Bentley, which is aiming for 10,000 sales annually, is stuck being optimistic with sales reaching just above 6,000 units a year. To dig its way out of this dilemma, the Volkswagen owned brand is now considering down-sizing and down-pricing its vehicles. For those of you thinking “YES! I can finally own a Bentley,” we’d like to point out that “down-pricing” for Bentley means something in the $110,000-$130,000 bracket.
Sources have told Automobile Magazine that Bentley is considering a small model, internally known as the New Compact Bentley (NCB). The model will debut around 2014 with production output restricted to 7,500 units annually.
The big bosses at Bentley don’t want the styling of the NCB to be anywhere close to the Continental/Flying spur, which means designers will start with a clean slate to create a two-door and a four-seat shooting brake variant. A four-door, and a 5-seat crossover are also on the drawing board.
Audi will help out with the crossover and the V8 engine that will power the NCB. Insiders say that engine choices may come from a new 4.0L twin-turbo Audi V8 making 550-hp and 480 lb-ft after being modified. A diesel model is also being considered, but only if diesels become more popular in North America. A plug-in hybrid model is also a possibility.
Transmission choices will include an 8-speed automatic rather than a dual-clutch gearbox. Air suspension is being considered for the NCB to improve ride and handling quality – it will also provide extra ground clearance for the crossover.
What are your thoughts? Should Bentley do a smaller ultra-luxury model along with a crossover? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
– By: Kap Shah