Big Surprise: Bentley Is Considering An SUV to Replace the Now Defunct Mulsanne Sedan
Well, I predicted this last week. I guess you should call me Miss Clioby Robert Moore, on
Last week, we reported on Bentley’s cancellation of the Mulsanne and speculated a bit on what was coming next. In that very article, I speculated that Bentley would have been in hot water if it wasn’t for the Bentayga, and the company would likely build another SUV. Well, folks, I was right. In an interview with Car & Driver, Adrian Hallmark, the big-boss of Bentley, has said that flagship status could be given to a new luxury SUV that will sit above the Bentayga. There’s a twist, though, and you need to know about it.
What Is Going to Replace the Bentley Mulsanne?
In the interview with C&D, Hallmark was very clear that Bentley was looking to compete in the $300,000+ luxury segment with a new model. It obviously can’t be a sedan as if that was the case, canceling the Mulsanne wouldn’t make much sense. It also won’t be another sports car, and it won’t be the company’s first EV, either. The Bentley EV is expected sometime in 2025 and will feature a “brave design,” so you can see where this is going, right?
It will not be a sports car; we will not build sports cars. SUVs were 47 percent of our sales last year. If you look at the segment below us, it's about 50 percent. So the clear indication is that both premium-car buyers and luxury-car buyers now see SUVs as being far more attractive.”
So, now we know that Bentley thinks it can build and sell a $300,000+ SUV with great success, but when are we going to see it, and if it’s not an EV, what will be under the hood?
|Bentley Mulsanne||Bentley Mulsanne Speed|
|Engine||6.75-liter twin-turbo V-8||6.75-liter twin-turbo V-8|
|Displacement||6,752 cc||6,752 cc|
|Power||505 HP @ 4,000 RPM||530 HP @ 4,000 RPM|
|Torque||752 LB-FT @ 1,750 RPM||811LB-FT @ 1,750 RPM|
|0 to 60 mph||5.1 seconds||4.8 seconds|
|0 to 100 mph||11.6 seconds||11.1 seconds|
|Top Speed||184 mph||190 mph|
When Will we See Bentley’s New Flagship SUV?
At this point, nothing is set in stone, and Bentley hasn’t really started putting serious work into designing its new flagship SUV. Hallmark has indicated that it won’t come until after the company introduces its first EV, which, as you already know, isn’t going to happen until 2025. Bentley could start working on the new, large SUV anytime, though, so we may not have to wait years for the SUV to arrive after the EV – we could actually see it as soon as 2026, just a year after the EV launches.
What Will Power Bentley’s New Flagship SUV?
If you were holding out hope that Bentley’s W-12 engine would find its way to its new flagship SUV in 5-7 years, I’m sorry to tell you, but that’s not going to happen. In fact, Hallmark has officially confirmed that the W-12 is going to be phased out in the near future.
”For 100 years we have tried to make engines bigger and more powerful. For the next ten years, we're going to try and make them disappear.”
So, if it’s not going to be a W-12, then what will it be? Well, Hallmark stopped short of spilling all the beans and, to be honest, it’s way too early for anything to be definite, but we do know this: It’s not going to be all-electric, and Bentley is committed to offering a plug-in hybrid powertrain in every one of its models by 2023.
As to what the hybrid powertrain will be, we’ll you can probably expect an evolution of the V-6 hybrid setup that’s found in the Bentley Bentayga Hybrid. The hybrid powertrain combines that V-6 engine (good for 335 horsepower) and a 126-kilowatt electric motor for a total system output of 443 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. The Bentayga Hybrid is able to sprint to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds and tops out at an impressive 158 mph. For the new flagship SUV, Bentley could supply an additional electric motor or a slightly larger one to up the total system output but, if anything, the V-6 will simply be refined and regulated to provide better fuel economy and fewer emissions.
|Engine||3.0-liter V-6 gasoline mill and an E Motor|
|0 to 60 mph||5.2 seconds|
|Top Speed||158 mph|
|Range (electric only)||31 miles|
This is it, folks, Bentley as a company is truly changing. The legendary W-12 engine will slowly fade away, and hybrid V-6 engines will take its place. The real interesting thing, however, is that this new flagship SUV won’t launch for at least six years or so, and literally anything can happen between now and then.
Source: Car & Driver