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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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First Drive: 2013 Bentley Continental GT Speed

Autobahn Worthy

by on Jan.03, 2013

Tearing up the Autobahn at triple-digit speeds.

It was a scene I did not expect, but should have given the prodigious performance of the 2013 Bentley Continental GT Speed.  Not satisfied with the mere 198 mph top speed of the “base” Continental GT, Bentley’s team of engineers, led by the effervescent Brian Gush, massaged the potent twin-turbo W12 engine in the GT Speed to output 616 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque. Top speed after the upgrades: 205 mph.

We were encouraged by the Bentley media team to safely explore the upper limits of this beast, keeping in mind that our primary test route, the famous Autobahn network of highways across Germany, did have some sections with well-enforced speed limits.

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My driving partner and I were a bit late as we approached our departure from scenic Bavaria, Germany, as we had taken a bit too much time shooting video of the new GT Speed during our lunch stop.  So to make our international flight back home, we bypassed the route chosen by Bentley and tried typing the direct destination into the car’s GPS.

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First Look: 202 mph Bentley Continental GT Speed Convertible

For those who can’t get enough wind in their hair.

by on Jan.02, 2013

Bentley offers a sneak peek at what it claims is the world's fastest convertible.

Check back tomorrow for TheDetroitBureau.com’s full review of the 200+ mph Bentley GT Speed.

There are some folks who can never get enough wind in their hair, though with a top speed of 202 miles per hour we’re betting the new 2013 Bentley GT Speed convertible is probably able to deliver about as much top-down excitement as anything on the road.

The new drop-top, billed as the world’s fastest — will make its debut at the upcoming Detroit Auto Show – but Bentley has joined the fast-growing list of makers offering a sneak peek before the official Motor City event later this month.

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The second-generation Speed Cabriolet shares much of the fundamentals of the “base” Bentley Continental, but gets some significant performance enhancements – as well as a multi-layer top that provides a top-up experience nearly as quiet as the Continental Coupe.

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From Bentley to Audi, Durheimer Has Big Plans

Luxury SUV, due in 2015, to serve as his legacy.

by on Aug.23, 2012

Bentley CEO Woflgang Durheimer prepares to move on for a new job at Audi.

In the scheme of things, Wolfgang Durheimer wasn’t at Bentley all that long but he will be leaving a legacy that will see the ultra-luxury maker continue to undergo major changes for years to come. That includes its controversial entry into the SUV segment.

Now, Durheimer sets off for Audi, another premium brand in the Volkswagen AG empire – where observers expect him to again leave an indelible stamp.

As the result of an unexpected, corporate-wide management shake-up , Durheimer will leave Bentley next month to become the R&D chief at Audi – a job similar to what he’d previously held with Porsche.  His hope, he said during an interview, is to have “made Bentley sustainable for the future.”

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The key to that, he contends, is the launch of the British maker’s third product line, an all-new sport-utility vehicle, which Durheimer promises will be, “the most expensive SUV in the world,” with an expected base price of between 170,000 and 200,000 Euros, or roughly $220,000 to $260,000 at current exchange rates.

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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.

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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.”

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