Compact pair boosts Bentley
TWO new models, an SUV and a quick coupe — both relatively compact — are racing to join the Bentley family.
As Bentley works to get its full-size Bentayga SUV ready for the road — and bush — in the final months of this year, the historic British brand confirms there are a smaller SUV and a production version of its EXP 10 Speed 6 concept in the offing.
The two models are likely to be twinned for development over a common mechanical platform, with the Speed 6 slightly ahead in the betting for production in 2017 at the earliest.
“It is a head-to-head race. It’s not a question of which one we do, but which one we do first,” says Bentley CEO Wolfgang Durheimer.
“November 27 is start of production for Bentayga. We are evaluating two (further models). One is an SUV derivative and the other is Speed 6.
“I think Speed 6 is a good idea and this is also the opinion of our customers. We are experiencing stunning results from this market research.”
Bentley sales chief Kevin Rose concurs: “We had a lot of customers who said, ‘I want that now.’ With these two cars we approach 20,000 cars (annual production). This means our company doubles its size with Speed 6.
“We are spending £840 million on new production, engineering centre and new design centre. A lot of new products are in the pipeline.
“The best years of Bentley are still to come. We think we can be a very serious player in this luxury segment.”
Among the developments are plug-in hybrid versions of each model, to cut emissions and fuel use and to boost performance by using an electric motor as a type of supercharger.
“You can never have enough power in a Bentley. We will use it for both because it’s available, also, as a booster,” says Durheimer.
“It’s not a secret to say we are working on plug-in hybrids to apply where it is necessary. We need to comply with international rules.”
Despite the introduction of plug-ins, starting with the Bentayga SUV, Durheimer says speed still comes before green power at Bentley.
“We are sticking to our philosophy that we will have big engines in the future. Every car that comes into the market has more power and less CO2. That’s a written rule in Bentley.”
But there will be no pure electric Bentley. “Our customers have between six and eight cars (in the garage). If they need an electric car to commute, they will find one (from owner) Volkswagen Group.”
Small is a relative term: Bentley Speed 6 concept