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Bentley plan for electric and hybrid car roll-out is well advanced

Adam Towler
13 Sep 2017
Bentley Continental GT - Frankfurt Motor Show

Bentley can be a 'Leader of electrification in the luxury sector' according to CEO Wolfgang Dürheimer

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At the Frankfurt motor show Bentley CEO, Wolfgang Dürheimer, confirmed the firm’s first electrified production model will be a Bentayga Hybrid, powered by the V6 turbo and electric motor powertrain known from the Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid. The new Continental GT will be the next model to get that hybrid package, where we can expect the electrically-boosted V6 to pack over 500bhp, matching another forthcoming Conti GT model: the twin-turbo V8, due a little later. There are no plans to offer a diesel GT, as the fuel type has “had its peak”, in Dürheimer’s view, and oil burners will be confined to the Bentayga model line for the foreseeable future.

While current Bentley hybrids will use six-cylinder internal combustion engines, Dürheimer points out there’s no reason why they wouldn’t match electrification with a larger cylinder count. Porsche’s latest V8 turbo hybrid powertrain in the new Panamera Turbo S E Hybrid would surely make a formidable partner for a range of Bentleys, and the boss also raises the possibility of mating one of the company’s beloved W12s with battery power. Crewe is the VW Group’s 12-cylinder specialist, and the W12 engine is very much here to stay, apparently tuneable up to 800bhp in its latest evolution. With Hybrid power on top, what chance the 1000bhp Bentley in the future? 

Looking further afield, any plans for a smaller SUV to sit below the Bentayga have been scrapped in favour of an all-electric sports car positioned below the Conti GT. “It’ll be a pure electric car; designed to be electric from the start”, says Dürheimer, who not only sees the move towards electrification as “unstoppable”, but also a great fit for the Bentley brand, given its effortless and immediate power delivery. By embracing this new era instead of fearing it, Dürheimer believes Bentley can be a “Leader of electrification in the luxury sector.”

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