Bentley customers know what they want. They want a luxury behemoth with animal-crushing abilities, swathed in more cow than a Texas Roadhouse, and the ability to “waft” from nightclub to penthouse and back. What they don’t want, according to Bentley, is a small one—after all, what is this, Rolls-Royce?
Oh ok, fine, Bentley said, we’ll give them a concession to fuel efficiency. A 4.0-liter V8 will be an option on future Continental GT models, cutting fuel consumption by up to 40 percent compared to its 6.0-liter W12. But that’s as far as Bentley will go.
”Our customers at the moment don’t want a light car,” said Robin Peel, regional coordinator for Bentley in South Asia and Australia, and possessor of the most British name in the kingdom. ’They want lots of things in a car. The characteristics of a Bentley are partly derived by its weight, its rigidity and its strength.
Unlike parent company Audi, Bentley will not dabble in aluminum space frames or composite panels—the Bentley Continental Supersports was an experiment, according to Peel, but not something the company will focus on.
“The Supersports was clearly our toe in the water about lightening a car … and that was received very well. It’s got a short life, so it was an experiment. So then we review that, sit back, what was your reaction to it. Did it touch what customers wanted in terms of rawness from a Bentley, or did it go too far?”
So that means no “baby” Bentleys, no more lightened track specials, just more of what Bentley does best—building “the fastest lorries in the world.” The day that they build an Aston Martin Cygnet will be the day that future Bentleys are powered from the kinetic energy contained in W.O. Bentley’s spinning grave.
”Bentley has always been about grand touring,” said Peel. ”It’s not about small, frantic, high-revving, high-performance cars, but about oodles of power and torque, and about performance, but in a way that is relaxed and easy and luxurious. That’s embedded in us, absolutely.”
[Source: The Age]