Even a decade after Bentley and Rolls-Royce split up, most folks still thing the two automakers are related. The reality, however, is quite the opposite, with Volkswagen owning Bentley and BMW claiming Rolls-Royce, the two luxury British marques compete in a small segment. But that is about to change.
While it’s obvious that Bentley still has its sights on more traditional buyers with new models like the Mulsanne competing against traditional Rolls-Royce models, the future for Bentley will focus more on performance. According to Bentley product boss Richard Leopold, the new direction has been decided as much by the corporate bigwigs as it has by Bentley’s customers. You see, Bentley currently rolls out a new model every 12 to 18 months and most recently the high-performance models (like the new Bentley Continental Supersports Convertible) have been a real hit.
The reason Bentley has such a short product cycle s because the company determined that its customers only drove their new Bentley for just over a year. As a result, it needs to constantly deliver new and exciting products to keep fickle millionaires interested.
Bentley is now hearing from its customers that they like the new high-performance machines and so the automaker will harken back to its roots as a performance company. (Might this suggest a return to motorsports)?
The first big idea of Bentley’s new direction will come in 2012 with the replacement of the current Continental. Leopold wasn’t willing to divulge any info on that new model, but if he’s taking request we’d easily suggest a lighter curb weight and more dramatic styling.
In the mean time, Bentley will continue to offer new variants of the same models and we expect to see some even more exciting performance-oriented luxury cars. Both Coupe and Convertible versions of the new Mulsanne are also expected to arrive in the next few years.