Mulliner Could Build A Limited-Edition Bentley Mulsanne Convertible
In 2012, Bentley showcased a teaser of a Mulsanne-based convertible at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, getting everyone excited about a successor to the stately and elegant Azure. Originally slated for low-volume production, the drop-top was cancelled a year later, when Wolfgang Durheimer was replaced by Wolfgang Schreiber as Bentley CEO. The model came back into focus at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show, where Bentley introduced the Grand Convertible concept, but Bentley declined rumors to turn it into a production model.
Come 2016 and a Mulsanne-based drop-top is again a possibility. That’s the word from Car and Driver, which claims that Durheimer’s return at the helm of the British brand will finally spawn a Bentley-badged competitor for the Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe. According to the source, the CEO is currently studying the possibility of having the Mulliner division built a small batch of only 20 convertibles that will be sold "to absolute connoisseurs at a very high price."
The publication goes on to speculate that the Mulsanne cabriolet will hit the market by 2018 and cost somewhere around £1 million, which converts to nearly $1.5 million. There’s no word as to what nameplate it will carry, but Azure seems to be the obvious choice if Bentley wants to make use of its rich heritage.
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Early next year, Bentley is set to release the 2017 Bentayga here on the U.S. market. With a starting price of $229,100 and power coming from a V-12, gasoline engine, the Bentayga will be one of the baddest SUVs on the market.
However, Bentley’s lead engineer, Peter Guest, has now confirmed that Bentley is actively testing diesel prototypes of the Bentayga. No major details about the diesel engine have been released, except that it will use an electric turbocharger. The technology goes by the short-hand name of e-charging and is also expected to be used on the diesel variant of Audi’s new Q7 crossover next year.
E-charging is a new technology, but it was demonstrated by Audi last year on the 3.0-liter TDI that was available in the 2015 Audi A6. By e-boosting, Audi was able to increase the 3.0’s horsepower rating to 385 and virtually eliminate lag and the lack of low-end torque that has plagued turbocharged engines in the past. The downside to e-boosting is that it requires a 48-volt system to operate, as it draws upward of 7 to 8 kilowatts of power. It’s because of this that it isn’t currently offered on more diesel models. The Bentayga already has a 48-volt system by design, however, as it was needed for the SUV’s dynamic ride system.
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Bentley has been working on its upcoming SUV in increasingly public places, and this time, our spy photographers have captured the beast nearly void of heavy camouflage. Sure, the cladding this still there, but we certainly have a better idea of what to expect.
The Bentley SUV was caught in Southern Europe apparently hot-weather testing under fully loaded conditions. Check out how low the SUV sits sunken down. Perhaps Bentley engineers are testing its brakes and cooling capabilities on that twisty European road. Or maybe the SUV is tucking those large rims, thanks to an air suspension system designed to make the top-heavy truck perform like a Continental GT.
While Bentley has announced it’s bringing an SUV to market, its name has yet made its debut. Most speculation centers on the name “Falcon,” but other possibilities exist. We do know the Bentley SUV will share its platform with the Audi Q7, the new Volkswagen Touareg, and the next-generation Porsche Cayenne. Also for sure is Bentley’s goal of a 200-plus mph SUV.
Getting such a vehicle up to 200 mph will require plenty of grunt, meaning either a twin-turbocharged V-8 or a massive W-12 engine. It’s likely both will be offered, with the V-8 being the standard mill and the W-12 the costlier engine upgrade.
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“Wait, didn’t that headline read ‘Bentley’?” Yes, it sure did. At first glance, this is just an Audi Q7 mule out for testing somewhere in England. Look closer though, and a few things start to look suspicious. First up are those UK plates. Audi is German, but Bentley hails from the land of tea and crumpets. Those fenders are also looking quite wide compared to a standard Q7. Perhaps this is just a clever disguise by the Volkswagen Group to hide Bentley’s first-ever SUV.
Diving into the details of the pictures reveals larger air intakes below the headlights. Also expanded are those fenders that cover a larger and wider wheel and tire package. Why have larger air intakes and wheels? At the mule-testing stage, it isn’t a design feature but a mechanical one. A premium Bentley will require the biggest and best brakes to slow the roll from a massive engine not normally found in the Q7’s engine bay.
This isn’t the first time we’ve suggested VW Group might be putting the 6.0-liter, W-12 engine into the Bentley off-roader. Remember, that engine is twin-turbocharged, and large intercoolers will be needed to keep temperatures in check.
However, this is basically an educated guess as to what Audi/Bentley/VW Group is up to. Stay tuned to TopSpeed for any further developments.
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We automotive industry folk like to read between the lines to dig up stories and sometimes we’re right, but a lot of the time we’re off the mark. One between-the-lines story is surrounding the much debated Bentley EXP 9F and its relation to the extra week that the Crewe, England plant will be shut down this summer.
Automotive plant shutdowns are no huge ordeal, as they have become pretty much commonplace in the modern automotive world. These shutdowns are designed to help reduce costs during low-production times, which are normally toward the end of the summer. The Bentley plant in Crewe, England typically closes its doors in August for two weeks to allow workers to rest and to help keep costs down, but this year that time frame has been extended to three weeks.
That would normally be chalked up as additional cutbacks, but the reasons given for the extra time off included enabling a number of facility changes in preparation for future productivity increases. Well, Bentley is not one to put out a new model each and every year and their productivity level does not change each year, so the only reason productivity would increase would be the addition of a new model. Add in the fact that the only new model that we know of in development is the EXP 9F, and you can see why we think that this extra shutdown is to get ready for the production phase of this love-it-or-hate-it SUV.
As we said earlier, we could be completely incorrect, but that slip of the tongue by Bentley is pretty telling. This is especially telling when dealing with a company that only sells fewer than 10,000 cars per year.
We’ll keep you updated with any new information or rumors that may pop up around the possible release of the EXP 9F as more news becomes available.
Bentley Motors has announced that they will build a two-seater sports car said to rival the Ferrari 458 Italia not only in terms of performance, but design as well. The legendary automaker has not built sports cars since its racing glory days, but the signs have been clear. Bentley has a storied racing past and is a thriving company today thanks to high selling models like the Continental GT. The company is poised to re-invest a significant portion of profits towards the development of this new car and has already enlisted the help of its parent company, Volkswagen, and their Cup racing team to develop certain components.
Recent years have seen Bentley push the envelope in terms of power and performance, especially with the introduction of models like the Continental GT Speed. Consider also that for no apparent reason, Bentley broke the World Ice Speed record in a convertible powered by bio-fuel. It now appears that these introductions were more than just publicity stunts, but may have been used as testing for technologies to be used in the new “Turbo R” model.
Rumors circulating around the Crewe, England factory seem to point towards the new model resurrecting the legendary Turbo R moniker. The most recent model to hold this name was built between 1985 and 1997. It used a turbocharged 6.75 liter V8 engine, that can propel the car from 0-60 mph within 6.7 seconds, with a top speed of 152 mph. This was something to be very proud of back in the day, but expect the latest model to be a whole different animal.
This could certainly be a new chapter for Bentley Motors and if they are able to successfully develop a car that can challenge the Ferrari 458 and others like the McLaren MP12-4C than they may begin racing once again. The last Le Mans series that Bentley was in was 2003 and with the development of new performance and racing technology, we hope that the brand will return to the track in the next several years. We’ll be sure to pass along any more information revealed as soon as we get it.
UPDATE 04/01/2011: April Fool’s!! This is 100% not true, but would be kind of cool!
For those of you pining for a Bentley four-door coupe, all your prayers just might end up being answered. The luxury marquee from the UK is tinkering with the possibility of releasing a four-door coupe to complement its existing line-up and, at the same time, enter a new market ripe with possibilities.
The rumor first gained ground at the Paris Motor Show when Dr. Franz-Josef Paefgen, head of Bentley, told Auto Express of the company’s plans of introducing a new model that would be slotted just below the brand’s two luxury cars, the Continental and the Mulsanne.
The new car will be powered by a 4.0-liter turbo V8 that is being co-developed with Audi with a power output of somewhere around 450 horsepower. Likewise, the four-door coupe will also share the same platform with the Audi A7 Sportback, all while taking into consideration the company’s efforts in making the car the lightest and most fuel-efficient vehicle out on the market.
Despite the report, we’ll reserve our judgments until Bentley makes the car official. When that would be is still anyone’s guess.
Bentley’s footballer vehicle, the Continental GT, might be getting a few upgrades from its new sister company. The company might equip the new V8 with Audi’s dual-clutch S Tronic transmission. Testing is currently underway to see how well the transmission works in the V8 GT.
The biggest challenger facing engineers is the underbody of the vehicle. The six-speed ZF gearbox is a different shape than the S Tronic, meaning the underbody of the GT will need to be reworked. Still, the benefits of having such a transmission are numerous, such as a better driving experience that could help Bentley market the GT to a more sporting audience.
“The V8 will find a new audience for us. There are sports car enthusiasts out there, particularly in the US, who won’t buy a sports car unless it’s powered by a V8,” says Bentley’s new sales and marketing boss Alasdair Stewart to Autocar.
The price of the V8 is likely to be set below the W12 and it will go on sale in early 2012.
The world of super luxury sedans might be a thing of the past for Bentley. The company decided to focus on performance vehicles, as well as run on an 18-month production cycle.
Bentley researchers found that owners of two-door Continentals tend to keep their cars around 12 to 18 months. After that, their desire for a new, high priced car has them shopping around, hence the new production cycle. Furthermore, the report also says that when Bentley made a coupe and a convertible of the same model, some customers bought both.
This new cycle and customer habits are part of the reason for the new 2011 Bentley Continental Supersports Convertible, a variant on the Supersports, which is the fast version of the GT. The drop-top Supersports will cost around $280,000 and will come only a year after we got the base $267,000 Supersports.
All of these performance cars might be a sign of things to come for the company, as they look to get back to their fast car roots.
Bentley will look to separate themselves from Rolls-Royce, as the two have long been linked together. It’s been nearly a decade since Rolls went off to join BMW and Bentley was swooped up Volkswagen.
Bentley global director of planning, Richard Leopold believes that the change to more speed-focused models will help the company move away from luxury vehicles and closer to Maserati and Lamborghini. He says that buyers of those Italian brands might be willing to consider moving to sportier Bentleys.
Whatever Bentley decides to do, they need to hurry up. The old Continental is seven years old and sales are down due to the economic crisis. We hope to have more news soon.
It seems that shooting brake models are a hit lately. The two-door wagons are coming out of the woodwork and everyone seems to want to jump on that wagon (literally and figuratively speaking). The latest company to hitch a ride? Why, Bentley, of course. It seems that they are thinking of a shooting brake concept to wow Bentley and wagon lovers alike and not the type that arrived with the Bentley Continental Flying Star by Touring Superleggera.
"We have an idea in the back of our minds that we may yet bring to market," Stuart McCullough, VW Board Member said.
He also said that the design that’s been kicking around for a little while goes “a lot further” than the Touring-built concept and would be entirely Bentley from conception to assembly.
However, it is not clear on what model the new shooting brake version will be based on as the new Mulsanne platform will be used to develop a convertible and a coupe version and the Continental is nearing the end of its lifespan. Is this the hopeful dreams of a solitary Bentley member or a hint of what’s to come for the all-powerful Bentley? We’ll just have to wait and see.