So we learned today that Bentley’s CEO Wolfgang Durheimer made an appearance and held several press interviews at this year’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance car show and auction. One of the interviews had Durheimer talking about Bentley’s plans with the Continental lineup. Now, more talks with Mr. Bentley himself have popped up, but this time, in regards to Bentley’s plans for alternative powertrains.
In the press interview, Durheimer spoke confidently about Bentley’s future and persistence of keeping the Volkswagen-sourced W12 engine, or 12-cylinders in general.
“I think it will become one of the cornerstones in the brand profile,” said Durheimer. “Besides, a 12-cylinder engine is a sexy engine.” And who could argue?
Further talking about the W12, Bentley has been known to embrace the use of bio-fuels such as E85, citing accolades from both customers and “experts.” However, despite the success with W12 being E85-compatible, Durheimer said that he recognizes that E85 has limitations and suggested that Bentley could be moving away with its efforts in the corn-sourced ethanol.
“It was a clever decision to focus on bio-fuels…The experts and the clients appreciate E85 because it doesn’t only give them the possibility to be environmentally responsible, but it [offers more power]. I like to get customers’ feedback about it,” added Durheimer. “But after having this discussion about the E85 food chain and so on, bio-fuel’s first generation won’t cut it. Period. I’m not sure this horse pulls a second time.”
When asked about any hybrid Bentleys, Durheimer said it is a possibility and that “It might be wise to also do hybrids.”
“We’re lucky we are involved in a group (Volkswagen Group) that has technology in every corner. Every single technology that is available in the group is available to us,” commented Durheimer. “We will jump over the first generation of hybrids and start with the plug-in hybrids.”
To elaborate more, he also added that if Bentley were to pursue hybrid and plug-in technology, the models should be capable of going at least 16 to 19 miles on one charge of electricity alone.
“Maybe in 20 years we will cover 100 km or 62 miles. For the time being, we won’t because nobody can afford the batteries and nobody wants to carry them around.”
Lastly, Durheimer was asked about diesel for Bentley. He replied:
“I wouldn’t reject diesel. If you look at the torque curve of the 6.75-liter V-8, this is what we can have on the diesel side as well. If the new-generation diesels make no smoke, no noise, this matches perfectly with the demands of a Bentley, so why shouldn’t we take it? In Europe and some countries a very large percent of new registrations are diesels.”
Durheimer closed by saying that he wants to make things happen very quickly and wants his R&D staff to have a “high speed for adoption for various technologies.”
– By: Chris Chin