Bentley auto news

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Jay Leno's 1930 Bentley GJ 400 is a 27-liter monster

04/29/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Time Warp, Convertibles, Sports/GTs, Videos, Bentley

Bentley GJ 400

Jay Leno's Garage never fails to impress - and by that we mean both the YouTube channel and the actual place. The latest online bit features another truly insane vehicle. Leno's 1930 Bentley GJ 400 isn't actually a classic car and has few Bentley parts on it. It's really a modern custom with vintage looks and a 27-liter Rolls-Royce Merlin V12 engine for power. This machine is absolutely immense, and weighs over three tons.

The Merlin engine was one the workhorses of World War II-era planes. In the GJ 400, Leno believes the V12 is making around 650-700 horsepower. Although, he admits that it could probably be pushed to over 1,000 if someone wanted to. However, he clearly loves this behemoth just the way it is.

While the design is classic, the mechanicals are relatively modern. The engine is fuel injected, and power routes through an automatic transmission to the rear wheels. Many of the updated pieces are hidden as well. For example, what looks like a blower at the front actually disguises an oil cooler.

This is a hard beast not to love, and it puts a big smile on Jay's face. Scroll down to see if it inspires the same reaction in you.

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Wolfgang Durheimer retakes the reins at Bentley and Bugatti

04/17/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Sports/GTs, Hirings/Firings, Bentley, Bugatti, Volkswagen, Luxury

Bentley CEO Wolfgang Durheimer displays

Wolfgang Dürheimer is still in play, with Bentley Motors announcing that he will return to the Chairman and CEO slot of the English company and French division Bugatti on June 1, 2014. He'll probably remember those chairs from the last time he filled them, since he was promoted to both positions in 2010 and remained there until September 2012, when he was installed as the head of R&D at Audi. That job only lasted until June of 2013, his nine-month tenure reported to be full of corporate drama that lead to his dismissal from the position.

But as if on gardening leave, he's been in the low-profile position of General Representative of the Volkswagen Group responsible for motorsport. Once back at Bentley, he will take over as the company works on getting its SUV to market and expanding its range. Both of those briefs Dürheimer will know well, having proved his ability at Porsche in the first decade of the new millennium. And even though no longer at Audi, his hybrid days don't appear to be over, as Bentley recently announced that it will hybridize of 90 percent of its lineup.

Dürheimer will also take on a third position, joining a VW Group committee focused on the US and Chinese markets. His successor at Bentley and Bugatti, Wolfgang Schreiber, has been promoted to "a leading position within the Volkswagen Group." There's a brief press release below with the official words.

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Is Bentley testing a hardcore Continental GT V8?

04/15/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Spy Photos, Coupes, Sports/GTs, Bentley, Luxury

Bentley Continental GT V8

The Bentley Continental GT V8 is a darn good car. The GT V8 S, even more so. It's only logical, then that an even hotter Conti GT would be commensurately better. At least, we're hoping that's what the minds at Bentley's Crewe, UK headquarters were thinking when they dispatched this bewinged GT V8 to the Nürburgring.

This Conti GT stands out not only because of its wing, but because of its improved aerodynamics as a whole. A new front fascia, complete with a body-color lip spoiler is the big visual takeaway of this car's sportier intensions, while our spies claim this white whale rides on a lowered, firmer suspension.

The real question about this car has to do with its powerplant, though. What's under hood? The GT V8 S returns an impressive 521 horsepower while the base Conti W12 churns out 567 ponies, meaning there isn't a lot of wiggle room between what is currently the priciest V8 model and the cheapest twelve-cylinder car. The 4.0-liter, twin-turbocharged V8, though, is certainly capable of handling more than 521 hp, as Audi uses a 560-hp variant in the RS7. Our spies, meanwhile, suggest that this may merely be an even lighter version of the GT V8 S - maybe like an RS model - that is lighter and stiffer, but no more powerful.

It's really anyone's guess as to what Bentley is up to. Here's hoping we find out soon, though. Take a look up top for our gallery of images from the Nürburgring, and then hop down below into Comments and let us know what you think Bentley is playing at.

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Bentley shows plug-in hybrid concept ahead of Beijing, will power SUV in 2017

04/09/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Concept Cars, Hybrids/Alternative, Sedans/Saloons, Bentley, Beijing Motor Show, Luxury

Bentley Hybrid Concept

From its more mainstream, popular origins in the original Honda Insight and Toyota Prius, the hybrid powertrain has worked its way up to the the corner office, the big chair, the top slot in the corporation. Bentley has announced that it will introduce a plug-in hybrid option on its SUV due in 2017. Before then, we'll see what an electrically assisted Bentley looks like at the Beijing Motor Show when the Crewe automaker shows off a copper-accented Mulsanne that's been reworked into its Hybrid Concept, pictured above.

We don't have any official specs just yet, the only major announcement being that any Bentley hybrid will be able to travel at least 50 kilometers (31 miles) on pure electric thrust and get a power boost of "up to" 25 percent from its electric side. We use the phrase "any Bentley hybrid" because the company's CEO says "we will gradually introduce this powertrain across our model range" to 90 percent of the brand's lineup.

We'll know more when the Beijing show commences. For now, there's the press release below and the high-res gallery above.

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Bentley designing SUV to reach 200 mph?

03/24/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Sports/GTs, SUVs, Bentley, Luxury, Off-Road

Bentley EXP 9 F

The 200 MPH Club was once populated entirely by exotic sports cars. These days it has expanded to include convertibles, sedans and even station wagons. But an SUV? Unthinkable, what with their aerodynamic profile approaching that of a barn door. Bentley, however, is out to change that with its forthcoming new sport ute.

Not only is the British automaker aiming to make its first SUV fully capable off road, it's also engineering it to be one of the fastest on the road as well. According to emerging reports coming in from the UK, Bentley is streamlining the SUV's shape with a lower roofline and reprofiled rear end and fitting it with advanced underbody aerodynamic aids in order to compensate for its over-six-foot width and get it up to the magic 200-mph mark.

Reaching out to Bentley for comment, its communications office wouldn't divulge such performance targets: "The SUV is in the engineering development stage, so unfortunately it's too soon to discuss performance figures," we were told via email. "It will of course have all the power and performance that one would expect from a Bentley!" If the information proves correct, however, at that speed, it would be able to keep pace with the faster members of the Continental family, but leave the Mulsanne flagship sedan (which is already approaching the size of an SUV) and its 185-mph top speed in the dust - not to mention the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S that is quoted at "only" 175 mph.

Of course it'll take more than just clever aero to get the SUV up to those speeds, which makes us think that, while there has been talk of V8, diesel and even hybrid power, Bentley will, in the end, offer the vehicle with the most powerful version of its W12 engine as well. And when it does, it will fulfill Ettore Bugatti's suddenly prophetic characterization of Bentley as producing "the world's fastest lorries."

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Bentley shifting W12 engine production to UK

03/20/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Plants/Manufacturing, Bentley, UK, Luxury

Bentley W12 engine assembly

Who would you think would be the largest producer of 12-cylinder engines in the world? Mercedes? BMW? Ferrari? Think again: as you might have guessed from the headline, it's Bentley. The thing is that, while all Bentley automobiles are manufactured in the UK, its engines aren't: while the 6.75-liter V8 in the Mulsanne is made at home, the innovative 6.0-liter twin-turbo W12 engine in Continental models so equipped (like the newer 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8) is shipped in from Germany. But that won't be the case any longer.

Bentley has just announced that production of the W12 engine is moving to its home base in Crewe by the end of this year. The shift in production (which follows the migration of the Flying Spur from Dresden to Crewe in 2007) will create 100 jobs in the UK - a country which employs some 142,000 workers in the automotive sector - and produce as many as 9,000 engines per year. That in and of itself would account for the vast majority of the 10,000-plus cars Bentley made last year, but will also make Bentley an exporter of engines for the first time in its history.

Right there at the factory, Bentley will fit the engines into twelve-cylinder versions of the Continental GT, GTC and Flying Spur, and send some back to Germany for use in the Audi A8. Applications within the Volkswagen brand itself like the Phaeton and Touareg no longer use the W12 engine, but could conceivably use it again in the future - they'll just have to bring them in from England is all.

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Bentley teases restyled production SUV

03/19/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: SUVs, Bentley, Luxury

Bentley SUV teaser

Bentley insists that customers responded positively, but journalists weren't particularly enamored with the EXP 9 F concept when it was unveiled two years ago at the Geneva Motor Show. And so it went back to the drawing board, honing the design to make it more pleasing to the eye.

The production model won't hit the road until 2016, but at its annual shareholders meeting today in London, the British automaker revealed the first image of the finished design - or at least the front end, which was arguably the most controversial element of the design in the first place.

The rendering, as you can see above, is highly stylized and obscured by flying sand (as many customer examples are likely to be in the dunes of the Middle East). But from what we can see, it appears that Bentley has moved the secondary headlights from below the primary ones to beside them. It's hard to tell, but it appears that their place on the edges of the front bumper have been replaced by air vents, giving it an altogether Continental-like front end. The shape of the grille, hood, fenders and greenhouse otherwise appear similar to the EXP 9 F we've already seen, though the air dam appears taller than the concept's.

There's still plenty more we'll need to know about Bentley's first production SUV (not counting those bespoke models it made for the Sultan of Brunei) before the first of the 3,000 examples it expects to sell annually reach showrooms, but there's still plenty of time to go, as well. Crewe still has yet to announce the name, but the F in the EXP 9 F moniker that adorned the concept was said to stand for Falcon.

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Baby Bentley studied for 2020, but it might not be cheaper

03/09/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Geneva Motor Show, Bentley, Design/Style

Bentley Continental GT V8 S

Bentley may step down a segment with a new, smaller luxury car that it hopes to have ready by 2019. The British luxury marque's fifth model line, assuming that its SUV ever makes it to market, though, is still in the earliest planning stages.

Kevin Rose, Bentley's head of sales and marketing, spoke with Autocar at the Geneva Motor Show about the proposed new vehicle. "At the moment, our line of thinking is for a smaller car. But smaller doesn't necessarily mean cheaper," he said. The brand believes the price floor of its models should be 100,000 pounds ($167,240).

The smaller Flying B isn't the only project being worked on. Rose hinted that it is considering an even more expensive model above the Mulsanne priced at around 300,000 pounds ($501,735) that would compete with the Rolls-Royce Phantom. "The twin pillars of the Bentley brand are performance and luxuriousness. Any car that offers something unique, with both of those bases well covered, is on the table," he said.

Regardless of whether either of them ever gets built, Rose indicated that new generations of the Continental GT and Flying Spur are currently in development, and they will be the first to debut.

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The Bentley Flying Spur V8 shows even a basic Bentley is a nice place to be

03/06/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Sedans/Saloons, Geneva Motor Show, Bentley, Luxury

The Bentley Flying Spur V8 at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, front three-quarter view

While it is hard to call any Bentley entry-level, the Flying Spur V8 that's debuting at the Geneva Motor Show is technically the lowest rung among Bentley's four-doors. However, if our experience with the Continental GT V8 is anything to go by - the Spur and the Conti still share a platform, despite the former dropping "Continental" from its branding - the loss of a few cylinders won't harm the overall experience.

The latest model uses the 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 with cylinder deactivation that produces 500 horsepower and 487 pound-feet of torque. It is capable of accelerating to 60 miles per hour in 4.9 seconds to a top speed of 183 mph. Power is sent to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission, and it rides on an air suspension.

Buyers wanting a little more luxury (and who doesn't?) can opt for the Mulliner Driving Specification that adds diamond-quilted leather, a leather headliner, power rear seats and 20-inch wheels. The Flying Spur V8 will join the Flying B's lineup this spring.

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Geneva: The Bentley Flying Spur V8 shows even a basic Bentley is a nice place to be

03/05/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Sedans/Saloons, Geneva Motor Show, Bentley, Luxury

The Bentley Flying Spur V8 at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, front three-quarter view

While it is hard to call any Bentley entry-level, the Flying Spur V8 that's debuting at the Geneva Motor Show is technically the lowest rung among Bentley's four-doors. However, if our experience with the Continental GT V8 is anything to go by - the Spur and the Conti still share a platform, despite the former dropping "Continental" from its branding - the loss of a few cylinders won't harm the overall experience.

The latest model uses the 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 with cylinder deactivation that produces 500 horsepower and 487 pound-feet of torque. It is capable of accelerating to 60 miles per hour in 4.9 seconds to a top speed of 183 mph. Power is sent to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission, and it rides on an air suspension.

Buyers wanting a little more luxury (and who doesn't?) can opt for the Mulliner Driving Specification that adds diamond-quilted leather, a leather headliner, power rear seats and 20-inch wheels. The Flying Spur V8 will join the Flying B's lineup this spring.

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