Bentley surges into the future, on a wave of electricity.
Classic British brands have, of late, been enjoying a resurgence in popularity. One can argue that this change is being spurred by members of management who are unafraid to challenge the historical norm of the brands under their purview. One such marque is Bentley, which can now say that they build some of the most sought-after, popular ultra-luxury cars in the world, thanks to a massive reimagination of the brand’s products in the early noughties.
And to ensure it stays at the top of its game, Bentley CEO Wolfgang Dürheimer has confirmed to the press that plug-in hybrid (PHEV) powertrains will soon be made available across its entire range. This quashes earlier reports of Bentley considering an all-electric car, as the CEO was reported as having said it went a little too strongly against the brand’s values.
Dürheimer went on to say, “You will understand if I don’t reveal our entire future product plan here today, but I can say that we are eager to introduce plug-in hybrid technology across all model lines in the next few years. For Bentley, I consider PHEV much more than a transitional technology. It combines the best of both worlds.”
After eschewing the idea of an all-electric Bentley, Dürheimer also dropped the idea of a fully-autonomous model from the brand. “Technology in isolation is cold, and can never be truly luxurious. We must never lose the human touch.” This is in stark contrast to rivals Rolls-Royce, which has experimented with EV powertrains in the past (remember the Phantom 102EX?), and publicly declaring its admiration of electric propulsion for its instant torque and eerie silence.
The PHEV strategy by Bentley will likely begin with the Continental GT and GTC, which will likely use the same PHEV powertrain employed in the Porsche Cayenne, capable of 305kW. Followed by the two-doors will likely be the Bentayga, though the introduction of a PHEV Bentayga won’t be until 2018. The year after will see the introduction of a Bentayga Coupé, which should also bundle the availability of a PHEV powertrain.