But it should still feel like a real Bentley.
Bentley is gearing up for a massive electric vehicle onslaught. The British brand says its entire lineup will have plug-in hybrid drivetrains by 2025 before going all-electric by 2030. Bentley will launch its first EV in 2025, in the form of a high-riding luxury sedan. Whether this sedan will go by a new name or adopt an existing nameplate like the Bentley Flying Spur remains unclear but according to Autocar one thing is for certain: this new model won't actually be built by Bentley.
The EV, codenamed Project Artemis, will ride on a bespoke VW Group architecture that will be shared with the 2021 Audi e-tron GT. Audi will reportedly build the bodies at its facility before sending them to the UK to be finished by Bentley.
"We started building in Crewe in 1936, and we've invested hundreds of millions in infrastructure and certification for electrification, so we have the capability to do it," said Bentley chairman and CEO Adrian Hallmark. "But the important thing to note is that we still have to be competitive and fight to ensure the maximum possible content for our cars is made in Crewe. We are part of a group, so we must prove we are the best option, but from a brand point of view, it is our mission to ensure everything can be built here."
Hallmark admitted that Bentley's first EV may actually be built by Audi, likely at the Bollinger Hofe facility in Neckarsulm, Germany, where the e-tron GT just started rolling off the assembly line.
"Yes, it is feasible that we may get coated, unpainted bodies and then do the rest of the work - all the way through to the bespoke trim and interiors, but we have a proud record of adding value on the site that is exceptional. Today, I can say that the mission for this car is to have it in Crewe," he said.
" We will have more synergies in five to 10 years with Audi in terms of luxury than we do now with Porsche on sportiness. Working with Audi is an opportunity, not a risk," Hallmark explained. "We will have relations with sister brands and are happy to do so. It sends a strong message for Bentley's future that we are a strategic part of the group - that we are electrifying and are pushing forward."
So while it will have Audi underpinnings, Bentley seems confident that its first EV will live up to the brand's high expectations.