Crossing the 700 horsepower mark was previously the preserve of bonkers supercars such as the Ferrari F12 or Lamborghini Aventador. Now, Bentley has joined this rarefied group with perhaps the most useable car in this segment. The Continental Supersports is designed to be a four-seat grand tourer that promises luggage space for a weekend road trip and everyday usability. Continue reading “Bentley Continental Supersports: The World’s Fastest Four Seater”
JUST AS THE CAYENNE offended purists but made Porsche enough money to make endless GT3 derivatives, so the Bentley Bentayga SUV seems certain to allow the British firm to return to the two-seater sports car market. The Bentayga has been a smash, comfortably outstripping its predicted production run of 3600 cars in 2016 to hit a total of almost 5500. And forthcoming long-wheelbase and ‘coupe’ editions will only add to the coffers at Crewe. Continue reading “V8 ‘Barnato’ May Be Possible Thanks To Bentayga Sales”
THE Bentley Bentayga has already been a huge success for the British luxury manufacturer; depending on which market you’re in, the waiting list for the brand’s first SUV could be as long as two years. That demand is only likely to grow with the addition of this new diesel variant – the first Bentley not to use a petrol engine. There is a risk involved, but make no mistake; the new Bentayga Diesel is a car that could only happen because Bentley knows there is demand for it . Continue reading “Bentley Bentayga Diesel”
There’s much to be said for a well-sorted sporting GT, but sometimes there’s business to be done or sleep to be had with miles still to go. And, for that, you need a luxurious, autonomous car. This is Bentley’s version of autonomy however, which involves a technological marvel called a “chauffeur”, and a car called the Mulsanne Extended Wheelbase.
The literal naming strategy doesn’t do justice to the rear-seat experience of this particular Bentley, mind you, because it makes a business jet look like a Victorian workhouse. An extra 250mm of space inveigled into the already generous Mulsanne rear compartment, airline-style reclining armchairs, champagne fridges, a pair of tablets that rise electrically from the back of the front seats, and a foldy-out table arrangement that has its own suspension and damping system reminiscent of an expensive Ducati superbike.
The leather is warm, quilted and soft, the veneers and burnished bits wrought to perfection. There’s a wafty 6.75-litre bi-turbo VS mounted on active engine mounts punting out 505bhp and 7521b ft giving 0-62mph in 5.5secs and 184mph top end. The suspension is air, the bushings anti-vibratory, the lyres filled with noise-suppressing foam. And you may think that with all that dense luxury swilling about in the wheelbase, the EWB should handle like an elephant carrying an ornate palanquin on its back. And yet it doesn’t. It’s near silent, beautiful, cosseting, and uniquely wonderful to ride in: when you can’t bear to take the wheel, there’s no finer back seat.
In a landmark move by the Crewe-based luxury car maker, Bentley has announced that its first ever diesel powered car will be delivered in the UK early next year. Priced at £135/500, the 429bhp 4.0-litre triple-charged V8 diesel engine develops a mighty 646lb ft of torque and lays claim to being the fastest diesel SUV in the world. It is recognisable thanks to a V8 diesel badge on the lower edge of the front doors, as well as a twin-quad exhaust pipe design and a black grille with chrome surround and central bar. To mark the occasion, Bentley has introduced a new Liquid Amber finish wood veneer for the cabin, with each of the 15 pieces hand selected by Bentley’s well trained craftspeople. With the ability to accelerate to 62mph in just 4.8 seconds and reach a top speed of 168mph, the Bentayga Diesel has a driving range of 1,000 kilometres (621 miles), thanks to an 85-litre fuel tank. CO2 emissions are confirmed as 210g/km, with fuel economy of 35.8mpg quoted for the combined cycle.
As well as stop-start technology, the newcomer features selective catalyst reduction to tackle nitrous oxides. Under the bonnet is a development of Audi’s 4.0-litre V8 engine that is found in the fastest SQ7, featuring sequential twin-scroll turbochargers that are powered by the exhaust gases, and a third electric supercharger that is powered by a 48-volt electrical system. The inclusion of the latter is designed to reduce what is commonly referred to as turbo lag, to deliver seamless power and acceleration off the line. The optional Bentley Dynamic Ride system also makes use of the 48-volt architecture, a world first, and is designed to counter body roll through bends, ensuring a comfortable ride that can respond immediately to changes to the road surface and architecture. The Bentayga Diesel has undergone the most punishing development programme in Bentley’s history, with prototypes tested across five continents. From minus 30 degrees Celsius temperatures in the North Cape to the heat of 50 degrees in the desert, the large SUV has been put through its paces on all surfaces to ensure it can withstand the most extreme circumstances possible.
High on the island of Gran Canaria is the rock that gave Bentley’s Bentayga its name. Time one towering monolith met the other, surely?
Melted ice cream runs in white and pink rivulets across chubby, sun-kissed knuckles. Moments later soft balls of vanilla and strawberry slide from the cone and plop onto hot, parched sand, lost forever to the desiccated ground. A crying shame but you can understand the poor child’s lapsed concentration. There he is, perhaps 11 years old, shuffling along the beach in still-damp trunks, thinking about Pokémon, when through the dunes comes a Bentley in such a dazzling shade of silver that its metallic skin might be chromed. As he watches on, ice cream turning to cream, the Bentayga slowly but imperiously rolls over the next rise and out of sight. The cultured murmur of its 12-cylinder engine is lost to the breeze almost immediately but the Pirellis’ tracks linger as proof of its surreal passing.
Inside, with the ventilated (or heated, and of course massage-ready) seats at ten-tenths to keep me from sticking to the lickably nice Portland hide, I can’t help but smile at the incongruity of it all, of clambering about on rocks and sand in one of the most expensive cars I’ve driven this year, and of waving not at Berber travellers in grit-blasted blue garb or intrepid overlanders but bemused German nudists and families clutching buckets and spades. Truly this is a weird take on sandy off-roading, fraught less with the risk of getting stuck and slowly boiling to death in some remote desert and more of scuffing a diamond-turned 21-inch wheel or being busted by the local police for trespassing. For while these are most definitely sand dunes they’re not of die type you might ordinarily picture. Here, in Gran Canaria’s package Mecca Maspalomas, die dunes are surrounded on three sides by sprawling hotel complexes and, where they drop down to the beach, great flocks of migratory holidaymakers. The breeze is perfumed not with the timeless, earthy majesty of the Sahara but with chips, beer and sun cream, and getting here was as hard as taking the right exit from the motorway and dodging a runaway windblown lilo in town.
Why Gran Canaria? The island is of course home to the rock that gave this controversial Bentley its name, but more than that it’s also a spectacularly picturesque laboratory in which to try to find a few answers. Answers to questions like whether or not the an-/off-road template for success that sees Sunderland crank out Qashqais by the truckload can stretch to $197.000, and whether the deft case of the Porsche Cayenne – the cash-cow that somehow left the brand untarnished – was a fluke or a miracle architect Wolfgang Dürheimer, then at Porsche, now at Bentley, can pull off a second time. And can we even find this oddly named rock in our oddly-named SUV, hidden at the end of hundreds of kilometres of winding mountain roads hardy wider than a garden path, and curiously absent from the Bentley’s navigation system?
Rock Bentayga was formed a few million years ago when a volcano emerged from the shimmering waters of the North Atlantic, grew until it towered above the sea and then collapsed in on itself like a Masterchef soufflé, leaving behind a dramatic island geography of high ridges, steep-sided ravines and rock monoliths. Bentley’s Bentayga was formed when Dürheimer arrived at Crewe convinced the place needed an SUV to fill out its range and massage its finances. At the car’s launch he insisted there was ‘room for an SUV in the Bentley lifestyle’, adding that there was ‘no product in this price region or in this region of exclusivity’. That region is a base price for the petrol W12 (a diesel V8 goes on sale this month – see pm), a sum to which most buyers add options for an average purchase price.
Luxury four-door gets tweaks designed to make you give the chauffeur the day off
Choosing a Bentley Flying Spur used to be a simple affair, with its well-heeled buyers facing a straightforward choice between the power of the Wl2-engined version and the poise of the V8 one, but now Bentley has made things a little more complicated. Although there are no new powertrains (so still the W12 and V8), the line-up has been punctuated with models that display a sportier character to give owners a “real sense of Bentley’s racing heritage”, in the company’s own words.
As well as the Flying Spur V8 S driven here, Bentley has introduced a W12 S and given both cars the same uprated suspension and sportier exterior details, in addition to increasing their power outputs. The V8 S gains 21bhp and 14lb ft of torque over the standard V8, taking its total output to 521bhp and 502lb ft. (For the record, the W12 S has 626bhp and 605lb ft, increases of l0bhp and 15lb ft over the regular W12 model.)
As for the rest of the mechanicals, Bentley has made the suspension tauter, but in an effort to maintain comfort, it hasn’t lowered the car in the way that it has done with the S versions of the Continental GT. The S also gets a black honeycomb grille, gloss black rear diffuser and dark tinted lighting, all in the pursuit of giving it a meaner look.
The Flying Spur’s twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 may not offer the same sense of occasion that the W12 or the Mulsanne’s 6.75-litre V8 bring, but its lighter construction gives the Flying Spur greater poise and it is able to haul this near three-tonne car to 60mph in just 4.6sec and continue on to a top speed of 190mph.
It’s impressive that, even with the suspension tweaks, the V8 S remains a superb cruiser that glides smoothly and quietly. Yet if you stamp on the throttle, the engine makes itself known through its satisfying burble. Slot the solidly built, knurled chrome gear selector into S mode and the V8’s presence is all the more obvious, with the ZF automatic gearbox holding onto each ratio longer, allowing revs to rise as you bask in its bassy note.
In truth, the V8 engine’s ability was never really in question. However, the Flying Spur’s air suspension is less impressive, so you would be forgiven for thinking that making it sportier could only be to the detriment of this big Bentley. Sure enough, it thuds over imperfections in the road surface around town. However, the similar-priced Aston Martin Rapide S is more jarring, and the Flying Spur is impressively cosseting at higher speeds.
It still leans over like a large SUV when it’s in its softest damper setting, but when you toggle it towards the sporty end of the spectrum, the V8 S firms to the point where body roll is barely noticeable and you almost forget the car’s heft.
Inside, you’ll find lashings of lavish materials and the craftsmanship for which Bentley is renowned. However, for every hand-finished, fine-grade material used, there is a sense that its effect has been undone by the infotainment system. The Volkswagen Phaeton-sourced system is functional, but it is too slow and clunky compared with the modern, polished systems in Rolls-Royces, Range Rovers and Mercedes-Benz S-Classes. It’s a shame, because it takes away some of the allure of the Bentley’s otherwise luxurious interior.
Although the V8 S isn’t perfect, it’s the best model in the Flying Spur range,because the engine is as good as ever and Crewe has successfully converted a car to be chauffeured around in into a car you’ll enjoy driving. True, it’s priced very close to the Rapide S, but although the V12 in the Aston Martin is soulful, the Bentley is a far more enjoyable and easier car to live with day to day. It might even tempt buyers out of the rear seats and into the front.
Engine and chassis upgrades make this the pick of the Flying Spur range, if you prefer to drive yourself
Price: £ 118,810
Engine: V8, 3993cc, twin-turbo, petrol
Power: 521bhp at 6000rpm
Torque: 502lb ft at 1700rpm
Gearbox: 8-spd automatic
Kerb weight: 2972kg
Top speed: 190mph
Economy: 25.9mpg (combined)
CO2/tax band: 254g/km, 37%
Rivals: Aston Martin Rapide S, Rolls-Royce Ghost
Bentley has revealed its fastest four-door model yet: the 202mph Flying Spur W12 S. The S uses Crewe’s familiar W12 engine, but power is up by 10bhp to 626bhp and torque by 151b ft to 6051b ft over the standard W12, enabling a 4.5sec 0-62mph time for the 2.5-tonne, all-wheel-drive model.
The W12 S also gets bespoke styling features, revised suspension that’s said to offer improved body control without sacrificing comfort, a rear diffuser, 21 in seven-spoke wheels and a three-spoke Sport Plus steering wheel. Pricing for the new model is yet to be revealed, but expect a significant increase on the £154,900 starting price of the regular W12 Flying Spur.
Something tells us that, just as it happened with the Cayenne, the new Bentley SUV will be prey to numerous tuners, ready to put more power under its hood and even more brutality to such a massive look that knows any kind of compromise. Of course looking back at the first concepts, Bentley has clearly improved the overall look of the Bentayga, but if your tastes are asking for something more unique and distinguishable, Startech has unsheathed the first tuning proposal.
Let’s start with the performance segment, where we only find a new type of exhaust, while regarding the engine upgrade, we need to wait a bit. Aesthetically, Startech makeover is distinguishable for new and huge set of 23” wheels and for a whole series of aerodynamic details scattered a bit everywhere and available in carbon fiber, of course.
There is therefore a new front bumper and a new one at the rear, a spoiler on the rear window and a diffuser reminiscent of those we see in F1. After all were facing an light tuning kit that accentuates the sporty mood of this 600hp SUV which has already won the first and wealthy customers’ heart. And now, who’s next?
This is entayga Fly Fishing edition – created by Bentley’s in-house coachbuilding division Mulliner at a cost of £80,000. That’s on top of the price of a standard Bentayga, which starts from £161,375.
It features a hand-crafted fly fishing set trimmed in wood and leather, which includes four bespoke rods.
In the boot three individual, saddle- leather-trimmed units house a sliding tray, a refreshment case and a waterproof wader stowage trunk. However, all three units can be removed if required to free up maximum luggage space.
To ensure your favourite hobby doesn’t damage the interior, Bentley provides an electronic dehumidifier, too. Further protection comes in the form of rear sill covers and a waterproof boot floor. Another exclusive touch to the Fly Fishing by Mulliner Bentayga are welcome lights which project Bentley and Mulliner logos on to the ground when the doors are opened. Customers can even specify a personalised projection.
The 2003 Continental GT with its magnificent W12 engine changed Bentley forever. Compact, rapid, reliable, and fashionable, the Conti (to use its street name) is one of the Crewe firm’s most admired products and brought the Bentley brand to a younger customer.
Arguably the most beautiful postwar Bentley, the Flying Spur was the first four-door Continental. Initially, Rolls-Royce would not allow builder H. J. Mulliner to use the name Continental, insisting it should only apply to two-door cars.
In its day the Bentley Continental, launched in 1952, was the fastest production four-seater in the world and acclaimed as “a modern magic carpet which annihilates distance.” The R-Type Conti is still rightly considered one of the greatest cars of all time. Designed for the English country gentleman, it was understated, but had a lithe, sinewy beauty rarely seen in other cars of its era.
No sooner had Volkswagen acquired Bentley than the German company made it clear that its new prize had a glamorous future in store. The 1999 Geneva Motor Show was chosen for the first appearance of a new Bentley concept car, the Hunaudières.
Folk were puzzled when Volkswagen bought Rolls-Royce Motors . . . without the right to use the name. The Rolls-Royce trademark had been sold to BMW in a cut-throat side deal. VW saved face by insisting that it only really wanted the sporty Bentley marque (not true!) and has proceeded to prove the point by producing a series of beautifully designed and appointed cars that are seriously fast. Continue reading “Bentley Continental GT – 2003”
Out went the Mulsanne and Bentley Eight, in came the Brooklands as Bentley’s top model. This full-sized luxury saloon was very much a product of the time when Rollers and Bentleys were identical, apart from the minor styling differences needed to differentiate one from the other. That was back in 1992, and when Volkswagen took over in 1998, the Bentley Arnage had been launched to replace the Brooklands — the last Bentley to share a common platform with a Rolls-Royce twin, in this case the Silver Seraph. Continue reading “Bentley Brooklands Coupe – 2008”
Finally, in 1991, Rolls-Royce Motors got around to creating a Bentley that owed nothing to a Rolls-Royce sibling, apart from the engine. The Continental R cashed in on popularity the resurgent Bentley marque had been enjoying since the early 1980s, and also plugged the gap left in the corporate range by the demise of the Rolls-Royce Camargue back in 1986. Continue reading “Bentley Continental R – 1991”
The success of the Bentley Continental R made the debut of a convertible version inevitable — and the Azure duly made a grand entrance at the Geneva Motor Show in 1995. This magnificent open-top touring car was based on the Continental R, but fully justified Bentley’s decision to classify it a separate model with a name and style all its own. Continue reading “Bentley Azure – 1995”
The Bentley Continental S1 had done well for Rolls-Royce — as did the companion Silver Shadow I — but times they were a-changing. In particular, the bell tolled for the venerable straight-six F-head, for Rolls introduced a 6.2 liter aluminum V8 that immediately went into uprated Bentley S2s and Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud IIs.
When the Bentley marque enjoyed a healthy revival after World War II, parent company Rolls-Royce was heavily into badge engineering the Bentley S1 was identical to the Silver Cloud 1, with no more that the distinctive R-R radiator distinguishing the two luxury cars.
It was the last of the line – arid the most impressive. The 8 liter Bentley made its debut at the Olympia Motor Show in 1930 and caused a sensation. It was the largest car hitherto made in Britain and a serious competitor for the Rolls-Royce Phantom II.