Fairly green and very fast

Bent­ley un­veils a pow­er­ful beast, writesMARKHINCHLIFFE

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page -

AMEAN and green per­for­mance flag­ship will be un­veiled by Bent­ley in the first week of March. Well, it’s semi-green. The new high-per­for­mance coupe will de­but on the open­ing day of the Geneva Mo­tor Show — when Rolls-Royce is also ex­pected to preview is new ‘‘com­pact’’ RR4 — as the Bri­tish brand takes a stand on cut­ting the emis­sions and thirst of its ul­tra-lux­ury cars.

Its cur­rent bench­mark en­gine is a bi-turbo V12 that guz­zles 25 litres of fuel for ev­ery 100km it trav­els, more than four times the thirst of a typ­i­cal com­pact city car.

Like GM Holden, Bent­ley Motors is putting the em­pha­sis on ethanol for its new­comer, which is now known as the ‘‘Ex­treme Bent­ley’’ but could hit the road as the Vic­to­ria.

It will run on ethanol and is be­ing called a bio­fuel car, like the grow­ing num­ber of US and Aus­tralian mod­els which can run on ei­ther tra­di­tional un­leaded or E85 ethanol fuel.

De­spite the green twist, Bent­ley claims the car will be the ‘‘fastest, most pow­er­ful pro­duc­tion car ever’’ from the com­pany with ‘‘su­per­car per­for­mance’’.

A brief in­ter­net video preview of the ve­hi­cle shows a coupe shape, so it is likely to be based on the Con­ti­nen­tal GT and with a 12-cylin­der en­gine, pos­si­bly boosted.

The ta­cho is shown with a 6500-rev limit, rul­ing out any sort of diesel en­gine.

Since ethanol is not as eco­nom­i­cal as un­leaded petrol, Bent­ley’s rep­u­ta­tion for high fuel con­sump­tion will re­main and the car’s green cre­den­tials will rely on its use of ethanol cre­ated from re­new­able en­ergy sources.

The su­per­car is the first sign of Bent­ley’s com­mit­ment to an en­vi­ron­men­tal strat­egy, an­nounced at last year’s Geneva show.

‘‘It will have a flex­fuel driv­e­train with the abil­ity to run on any­thing from 100 per cent petrol to 100 per cent ethanol with no in­ter­rup­tion of per­for­mance,’’ Bent­ley re­gional man­ager Ed Striebig says.

‘‘What sets it aside from the oth­ers (en­vi­ron­men­tal cars) is it is the fastest we have built. It is some­thing we’re quite proud of.’’

(left) the ‘‘Ex­treme Bent­ley’’ is likely to have a coupe shape, (be­low) Bent­ley’s ex­ist­ing bi-turbo V12 en­gine.

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