Bentley CEO Wolfgang Durheimer tells a bit about where Bentley will be going in the future.
With the announcement last year that the Bentley Continental would get an entry-level twin-turbo V8, some people started to worry about the future of the company. With engine downsizing spreading through the whole automotive industry, it seemed as though Bentley was on the brink of losing an important part of their identity. In an interview with Car and Driver, Bentley CEO Wolfgang Durheimer reassured the faithful that the W12 will stay.
Bentley will be offering a range of new engine options in the near future, but Durheimer was sure to say that he considers the 12-cylinder engine an essential part of the brand's identity, even going so far as to say "a 12-cylinder engine is a sexy engine". While it is slightly disturbing to hear a grey-haired German man use the word "sexy", we still very much appreciated that he said it. Durheimer went on to say that a diesel version of the classic 6 3/4-liter V8 is in the works, noting that if diesel can provide a significant torque advantage without the need for a tradeoff in terms of noise and smoke, then it would very much be worth it for Bentley.
Bentley is also working on a plug-in hybrid, but Durheimer made it clear that a "first-generation hybrid" would represent too significant a compromise in performance, and will not be pursued. Flex-fuel engines are on their way out for Bentley, and despite advancements being made in biofuel, Durheimer no longer has any interest in E85, saying "I'm not sure this horse pulls a second time". Bentley, though a luxury brand, is at heart a driver's brand, and Durheimer, who also serves as VW Group's head of motorsports, understands the importance of this role. So don't fret, Bentley faithful, the company is in good hands.