Biofuels no image

Published on January 29th, 2009 | by Jo Borrás

25

Fastest Bentley GT Ever to Run on Biofuel… and You Want One!

Teaser pic of upcoming Bentley supercar.

[social_buttons]

Bentley will be using the upcoming Geneva show as a launchpad for a biofuel powered GT that Bentley’s PR reps promise will be the fastest and most powerful production car in the company’s history.

Details of the new Continental variant are limited, and the company has only released a single teaser image (above) while promising the moon and the stars above for it’s coming eco-missile.  Without further details, we can only guess at the new Conti-green’s powertrain… sounds like fun!

Some educated guesses after the jump.

First, it should be noted that the most powerful Bentley in the company’s current arsenal is the Continental GT Speed, can carry blast from 0-60 in 4.3 seconds and top out at 202 MPH.  To overcome the obstacle of a very large (and not terribly aerodynamic), heavy (almost 5000 lbs.), inefficient (30% driveline loss), all-wheel-drive luxury car (it really is quite nice) to those extreme speeds, the GT Speed needs every one of its twin-turbo W12‘s 600 hp and 553 lb-ft.

To really make a statement, to become THE new standard-bearer for a luxury GT class that includes Mercedes’ CL65 and Ferrari’s 612 Scaglieti – as well as the current GT Speed! – the new Bentley needs to be less of an obstacle to its own progress.  In short:  the new “eco-Conti” needs to be more aerodynamic, lighter, and more efficient — OR — significantly more powerful.

I fully expect Bentley to pay some lip service to the aero and the efficiency (Bentley is owned by VW, after all, which needs to maintain some green cred to keep its core customer-base happy), but the real benefit Bentley hopes to extract from ethanol as a motor fuel – the benefit all the Real performance-adrenaline junkies crave – is the significant octane boost and thermal efficiency of alcohol-based fuels.

Alcohol’s higher octane rating, compared to gasoline, allows for significantly more compression within the cylinder head without detonation, which means that Bentley’s engine-builders can crank up the boost from the car’s two big turbochargers.  The ethanol will also burn cooler than gasoline, so the internal components can stand greater friction (from higher rpm).  Expect the new Bentley to take advantage of these characteristics and run higher boost at higher rpm than the out-going “king of the hill” GT Speed.

Vents in the hood and huge grille openings on either side of the new Bentley’s central air intake seem to imply significantly more air going to the turbo’s intercoolers, which supports the “higher revs” hypothesis (the engine internals may run cooler with the ethanol, but the turbos will not).

I don’t expect the new Bentley to drop all-wheel-drive (which is too bad, since a rear-drive-only Bentley might suffer less than 25% driveline loss) but it could be worse…

So, I could be wrong on ALL counts, and the new Bentley might be packing 1200 hp worth of electric motors and a small, ethanol-driven range-extending 4 cylinder straight from a VW microcar!  Wouldn’t THAT be Something!?

Don’t forget to share your guesses in the comments.

Image CreditBentley Motors.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,


About the Author

I've been involved in motorsports and tuning since 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the Important Media network. You can find me on Twitter, Skype (jo.borras) or Google+.



  • Doug

    Awesome if I sell my house I could probably put a down payment on it.

  • Doug

    Awesome if I sell my house I could probably put a down payment on it.

  • http://sunshinesupercars.blogspot.com Jo Borras

    @Doug

    Wait for the car to go on sale used – you can pick up a nice used Bentley for about the same money as a new Lexus.

    It’s still too much green for me, but remember the old saying: You can live in your car, but you can’t race your house.

  • http://sunshinesupercars.blogspot.com Jo Borras

    @Doug

    Wait for the car to go on sale used – you can pick up a nice used Bentley for about the same money as a new Lexus.

    It’s still too much green for me, but remember the old saying: You can live in your car, but you can’t race your house.

  • Doug

    True, but I can also buy a used SS and supe it up for a lot less.

  • Doug

    True, but I can also buy a used SS and supe it up for a lot less.

  • http://sunshinesupercars.blogspot.com Jo Borras

    @Doug

    Get that thing running methanol and we’ll post it!

  • http://sunshinesupercars.blogspot.com Jo Borras

    @Doug

    Get that thing running methanol and we’ll post it!

  • ChuckL

    Perhaps you guys should try reading “Diesel Power” or some other hot rod pickup truck magazine sometime. 1000 HP is readily available from these pickup engines, and they all can run on biodiesel fuel.

  • ChuckL

    Perhaps you guys should try reading “Diesel Power” or some other hot rod pickup truck magazine sometime. 1000 HP is readily available from these pickup engines, and they all can run on biodiesel fuel.

  • Colin

    I agree with ChuckL

    I was all excited to read this article until I found that the biofuel of choice needed spark plugs.

  • Colin

    I agree with ChuckL

    I was all excited to read this article until I found that the biofuel of choice needed spark plugs.

  • http://sunshinesupercars.blogspot.com Jo Borras

    @Colin

    That may be temporary. There has been talk of converting the Queen’s limo to bio-diesel, using the oil-burner from the Audi LeMans cars as a starting point for an all-new V12.

  • http://sunshinesupercars.blogspot.com Jo Borras

    @Colin

    That may be temporary. There has been talk of converting the Queen’s limo to bio-diesel, using the oil-burner from the Audi LeMans cars as a starting point for an all-new V12.

  • Mark in Texas

    Ethanol has a number of nice qualities besides cleaner emissions and coming from the Midwest instead of the Mideast.

    It burns cooler than gasoline so that more of the energy content goes to rotating the wheels of your car and less goes to making your radiator work harder. It is higher octane. E10 is 95 octane. E85 is 105 octane. With 105 octane, you can run a much higher compression ratio engine. Up in the diesel compression ratio range. Higher compression translates into more efficiency so that you get diesel type mileage and power.

    Another really nice thing about ethanol is that it burns over a longer period of time instead of the short intense power spike that you get from a gasoline explosion. That means that you don’t need rods or bearings as beefy and heavy as you would need for the same horsepower gasoline engine.

  • Mark in Texas

    Ethanol has a number of nice qualities besides cleaner emissions and coming from the Midwest instead of the Mideast.

    It burns cooler than gasoline so that more of the energy content goes to rotating the wheels of your car and less goes to making your radiator work harder. It is higher octane. E10 is 95 octane. E85 is 105 octane. With 105 octane, you can run a much higher compression ratio engine. Up in the diesel compression ratio range. Higher compression translates into more efficiency so that you get diesel type mileage and power.

    Another really nice thing about ethanol is that it burns over a longer period of time instead of the short intense power spike that you get from a gasoline explosion. That means that you don’t need rods or bearings as beefy and heavy as you would need for the same horsepower gasoline engine.

  • http://www.diy-energy.org Russ

    Awesome.. I do want one!

  • http://www.diy-energy.org Russ

    Awesome.. I do want one!

  • CNCMike

    Agree with Mark in Taxas. Not only is ethanol a much superior fuel to gasoline it is also superior to diesel. For over a year the Chinese have been running hybrid spark diesel engines on 100% etanol and they make more power and get 22% better mileage than they did on diesel fuel and the emissions are lower than all gasoline engines.

  • CNCMike

    Agree with Mark in Taxas. Not only is ethanol a much superior fuel to gasoline it is also superior to diesel. For over a year the Chinese have been running hybrid spark diesel engines on 100% etanol and they make more power and get 22% better mileage than they did on diesel fuel and the emissions are lower than all gasoline engines.

  • Colin

    @ Mark:

    Regarding your points on ethanol,

    -Lower burning temperatures are not necessarily advantageous. Piston force results from both thermal and chemical expansion. The higher delta-T, or change in temperature, the more powerful the stroke.

    -You can only run a higher compression engine if you run on ethanol all the time forcing a hard switch to, rather transition from, gasoline.

    -Higher compression does translate into more efficiency and power, but it does not make up for the higher energy density of diesel/biodiesel. A quick search of wikipedia indicates about 27% more.

    -Slow combustion requires more advanced timing and poorer mechanical advantage on the crank shaft. The fuel must be ignited while the piston is still rising (counter productive) and it will continue to burn past the most effective point of crankshaft rotation. The result is lower specific power for a given engine.

    Again, if you take advantage of the slow burning characteristics and build an engine accordingly, you sacrifice the ability to run gasoline, again forcing the sudden shift to ethanol.

    Gradual transition is essential. Any diesel engine (running on biodiesel of course!) offers the advantages you mentioned for ethanol, but it does so without modification to the engine or the infrastructure.

    -Colin

  • Colin

    @ Mark:

    Regarding your points on ethanol,

    -Lower burning temperatures are not necessarily advantageous. Piston force results from both thermal and chemical expansion. The higher delta-T, or change in temperature, the more powerful the stroke.

    -You can only run a higher compression engine if you run on ethanol all the time forcing a hard switch to, rather transition from, gasoline.

    -Higher compression does translate into more efficiency and power, but it does not make up for the higher energy density of diesel/biodiesel. A quick search of wikipedia indicates about 27% more.

    -Slow combustion requires more advanced timing and poorer mechanical advantage on the crank shaft. The fuel must be ignited while the piston is still rising (counter productive) and it will continue to burn past the most effective point of crankshaft rotation. The result is lower specific power for a given engine.

    Again, if you take advantage of the slow burning characteristics and build an engine accordingly, you sacrifice the ability to run gasoline, again forcing the sudden shift to ethanol.

    Gradual transition is essential. Any diesel engine (running on biodiesel of course!) offers the advantages you mentioned for ethanol, but it does so without modification to the engine or the infrastructure.

    -Colin

  • Paul

    They’ll just add a wet nitrous-oxide injection system worth another 175 bhp.

  • Paul

    They’ll just add a wet nitrous-oxide injection system worth another 175 bhp.

  • Pingback: Gas 2 | What is the future of fuel? What's new? What's next? Since 2007, Gas 2 has covered a rapidly changing world coming to terms with its oil addiction.

Back to Top ↑