A plug-in hybrid petrol V6 is a possible route
O n e’s a n SU V, th e o th e r i s a s p o r t s c a r. B u t w h i c h c o m e s f i r s t?
BENTLEY WA NTS TO A DD two further new models to its existing line-up. They will join the Continental GT, Mulsanne and Bentayga models.
The two options on the table are a coupe-like SUV based on the new Bentayga and a new sports coupe first mooted with the EXP 10 Speed 6 concept (pictured) shown at Geneva in 2015. However, either would require the Bentayga to hit its production targets in order to pay for development and the required expansion at Crewe.
Speaking at the Geneva motor show, CEO Dr Wolfgang Dürheimer confirmed that he wants to decide which new model will be built first by the end of the year. The likelihood is that the coupe-suv will get the nod as it will utilise the Bentayga’s platform and further maximise cash flow to fund the all-new sports coupe.
‘When we showed the EXP 10 Speed 6, everyone said we had to build it,’ said Dürheimer. ‘But we don’t have a honeyand-milk pipe from VW Group and we have to pay for our new models and make a business plan for them.’ Part of the EXP 10’s development could be shared with Porsche, which, despite the Mission E concept having been retired from the show circuit, is working on an electric sports car that at the end of 2015 was given the go-ahead for production.
Bentley is also looking at a hybrid powertrain. A full EV, however, has been ruled out. ‘Too much weight, not enough performance for a Bentley,’ said Dürheimer. ‘I think the industry is going down the wrong path with EVS. They sound positive about it but I think it’s the wrong direction.’ A petrol V6 with plugin hybrid technology is a possible route. ‘With this combination we can deliver the expected power output of a Bentley. Reducing the number of cylinders on the engine reduces a small amount of weight to compensate for the electric motors and battery pack. Within VW Group we have access to some very clever technology.
‘Our customers are early adopters of technology, but only when it works and offers them a clear benefit. When we introduce a hybrid, it will be at a point when the customer is demanding it and we are able to deliver what they expect.’