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Porsche Pushes Into Bentley Territory with Panamera Exclusive Series

Limited-edition sedan lands above “base” Continental GT.

by on Oct.31, 2014

The Porsche Panamera Exclusive Series is creating a little sibling rivalry with the Bentley Continental GT.

When it comes to the upper reaches of the luxury car market, it’s getting hard to tell the players without a scorecard. And that means some sibling brands are suddenly turning into rivals.

The latest example comes with the unveiling of the new Porsche Panamera Exclusive Series. While it’s not the most expensive model the German maker has ever offered – at barely a third the price of the 918 Spyder ultracar – the limited-edition sedan lands well above the “base” Bentley Continental GT and not much below the British maker’s top-line Mulsanne model.

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Then again, Bentley is getting ready to roll out an all-new luxury SUV, which could start siphoning sales away from Porsche, its Volkswagen Group partner. (more…)

Watch Out Ferrari – Here Comes the Bentley Mulsanne Speed

Flagship sedan will churn out 811 lb-ft of torque.

by on Sep.16, 2014

Bentley's new Mulsanne Speed model boasts torque numbers even Ferrari can respect.

For those who have the taste – and the budget – for high-performance imports, brands like Ferrari, Lamborghini, or perhaps Aston Martin, are likely to come immediately to mind. But there’s another exotic getting ready to give them a run for the money.

Bentley has been drawing from its history of motorsports to fuel its decade-long revival, and it clearly showed it wasn’t going to get left behind at the stoplight when it launched the latest, 616-horsepower version of its Continental GT Speed.

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From a pony count, the even newer Bentley Mulsanne Speed delivers a mere 530-hp — 25 more than a stock Mulsanne. But it’s the torque number that should put a smile on affluent performance fans, while sending a shiver down the spine at competitive brands. The maker’s flagship model, in Speed trim, will deliver an astounding 811 pound-feet of tire-spinning torque. That’s nearly 300 lb-ft more than the La Ferrari.

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Bentley Continental GT3-R Puts Premium on Performance

Celebrating a successful return to racing.

by on Jun.17, 2014

The Continental GT3-R is Bentley's fastest road-going model, turning 0 to 60 in just 3.6 seconds.

While the name, Bentley, might readily bring to mind the image of a lavishly outfitted British luxury sedan, or perhaps a coupe or convertible, the maker earned its chops with a series of notable wins at Le Mans back in the 1920s. And it’s working to remind the world that it still builds plenty of performance into today’s products, as well.

It recently returned to motor sports after a long absence and, after an eight-decade drought, proved its potential with a win at the Blancpain Endurance Series at Silverstone, in the UK with its GT3 racer.

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Now, for those who have the money, and the desire to translate track results to the street, Bentley has come up with the limited-edition Continental GT3-R. Set for delivery late this year, the Crewe-based carmaker plans to produce just 300 copies.

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Rolls-Royce Considering Plans for a “Proper SUV”

Could become latest super-premium brand to add a ute to its line-up.

by on May.15, 2014

Rolls may soon plant its "Spirit of Ecstasy" hood ornament on a new SUV.

Confirming widespread rumors a senior Rolls-Royce executive says the British maker is giving serious thought to the prospect of adding an SUV to its line-up.

It would become the latest in a growing list of high-line manufacturers to add a utility vehicle, but unlike those who have opted for car-based crossover models, design chief Giles Taylor says Rolls would opt for a “proper SUV” if it ultimately enters the market – some estimating the maker could have one in the market by late 2017.

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“I’m interested in function and functionality. I’m looking to create a properly functional vehicle – a shooting brake, not a crossover with a sloping roof. A proper SUV,” Taylor tells British magazine Autocar. But he stresses that such a new model has to fit in with the existing line-up and not “undermine the Rolls-Royce brand.”

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Bentley Goes Electric at Beijing Show with Plug-In Mulsanne Concept

Luxury makers face pressure to go greener.

by on Apr.21, 2014

Bentley shows off its plug-in hybrid system.

China’s long economic expansion has made it one of the most promising markets for luxury carmakers, with demand for high-line vehicles soon expected to exceed that in U.S. Even the most expensive brands have been growing at a blinding rate, right along with the rest of the Chinese market.

But China’s central government is putting pressure on carmakers – particularly those producing the most powerful and fuel-inefficient products — to develop more electric and hybrid vehicles because of growing concerns about the country’s endemic air pollution problems.

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That’s encouraged Bentley to introduce its first-ever plug-in hybrid-electric vehicle, or PHEV, at this year’s Beijing Motor Show. The good news for potential buyers, stressed according to Wolfgang Schreilber, chairman and chief executive officer of Bentley Motors, is that the plug-in version of the flagship Mulsanne is both more powerful and even more efficient than the conventional, gas-powered model.

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Bentley Releases First Image of its First SUV

“It will create a completely new segment.”

by on Mar.19, 2014

Bentley offers a hint of the SUV to come in 2016.

When you set an all-time sales record you have plenty of reason to celebrate, but Bentley is giving fans of the British ultra-luxury brand their own reason to celebrate with the release of the first images of the maker’s upcoming SUV.

Originally teased in concept form as the Bentley EXP 9F, the production version has been given no official name yet, but we do know at least a few things about it, starting with a production date of sometime in 2016.

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“It will create a completely new segment in the SUV market, hints the brand’s chairman and CEO Wolfgang Schreiber, who also promises the new model will be “the most luxurious and powerful SUV on the market.”

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Bentley SUV Gets Green Light

Sales launch set for 2016.

by on Jul.23, 2013

A sketch of the planned Bentley SUV skips some of the more controversial details of the 2012 concept vehicle.

True, it is far from the biggest surprise but Bentley has now given the formal go-ahead for production of its new premium-luxury SUV, the as yet-unnamed addition to its line-up slated to reach showrooms around the world in 2016.

The pet project of former Bentley boss Wolfgang Durheimer, the new ute will be based on the EXP 9 F concept vehicle revealed during the 2012 Geneva Motor Show.  In a statement, the British subsidiary of Volkswagen AG announced plans to invest more than 800 million British pounds – or more than $1.2 billion – over the next three years for “the development of new models.”

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“Bentley fans all around the world are looking forward to the brand’s first SUV,” proclaimed VW Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn, adding that, “Together we will make this new Bentley another true Bentley – powerful, exclusive and successful.”

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New Products Bring First Half Surge for Bentley

But British luxury marque still well off record pace.

by on Jul.10, 2013

The Bentley GT Speed convertible is one of several recent additions helping buy the British marque's sales.

With new products like the GT Speed convertible, its fastest ragtop ever, Bentley recorded a big surge in demand for the first half of 2013, the maker reports.

Worldwide sales rose 9%, to 4,279, over the same period a year ago, according to the British luxury brand. But that’s still well off the record pace Bentley set in 2008, just before the global economic collapse.

“Bentley continues to post significant global sales growth and we are extremely confident we will sustain this success for the remaining months of 2013 as we see the full availability of our new Flying Spur in all markets,” declared Kevin Rose, the marque’s board member in charge of sales, marketing and aftersales.

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Long an afterthought in the ultra-premium automotive market, Bentley began a rebuilding effort even before it was split off from its long-time partner Rolls-Royce and sold to Germany’s Volkswagen AG.  A critical step was expanding the product range – with an emphasis on a performance heritage tracing back to Bentley’s early dominance in motorsports, including the grueling Le Mans endurance race.

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Bentley Confirms Plans for Plug-in Hybrid SUV

System to debut sometime after 2015.

by on Mar.07, 2013

The Bentley EXP 9F prototype during its 2012 unveiling.

Those who think batteries are for pint-sized electric vehicles and hybrids need to visit this year’s Geneva Motor Show where “electrification” has become the buzz word among high-line makers like Ferrari, Porsche, McLaren – and Bentley.

In an exclusive conversation with TheDetroitBureau.com, the British marque’s technology chief confirmed that Bentley will go into production with a long-rumored gas-electric driveline.

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“The SUV will get a plug-in,” declared tech chief Rold Frech, during a discussion at the Geneva Motor Show. But he stressed that a number of details have yet to be locked down, including the layout of the plug-in package and the precise introduction date.

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First Look: 2014 Bentley Flying Spur

200 mph sedan gets shorter name, longer list of features.

by on Feb.20, 2013

The new Flying Spur shares many key components with the latest Bentley Continental GT coupe.

Bentley is ready to wrap up the complete makeover of its “entry” level line-up – for folks who consider something in the $200,000 range “basic” transportation, anyway.

The British maker will be bringing the all-new 2014 Bentley Flying Spur to next month’s Geneva Motor Show, the sedan sharing the basic underpinnings of the Bentley Continental GT coupe – which launched two years ago — and the Continental GTC convertible models. What it won’t share is the, “Continental” designation, which mercifully drops off the badge for the ’14 remake to give us a shorter, easier to remember name – while Bentley also adds a longer list of standard features and options.

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“Our engineers have worked tirelessly to ensure that the Flying Spur is the perfect combination of power, comfort, refinement and hand-crafted quality,” promises Wolfgang Schreiber, who took over as Bentley CEO last year. “The new Flying Spur is equipped both for business and relaxation whilst remaining a car to enjoy from behind the wheel.”

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