Posts Tagged ‘Bentley Continental’

Bentley Breaks Global Sales Record in 2013

Luxury maker debuting Continental GT V8 S in Detroit.

by on Jan.09, 2014

Bentley is showing the Continental GT V8 S in North America for the first time in Detroit.

Bentley is riding a wave of powerful new models and good news into the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The premier luxury maker is showing its Continental GT V8 S in North America for the first time at the show.

It is teamed with the Flying Spur, the maker’s fastest sedan, and the Mulsanne, Bentley’s top-of-the-line marque, at this year’s event.

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Aside from displaying a new entry, the company is talking up its 2013 sales, which hit a new record: 10,120. The 19% increase superseded the previous high of 8,510 in 2012. (more…)

Bentley Working Up Mulsanne Drop-Top

Could reach production about same time as Bentley SUV.

by on Aug.20, 2012

Convertibles are "intrinsic" to the brand, says Bentley, as it releases a sketch of its Mulsanne Vision Concept.

Bentley is weighing its options to add a drop-top version of its flagship Mulsanne sedan, testing the waters with a concept that could translate into production by mid-decade.

Like its most direct rival, Rolls-Royce, Bentley has traditionally offered a convertible version of its biggest, most expensive model.  But with the loss of the old Azure two years ago there’s been no ragtop option for the big Mulsanne.

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That could change, depending on reaction to the Bentley Mulsanne Vision Concept quietly unveiled at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance over the weekend.  The full-sized model was kept under strict guard – those invited in for a look even had to surrender their cellphones to ensure no pictures leaked out, though Bentley has now provided a rough, early sketch.


Bentley Unveils its Fastest Production Model Ever

Pulls wraps off next-gen Continental GT Speed.

by on Jun.20, 2012

Bentley will provide a first look at the Continental GT Speed at the upcoming Goodwood Festival.

Inspired by the original “Speed” models that helped put the brand on the map in the 1920s, Bentley is launching an all-new version of its Continental GT Speed which the maker claims will be its fastest production model ever.

Set for an officials introduction in October, the modern-day Speed is the latest incarnation off Bentley’s new Continental platform, and features an up-rated version of the maker’s 6.0-liter, 48-valve, twin-turbocharged W-12 engine.  Delivering 616 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque, it will readily blow the hefty beast through the 200 mph barrier.

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Despite the introduction of an all-new V-8, demand remains strong for Bentley’s distinctive W-12 – so much so it is the world’s largest producer of 12-cylinder engines, notes Chairman ad CEO Wolfgang Durheimer, adding that, “The new GT Speed with its harder-edged, sportier character reaffirms this pinnacle positioning and continues to broaden the worldwide appeal of the Continental coupe.”


Bentley Bringing Plug-in SUV Concept to Geneva

Maker to put “green” spin on its planned luxury ute.

by on Mar.01, 2012

After taking over from Franz-Josef Paefgen (r), Bentley's new CEO Woflgang Durheimer has pressed for the development of the marque's first SUV.

Big SUVs are so outré, or so the environmentalists would have you believe, and they may be right considering the continued migration of traditional truck-based SUVs to more efficient crossovers.  So what is a Bentley to do as it prepares to bring its first sport-utility vehicle to market?  How about putting a green spin on the new offering by driving it into Geneva’s PALExpo using a plug-in hybrid drivetrain.

Whether we’ll actually see Bentley deliver this battery-based powertrain to market anytime soon will be one of the big questions likely to dominate the maker’s news conference at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, next week.

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The unusual approach, first reported by Automotive News, would clearly put an environmentally friendly halo around a brand not typically associated with green machines.  That could be useful considering the as yet-unnamed Bentley SUV will be going up against a wave of new luxury utes coming from makers as diverse as Maserati and Lamborghini, never mind Porsche, which will add the downsized Macan to its current Cayenne line.


Bentley Adds V-8 to Continental Line-Up

Luxury maker aims to boost mileage, maintain performance.

by on Dec.13, 2011

Bentley aims to improve mileage with its new V-8.

It isn’t often one hears a V-8 described as a way to save fuel.  But not many makers today rely solely on V-12 power, so with the addition of new twin-turbo V-8 to its Continental line-up Bentley just might be able to meet its goal of slashing the fuel consumption of its typical vehicle.

The new twin-turbo 4-liter V-8 is expected to continue delivering the sort of performance Bentley buyers continue to demand, the maker says, noting that the new engine will be able to propel a nearly 5,000 machine from 0 to 60 in under 5 seconds.

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The engine, shared with the Audi S8 – both makers being part of the Volkswagen empire – will first appear in the coming year under the hood of the Continental GT coupe and GTC convertible models.  While specific fuel economy numbers haven’t been finalized, Bentley is broadly hinting at mileage in the range of 21 mpg Combined.  That might not sound like much in this era but would go a long way towards meeting the ultra-luxury maker’s goal of boosting its Corporate Average Fuel Economy numbers by 40%.


First Look: 2012 Bentley Continental GTC

Power to the (very wealthy) people.

by on Aug.24, 2011

Bentley bills the 2012 Continental GTC as a "super car you can use every day."

There are plenty of big changes underway at Bentley, as recently reported, with the maker preparing a new SUV, developing a plug-in hybrid and beginning work on a diesel – but that doesn’t mean the British luxury marque has forgotten its more mainstream offerings.  Quite the opposite, as it reveals the second generation of its Continental GTC convertible.

It’s part of a dramatic update of the entire Bentley line-up, in fact, that began with the introduction of the all-new Mulsanne flagship, and last year’s redesign of the smaller but critical Continental GT sports coupe.

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We got our first look at the new cabriolet during a private showing at last weekend’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, “no better place in the world,” for the unveiling, suggested Wolfgang Durheimer, the new Bentley CEO and the man leading the big changes planned for the brand.


Bentley Planning Ultra-Luxury SUV

Third model line could also get a new hybrid or diesel.

by on Aug.22, 2011

Dr. Franz-Josef Paefgen (right) hands over the keys to his successor as Bentley CEO Wolfgang Durheimer.

Bentley, the classic British luxury carmaker, wants to add a sport-utility vehicle to its line-up, a move it predicts could yield a 50% increase in demand over its all-time sales record, the maker’s chief executive told

The new model could come as a surprise to those who expect to see Bentley stick with classic luxury designers, like the big Mulsanne and smaller Continental lines, “But I think people will adapt to the shock,” as they have when other brands like Porsche have introduced SUVs to their line-up, said Bentley CEO Wolfgang Durheimer, during a pair of exclusive interviews at the annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance over the weekend.

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Durheimer should know.  In his previous incarnation as the top engineer at Porsche he led the development of the Cayenne, that sport-ute now the top-seller in the German maker’s line-up.  When initially told of the project, said Durheimer, Porsche dealers, “warned us it’s dangerous, but five years later we doubled the size of the company.”

Targets for the Bentley SUV aren’t quite as aggressive, but the maker still hopes to boost global sales to 15,000 a year with the new ute, compared with the previous all-time high of about 10,000.


Bentley Considering All-New Model Line

Third model may be critical to long-term success, says outgoing CEO Paefgen.

by on Jan.17, 2011

Dr. Franz-Josef Paefgen (right) hands over the keys to his successor as Bentley CEO Wolfgang Durheimer.

Bentley management will  face a critical decision in the coming months: whether to develop an all-new third product line to compliment the ultra-luxury maker’s mid-range Continental and top-line Mulsanne offerings.

The decision will be handed to a management team led by new CEO Wolfgang Durheimer, who takes over from Franz-Josef Paefgen, the executive who led the British marque through some of the most dramatic changes it has faced in nearly a century of carmaking.  Paefgen steps down as chief executive on February 1st, though he will remain a Bentley consultant.

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In a conversation at the Detroit Auto Show, Paefgen told he is looking forward to retirement, which comes after “nine years develop(ing) Bentley into a company in a stable situation leading the luxury segment and strong enough to grow further.”


Shake-Up At Bentley

Paefgen retiring, Durheimer to lead luxury maker as it struggles to regain momentum.

by on Nov.29, 2010

In with the new car, out with the old CEO. Franz-Josef Paefgen poses with the second-generation Bentley Continental GT.

In the midst of a major new product roll-out, Bentley is about to undergo a major shake-up in its management team, as well.

Long-time CEO Franz-Josef Paefgen will retire, with Wolfgang Durheimer slotted in as his replacement next February.

The executive shift comes as Bentley is in the midst of re-doing its entire line-up.  The British marque’s aging flagship sedan, the Arnage, was recently replaced by an all-new model, the $285,000 Mulsanne.  Next up is an all-new version of the Continental line-up, Bentley’s volume mainstay.  The sporty Continental GT replacement made its debut, last month, at the Paris Motor Show.

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The original Continental was a transformative model for Bentley, which was purchased by Volkswagen AG a little more than a decade ago.  Launched during Paefgen’s 8-year tenure as CEO, it generated sales numbers never before seen in the ultra-premium luxury market.  Immediately prior to the 2008 global economic meltdown, Bentley sales soared to more than 10,000 a year, with the various Continental spin-offs, including the GT coupe, Flying Spur sedan and GTC convertible accounting for 90% of that volume.


Rolls Royce Sales off 34% on Eve of Ghost Debut at Frankfurt. Less Expensive Model is badly needed.

Factory expansion at Goodwood in Sussex is well underway.

by on Aug.03, 2009

Rolls-Royce aims to take on Bentley's Continental Flying Spur with the new Ghost.

Rolls-Royce aims to take on Bentley's Continental Flying Spur with the new Ghost.

It turns out the rich are not that different from the rest of us. Roll-Royce Motor cars delivered only 329 cars to customers, a decline of 33.5% in the first six months of the year. June, the latest reporting period for the BMW subsidiary, was even more disappointing as the Rolls-Royce brand sold 53 automobiles compared to 114 (-53.5%) a year ago. But that was before the Great Recession took its deep hold around the world.

In spite of the ongoing slump, Rolls is in the process of expanding its manufacturing workforce to build a new “smaller” car, Ghost, which will formally debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show this September. If all goes well, and a new car is always a reason for optimism among sales executives, by the end of 2009 the total number of workers at Goodwood will be 900, a roughly 400 position  increase by starting the count during the boom year of 2007 and continuing through the bust at the back end of 2008 caused by the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the implosion of the world’s financial markets that followed. The majority of the new positions are in the wood, leather and paint shops, as well as the assembly areas.  Rolls attributes 150 of the jobs solely to the new Ghost model.

“This is good news for the British car industry at a time when it is struggling. Britain has an exceptional talent for automotive production and we are keen to maximize this at Rolls-Royce. Our new model, the Ghost, has enjoyed an extremely positive international response and we now need to put people in place to bring the car to market,” said CEO Tom Purves.

As TDB has previously noted, the  212-inch long Ghost is powered by a brand new 6.6 liter turbocharged V12 engine unique. This engine is rated at 563 horsepower. Ghost, it’s said, will accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds and has a governed top speed of 155 mph. The engine is combined with an 8-speed automatic ZF gearbox. Unlike the larger Rolls models on sale, this one is designed to be driven by the owner, much like the Continental of Bentley.

Still this is a big, massive looking machine that is totally at odds with the green movement. The architecture is based on the 7-series of parent company BMW, though you would be hard pressed to note any similarities. The provenance gives hope, however, to the marketing claim that this really will be a handling machine.


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