New model? Bent­ley grilled

Photo gives the first glimpse at a su­per-limo, writes KEVIN HEP­WORTH

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige -

ATEASER cam­paign for the next Bent­ley Ar­nage has started. A shad­owy photo of the grille and front end of the new su­per-limo has been re­leased.

The new car, called the Grand Bent­ley for the pre-launch cam­paign, is only the fifth all-new four­door limou­sine in the com­pany’s 90-year his­tory.

It will sit at the top of the lux­ury mar­que’s range and be aimed di­rectly at its tra­di­tional ri­val, Rolls-Royce.

‘‘This is the all-new Grand Bent­ley. This will be our pin­na­cle prod­uct,’’ says Ed Striebig, re­gional man­ager for Bent­ley in Aus­tralia and New Zealand.

‘‘I think you have to be re­al­is­tic about vol­ume ex­pec­ta­tions at that up­per ech­e­lon of the mar­ket, but we are very con­fi­dent it will re­ceive a good re­cep­tion.’’

Bent­ley has been in des­per­ate need of a Grand Bent­ley for sev­eral years. The age­ing Ar­nage range has strug­gled against newer, more tech­no­log­i­cally ad­vanced prod­ucts such as the Phan­tom from Rolls-Royce.

‘‘I think it should cer­tainly ap­peal to ex­ist­ing Ar­nage own­ers and to those peo­ple who per­haps more re­cently have looked to Rolls-Royce for a pin­na­cle limou­sine prod­uct,’’ Striebig says.

But he also hopes it will at­tract peo­ple who hadn’t con­sid­ered a car from Bent­ley be­cause it is all new and has state-of-the-art tech­nol­ogy.

Striebig would not com­ment on sug­ges­tions the first con­cept model of the new car will be dis­played at one of the world’s peak gath­er­ings for well-heeled car own­ers, the Peb­ble Beach Con­cours d’El­e­gance on Au­gust 16. Bent­ley is a fea­tured mar­que this year.

‘‘We are not ready to an­nounce our plans for mar­ket en­try yet, but there will be more in­for­ma­tion com­ing out within a cou­ple of weeks,’’ was all Striebig would say.

Ar­nage pro­duc­tion of­fi­cially ends in Septem­ber. This will clear space at the fac­tory in Crewe, Eng­land, for the new car, though it is not ex­pected to be avail­able for at least an­other 12 months.

The Ar­nage re­place­ment — it may well re­tain the his­toric name­plate — is ex­pected to be built off a heav­ily mod­i­fied ver­sion of Audi’s mod­u­lar plat­form seen in ev­ery­thing from the new A4 to the next A8.

The V8 en­gine will be a be­spoke Bent­ley power plant. Drive is most likely to be through ZF’s new eight­speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion.

The en­gine is cer­tain to be an E85 flex-fuel-ca­pa­ble unit in the same vein as the re­cently launched Con­ti­nen­tal Su­per­sports.

Though not con­firm­ing the new power plant, Striebig says: ‘‘By 2012 all of our prod­ucts will have flex-fuel ca­pa­bil­ity, in the same way the Su­per Sport has.

‘‘This is very ex­cit­ing. It is a very rare oc­cur­rence. If you look back over the 90-year his­tory of the Bent­ley mar­que there have only been five all-new four-door lim­ou­sines.

‘‘I know that ev­ery­body at the fac­tory— and there have been some 600 peo­ple in­volved di­rectly in de­sign and man­u­fac­tur­ing en­gi­neer­ing — is im­mensely proud.’’

Look into the fu­ture: for the Bent­ley Ar­nage (left) and (above) the first teaser photo of its re­place­ment.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.