New Bentleys Are So Heavy Owners Might Need A New License To Drive Them

Luxury / 11 Comments

This is a weird one.

In most countries, driving licenses are split into classifications. For example, here in America, you can have a license for a passenger vehicle, a motorcycle, or a commercial vehicle. Generally speaking, these are split by the size (or type) of vehicle. It's the same story in Europe and Australia, though with some slightly different regs. Bentley, being an automaker, knows this and tries to stay within those confines.

However, the general beefiness of newer Bentley models may make that a little tough. In fact, Bentley is petitioning for a change in European licensing regulations so that its customers will be able to drive cars like the Bentley Bentayga and Flying Spur on a regular license. You read right, Bentleys are so heavy that they could soon require a different driver's license, at least in Europe.

Driving Front Angle Bentley
Side View Bentley
Driving Back View Bentley

Bentley Product Line Director Chris Cole told CarSales that the Volkswagen Group, which owns Bentley, is petitioning to negotiate an increase in weight limits for Euro licenses. "The rules on licenses...There must be a critical change with licensing," he said. "At the moment, with current technology, the gross vehicle weight will be hitting the [license] ceiling of all of Europe. That's an active conversation with the certification authorities as the situation changes."

Cole went on to say that he doesn't view it as Bentley being too heavy or in the wrong. Instead, VAG views it as an unnecessary regulation. In Europe, Cole says the weight limits for passenger car licenses are there to encourage lighter cars, which get better fuel economy. But, he says that's no longer necessary because the majority of cars will be going electric.

Dashboard Bentley
Rearmost Seats Bentley
Back Seats Bentley
Overhead Screen Bentley

That said, the biggest Bentley out there, the recently revealed Bentayga Extended Wheelbase, comes in at 5,512 pounds while it has a Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) of 7,65 pounds. European passenger vehicle licenses cap out at 7,716 lbs, dangerously close to the weight of the biggest Bentayga. It's important to note that Bentley seems to be alone in this fight, which suggests maybe they already have an upcoming model that exceeds that limit.

BMW has already said its cars won't be getting any heavier, they'll be getting lighter in fact. Mercedes has said something similar, too, having cited lighter batteries as a way forward. Supposing this reg change doesn't fall in Bentley's favor, the brand might find itself in some hot water. A regulatory change for the entirety of the European Union is a massive task for the Volkswagen Group, and we don't think it's very likely this will work. However, only time (and a set of scales) will tell.

2020-2022 Bentley Flying Spur Forward Vision Bentley
2020-2022 Bentley Flying Spur Driving Front Angle Bentley
2020-2022 Bentley Flying Spur Interior Wooden Trim Bentley
2020-2022 Bentley Flying Spur Seat Belt Bentley
Source Credits: CarSales

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