Oh, happy day! When next you are in the market for an über luxury car, you will be pleased to know that a Bentley PHEV will be among the choices available to you. Speaking at the Automotive News World Congress in Detroit last month, Bentley CEO Wolfgang Dürheimer said that Bentley will soon offer PHEV options across its entire lineup. Is this a wonderful world, or what?
Please pardon my cynicism. Frankly, I could care less whether Bentley sells any cars at all. My world and the world of Bentley drivers are in no danger of colliding. We are on opposite sides of the unisphere. While have occasionally lusted after a Bentley Continental, the only Bentley that really floats my boat is the Blower Bentley driven by John Steed in the original Avengers television show.
“You will understand if I don’t reveal our entire future product plan here today,”Dürheimer added”, but I can say that we are eager to introduce plug-in hybrid technology across all model lines in the next few years. For Bentley, I consider PHEV much more than a transitional technology. It combines the best of both worlds.”
The key to all this is that Bentley is owned by Volkswagen, which has access to everything in the VW parts bin, including the PHEV powertrain currently featured in the Porsche Cayenne. That is the same powertrain that will soon be offered in Bentley offerings starting with the Continental GT and Continental GTC. That powertrain will probably transition into the mammoth Bentayga SUV by 2018 as well. A coupe version is expected to follow shortly thereafter.
Bentley must do something in order to sell its cars in a time of ever tightening European emissions standards. The old tried and true V8 engine with its “adequate” amount of power just isn’t going to cut it much longer. This is a dilemma faced by all the world’s supercar manufacturers from Ferrari to McLaren. Trump may roll back the standards for US customers but the EU has shown absolutely no intention of doing so.
While the world of automobiles is going gaga over the advent of self driving cars, Dürheimer indicates he is not a fan of autonomous driving. He believes that people should always have control of their cars. “Technology in isolation is cold and can never be truly luxurious. We must never lose the human touch.” Amen to that, brother!