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Bentley may step down a segment with a new, smaller luxury car that it hopes to have ready by 2019. The British luxury marque's fifth model line, assuming that its SUV ever makes it to market, though, is still in the earliest planning stages.
Kevin Rose, Bentley's head of sales and marketing, spoke with Autocar at the Geneva Motor Show about the proposed new vehicle. "At the moment, our line of thinking is for a smaller car. But smaller doesn't necessarily mean cheaper," he said. The brand believes the price floor of its models should be 100,000 pounds ($167,240).
The smaller Flying B isn't the only project being worked on. Rose hinted that it is considering an even more expensive model above the Mulsanne priced at around 300,000 pounds ($501,735) that would compete with the Rolls-Royce Phantom. "The twin pillars of the Bentley brand are performance and luxuriousness. Any car that offers something unique, with both of those bases well covered, is on the table," he said.
Regardless of whether either of them ever gets built, Rose indicated that new generations of the Continental GT and Flying Spur are currently in development, and they will be the first to debut.Permalink | Email this | Comments
To say the 2014 Geneva Motor Show was packed full of news is an understatement as big as the show's home at the Palexpo convention center. Despite everything that we were able to cover during this year's show, there's still more coming out of Switzerland, including the announcement of the finalists for the 2014 World Car of the Year Awards.
We reported on the original list of finalists over three weeks ago, and now, that initial list has been pared down to three finalists for each of the five awards. The finalists were announced at a press conference by frequent Autoblog contributor and co-chair of the awards, Matt Davis (above).
The finalists for the overall title of 2014 World Car of the Year are the Audi A3, the BMW 4 Series and the Mazda3. The World Luxury Car of the Year will be either the Bentley Flying Spur, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class or the Land Rover Range Rover Sport, while the Performance Car of the Year will be awarded to the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, the Ferrari 458 Speciale or the Porsche 911 GT3 (which, um, yeah...).
Rounding out the trophy contenders are the finalists for World Green Car of the Year, which include the Audi A3 Sportback G-Tron and Audi E-Gas, the BMW i3 and the Volkswagen XL1. Finally, World Car Design of the Year will be contested by the BMW i3, Mazda3 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
The winners will be announced in April, at the 2014 New York International Auto Show. Scroll down for the official press release from the World Car of the Year committee.Permalink | Email this | Comments
While it is hard to call any Bentley entry-level, the Flying Spur V8 that's debuting at the Geneva Motor Show is technically the lowest rung among Bentley's four-doors. However, if our experience with the Continental GT V8 is anything to go by - the Spur and the Conti still share a platform, despite the former dropping "Continental" from its branding - the loss of a few cylinders won't harm the overall experience.
The latest model uses the 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 with cylinder deactivation that produces 500 horsepower and 487 pound-feet of torque. It is capable of accelerating to 60 miles per hour in 4.9 seconds to a top speed of 183 mph. Power is sent to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission, and it rides on an air suspension.
Buyers wanting a little more luxury (and who doesn't?) can opt for the Mulliner Driving Specification that adds diamond-quilted leather, a leather headliner, power rear seats and 20-inch wheels. The Flying Spur V8 will join the Flying B's lineup this spring.Permalink | Email this | Comments
The Bentley SUV
Turns out, in case you didn't know, the rich are just like regular people. They too are concerned about the environment, even when tooling around town in their super-luxurious Bentleys. So the automaker is weighing the idea of offering a diesel engine in its SUV offering, which could help satisfy customers' demands for more fuel-efficient engines.
Chairman and CEO Wolfgang Schreiber told Autoblog in a roundtable interview at the Geneva Auto Show that the automaker is researching whether or not a diesel engine makes sense for the brand. Bentley, owned by the Volkswagen Group, could in theory use a diesel engine from anywhere in the Volkswagen Group family. We at Autoblog have hopes they'll revive the V10 TDI used in the VW Touareg until 2010, but ever-stricter emissions laws would likely make that problematic.
But rich people aren't so much like us that they'll be worried about petty things like pricing. Schreiber admitted the diesel engine could be a $15,000 option, which he said customers would probably find "acceptable." Given that the cheapest Bentley today starts at $177,000, typical customers probably won't be diddling around worrying about an extra 15 grand.
Schreiber verified that the SUV, which was confirmed for production in January, will go on sale in 2017. The SUV, based on the EXP 9 F concept shown in Geneva in 2012, is being designed from the start to include a plug-in hybrid powertrain. Other Bentleys are expected to get the plug-in hybrid powertrain down the line, and the automaker is also considering another four-door sedan or a two-door coupe, but Schreiber said it's too early to talk about what those vehicles may be. The automaker won't follow Maserati's lead and make something radically cheaper, like the Ghibli. "If you go too far away from where we are today, there is too much chance you could disappoint the current customer," Schreiber said.Permalink | Email this | Comments
We know what you must be thinking: another Bentley Continental. And we can hardly argue with you, because that's exactly what this is. But what you're actually looking at is the fastest production Bentley ever.
It's the new Continental GT Speed, and it's just been unveiled in both coupe and convertible form here in Geneva. Its 6.0-liter twin-turbo W12 engine has been tuned to deliver 626 horsepower to all four wheels. That's just five horses more than the previous Continental Supersports, but with all the other enhancements applied to the Conti in the mid-cycle refresh, it's actually faster.
While the previous Supersports could reach 204 miles per hour, the new GT Speed can hit 206. (The revised drop-top GTC Speed is quoted at 203 mph, one tick faster than the Supersports Convertible). Of course none of that will, practically speaking, mean anything in real-world driving (especially considering that Crewe hasn't released any acceleration figures), but is worth that extra bit of bragging rights. It also sets the stage nicely for the next Supersports model, which in this context ought to be even faster and more powerful.Permalink | Email this | Comments