2007.

Don’t expect to see this new family of models until the next Panamera arrives in 2015. In the meantime, the second-generation Continental GT will spawn new versions of the GTC drop-top and Flying Spur saloon, with similar styling and mechanical tweaks. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express