Autocar reports that the Bentley Arnage will be replaced with a new model for the 2010 model year. Amid speculation that the Veyron-engined Arnage built recently and described by Bentley as a “prototype” is an indication of the next-generation Arnage’s powerplant – almost 1000 hp – the word is that the 2010 Arnage will have an aluminum spaceframe chassis produced by Audi, an aluminum body, and possibly a hybrid version of the current 6.75 liter V-8 using the transmission developed for the Audi Q7 hybrid or the hybrid transmission currently under development for the next Audi Quattro.
Autocar cites Audi’s chief of engineering, Michael Dick, as a source for the spaceframe information. Dick has recently said that Audi’s spaceframe would be the basis for all new Bentleys, saving about 330 lbs. in weight. Bentley has also disclosed that it will display a concept model which emphasizes “green” thinking at the 2008 Geneva Motor Show. It is also expected that there may be major modifications made to the Bentley factory, both to accommodate the next Arnage and to accommodate production of other future Bentley models which will be based on the same spaceframe.
Despite the recent appearance of a Veyron-engined prototype version of the current Arnage, Bentley’s boss, Franz-Joseph Paefgen, has said that the company intends to keep the 6.75 liter powerplant used in the current model, but retune it to meet 2009 European Union emissions standards. That will be quite a feat for an engine that was first introduced fifty years ago. Even more challenging will be the next set of emissions standards. But, the company is currently working, according to Paefgen, on meeting the 2013-15 EU emissions standards with the 6.75 liter engine. “All our engineers want to keep the engine alive,” he said. Perhaps the W16 from the Veyron is merely a fall-back plan.
Introducing a model smaller than the current Bentleys, however, seems to be a plan that’s been rejected. Though Bentley anticipates that it may need to improve fuel efficiency by 20%, it does not intend to downsize the cars. “We may need to shed weight, but we still need to produce cars of a Bentley size,” according to Paefgen.