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Bentley Ready to Conquer the World With Bentayga SUV

"The fastest, most powerful, most luxurious, most exclusive SUV in the world.”

by on Sep.09, 2015

The Bentayga will top out at 186 mph, slightly faster than a Porsche Cayenne Turbo.

A good SUV should be able to surmount just about any impediment. The new Bentley Bentayga is showing itself adept at overcoming one of the biggest obstacles of them all, pushing into pricing territory far beyond any SUV currently on the market.

First teased in the form of a concept car more than three years ago, the new Bentley Bentayga will make its formal debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show next week, but TheDetroitBureau.com was given an advanced preview of the vehicle Bentley is calling “the fastest, most powerful, most luxurious, most exclusive SUV in the world.”

Pushing the Limits!

Even though it’s still months from reaching Bentley showrooms around the world, the Bentayga is already having a significant impact, helping convince virtually every other premium luxury brand – from Aston Martin to Lamborghini to Rolls-Royce – that they also need to add utility vehicles to their line-ups.

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Bentley Aims for Big Growth with Bentayga Launch

British maker hopes to build yet more momentum with production version of EXP 10 Speed 6 concept.

by on Aug.17, 2015

The Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6 shown at its debut during the 2015 Geneva Motor Show.

With the upcoming launch of its first SUV, the Bentayga, Bentley hopes to not only get a leg up on competitors like Rolls-Royce but also kick off the biggest growth spurt in the British brand’s history.

But Bentley is far from through with the expansion of its line-up, stressed its CEO Wolfgang Durheimer. The brand is readying a business case for its next all-new model, a sports car based on the EXP 10 Speed 6 concept that debuted at the Geneva Motor Show last March.

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“It’s double-digit growth we’re approaching,” said Durheimer during an interview at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance over the weekend. If Bentley meets its target that would be all the more impressive considering it set a sales record last year with its existing line-up.

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Durheimer in Limbo as Audi Shakes up Management

Audi tech chief pushed aside, likely to leave VW Group.

by on Jun.21, 2013

Audi's tech chief Womfgang Durheimer falls victim to palace intrigue.

To those who casually glance over the press release Volkswagen AG sent out this morning it might seem like an everyday occurrence, the routine corporate rotation of jobs. But something much more significant has apparently roiled through the management ranks of the Volkswagen AG empire, with Wolfgang Durheimer at its epicenter.

What the VWAG release did do was confirm a report that first surfaced in the German newsmagazine, Der Spiegel suggesting that the highly respected Durheimer had been ousted from the job he had been given only last September as the head of R&D for Audi.  Considering the role Volkswagen’s luxury brand plays in the German maker’s empire, it was a towering position with influence over much of the rest of the corporation.

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According to VW, Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, the 63-year-old board member who had responsible for technical development for VW will now assume Durheimer’s post while also maintaining some of his duties at the parent Volkswagen Group.  Dr. Heinz-Jakob Neusser, 53, will now slip into Hackenberg’s old office.

And Durheimer?

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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 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.

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No to NASCAR – for now – but VW Group Has Big Plans for U.S. Motorsports

Indy, American Le Mans and other series under study.

by on Sep.29, 2011

Audi's R19 diesel-powered race car at the 2011 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Countering rumors that the Volkswagen Group might test its mettle in NASCAR, the head of the maker’s motorsports operation said there are no plans — “at the moment” – to go stock car racing, but the German maker does plan to sharply increase its involvement in U.S. racing in the coming years.

A wide range of programs are under study, according to Wolfgang Durheimer, the former Porsche R&D chief who now serves double-duty as the CEO of Bentley and the head of motorsports for the entire VW Group.

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“In my strategy role I am evaluating all motorsports activities,” said the executive following a preview of the new Bentley Convertible GTC convertible in Croatia, noting that, “The U.S. offers a variety of interesting race series.”

One that he has turned thumbs down on is NASCAR, though Durheimer didn’t seem to be shutting the door entirely.  But the high cost of that series would take cash that could be better focused on other racing ventures, he said.  There’s VW’s new involvement in WRC, a widely-popular rally championship.

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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 TheDetroitBureau.com.

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.

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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.

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