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Bentley Talking Diesel And Hybrid Options

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On: Tue, Aug 23, 2011 at 3:10PM | By: Chris Weiss


Bentley Talking Diesel And Hybrid Options

If you had to identify the two Bs of sheer environmental carnage and destruction, you couldn't do much better than "Bugatti" and VW stablemate "Bentley." Along with a few other perpetrators like Rolls Royce and Aston Martin, these two Volkswagen ultra-premium brands make up a who's who of the worst EPA ratings. And that happens year after year.

Luckily for them, both Bugatti and Bentley can sit back and rely on more efficient Volkswagen brands to offset the hefty numbers choked out by their massive-engined, heavy-bodied sports and luxury offerings. But that doesn't mean the brands aren't at least looking at ways of becoming more fuel efficient and eco-friendly. Even the richest of the rich want to feel good about themselves sometimes.

Both Bentley and Bugatti have earned a tiny bit of eco-cred by making their engines flex-fuel, meaning they can run both on traditional gasoline and bio-fuels like E85. However, if the companies want to get really serious about cutting emissions and boosting miles per gallon, they're going to have to do more than just offer owners the option of using something else.

In a conversation with What Car?, Bentley chief Wolfgang Durheimer stated that Bentley will use hybrid technologies to cut the carbon footprint of its cars, and may also offer diesel engine options. Though Bentley will offer a smaller V-8 option on the Continental GT starting later this year, it's unclear if the company will expand V-8 options to other cars as well. The Continental GT launched with the more conventional V-12 option, and though Durheimer suggests that Bentley's upcoming SUV could use V-8 power, he's convinced that Bentley will remain the epicenter of 12-cylinder development for the VW group.

While Durheimer seems pretty confident about hybrid Bentleys, he's less so about diesels, though he does support them. What Car? quotes him: "The next generation of diesels will be hard to distinguish from petrol engines. I think that will be good enough for Bentley, so this type of engine is getting interesting for us. I do have resistance to this from inside the company, but I will overcome it."

Remember, Durheimer is a transplant from Porsche, where diesel and hybrid options on models like the Cayenne and Panamera have become standard fare.

Bentley's primary competitor in the ultra-premium luxury car market, Rolls Royce, has taken green efforts a step further in developing an electric prototype, the 102 EX. After gauging reaction and analyzing the market, Rolls determined that its customers weren't quite ready for an electric vehicle—or, more accurately, electric vehicles aren't quite ready to meet the needs of Rolls customers.




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