Bentley to End W12 Engine Production Next Year
Bentley has confirmed plans to stop production of the iconic W12 engine at its factory in Crewe, England, next year. Volkswagen Group, which owns Bentley, has been adamant about its transition toward electrified models and the industry trend has been to do the same with high-end luxury vehicles. The assumption here is that novel technologies will bring in high rollers and that battery tech will maximize profitability by reducing labor costs and making it easier for the big brands to comply with governmental regulations.
Abandoned History: General Motors' Turbo-Hydramatic Transmissions (Part III)
We return to the Turbo-Hydramatic once more today, and our third installment sees us at a critical point in the timeline of the automatic transmission. Fuel economy pressure from the government and performance demands of the consumer increased considerably in the intervening years since the THM’s debut in 1964. That meant the creation of lighter, more compact, and cheaper versions of the Turbo-Hydramatic compared to its flagship shifter, the THM400. GM branched out into the likes of the THM350, THM250, and the very problematic THM200.
In 1987, GM stepped away from the traditional THM naming scheme and switched to a new combination of letters and numbers. Number of gears, layout, and strength combined to turn the THM400 into the 3L80. But the hefty gearbox was already limited by then to heavier truck applications; passenger cars moved on to four forward gears after the dawn of the Eighties.
Abandoned History: General Motors' Turbo-Hydramatic Transmissions (Part II)
Our Abandoned History coverage of the Turbo-Hydramatic transmission series continues today. The THM was a singular solution to two different automatic transmissions in use by Oldsmobile, Cadillac, and Buick in 1963. Turbo-Hydramatic arrived at a time of modernization for the automatic, which prior to the mid-Sixties was regarded as inefficient and less than smooth.
The THM400 was the 1964 replacement for the Hydra-Matic and Buick’s Dynaflow and established itself as a smooth and reliable gearbox. It proved useful in a variety of luxury and heavy-duty applications and shrugged off weight and torque easily. In short order, it took off as the transmission of choice for various small manufacturers outside of GM. However, no matter how excellent the THM400 was, it found itself squeezed by a drive toward greater fuel efficiency. It was also a bit hefty to be of broad use in smaller or lighter passenger cars. GM needed more Turbo-Hydramatics!
Abandoned History: General Motors' Turbo-Hydramatic Transmissions (Part I)
A few weeks ago, we concluded Abandoned History’s two-part coverage of the Chrysler UltraDrive transmission. Within the comments was a request for more transmission coverage of an equally abandoned nature. Let it be so! Come along as we discuss the vast automatically shifted expanse that was the Turbo-Hydramatic transmission family, by General Motors.
An Exploration of the Cars and Chronographs Connection
They say that the first auto race happened about five minutes after the second car was built, and there was probably an obvious winner (heck, the first “official” US auto race only had six starters, and two finishers). But progress begets parity. Before long, the cars started to get closer to one another in terms of performance and the drivers’ relative talents became more and more important to ensuring victories – but talent is a tough thing to eyeball. You need something a little more precise.
What you need, is a watch. Ideally, something you can depend on to deliver accurate results, lap after lap, shine or rain. Maybe something Swiss, you know?
Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous: At Speed With Bentley's 2021 Lineup
For those of typical means, ultra-luxury automakers like Bentley exist in a vacuum. We see an M3’s worth of options on a Flying Spur and scoff at something so preposterous, so alien to our understanding of a dollar’s value.
It’s true enough that the law of diminishing returns tends to really kick in when MSRPs soar into six-figure territory and beyond: Is a Bugatti Chiron 50 times better than a C8 Corvette? Probably not. But years ago, when I was handed the keys to my first Bentley press car, I approached the prospect with a similar mindset and came away a changed man.
In Memoriam: The Rolls-Royce-Bentley Six and Three-Quarter Litre V8
Today we bid a belated farewell to a legend of an engine, the Six and Three-Quarter Litre V8. In production since 1959 at the factory in Crewe, The L-series V8 had several different displacements and powered many different luxury vehicles. And some boats.
Style King Bentley Bentayga Goes In for a Facelift
If you detected a whiff of sarcasm in that headline, your nose wasn’t off. Yes, style and beauty is entirely subjective, but the range-topping Bentley Bentayga has never found itself at the top of any writer’s sexiest-dressed list.
And that’s okay! It’s big, it’s bold, and it sells, so Bentley naturally loves anything that generates profits in a market quickly shying away from traditional body styles. Still, better is always possible, so the marque took the Bentayga to the plastic surgeon.
Rare Rides: A 1988 Bentley Eight, the Ace of Base
Recently we featured a flagship Bentley in the Azure convertible, which was among the most expensive production cars money could buy. Today we have a look at the cheapest Bentley available – the Eight. Let’s check out the Bentley for poor people.
Rare Rides: A 1994 Bentley Azure, As Built by Pininfarina
One of the most exclusive convertibles in the world when it was new, the Bentley Azure was a Rare Ride even in the Nineties. But today’s example is a special pre-production model. It was sent off to Pininfarina as a new Continental R, while the Azure was only a dream in Bentley’s head.
Let’s take a closer look at this incredibly rare cabriolet.
Volkswagen Group to Bentley: Get Your Act Together, Now
It’s a brand showcased in countless music videos over the past two decades, but that doesn’t mean it features very highly in owner Volkswagen Group’s good books.
British ultra-luxury marque Bentley was just given a dressing down by its strict German guardians, told to shape up and start making money or face the consequences. The stern ultimatum came from the Piech and Porsche families, the auto group’s majority shareholders.
While the parents of the parent group didn’t spell out what would happen if Bentley doesn’t turn over a new leaf in the next one to two years, it’s looking like the brand could find itself in a basket on the front steps of an orphanage.
Gas-guzzling Former Roommates Poised to Become Eco Rivals
For nearly five decades, Rolls-Royce and Bentley shared the same bed, then lived amicably under the same roof for another 18 years, becoming ever closer to each other due to dwindling shared finances. Then two Germans showed up and they parted ways, forever.
While still representing the richly browned upper crust of British motoring, the two brands have maintained fairly similar development paths, launching sedans, coupes, and now SUVs in quick succession of each other. Now, because green types look down on ornate, porky, roadgoing behemoths powered by gas-swilling eight- and twelve-cylinder engines, both brands have decided to embrace the environmental movement.
Naturally, news of these tentative electric product plans hit the presses almost simultaneously.
Rolls-Royce Wants to Out-luxury All SUVs, so Bentley's Planning to Out-power Its Luxo Barge Rivals
The top end of the automotive market is home to surprising levels of competitiveness, even among brands traditionally seen as staid and reserved. Rolls-Royce fits this description, though the maker of opulent drawing rooms on wheels isn’t one to back down from a schoolyard scrap (as we saw earlier this year following some mild trash talk from Aston Martin-owned Lagonda).
Bentley, the rival-turned-family-member-turned-rival-again, has always positioned itself as the sportier alternative to Rolls-Royce, so it’s only natural that the lads in Crewe are planning a response to their competitor’s introduction of an ultra-lux SUV. Sure, the Cullinan pampers its occupants until they develop gout, but can it pull out their remaining hair follicles through sheer speed?
Eight Is Great: Bentley Bentayga to Adopt V8 Engine
The other day, we brought you news of an electrified Bentayga, as the crew from Crewe decided to electrify their SUV with a 10.8 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. At the time, we mentioned the possibility of a gasoline-fired V8 engine showing up in the near future.
Well, that didn’t take long, with Bentley announcing today the introduction of a 4.0-liter, twin-turbocharged V8, set to make 542 bhp (about 550 hp, awaiting certification) and 568 lb-ft of torque. You know what else has a 4.0-liter twin turbo? That’s right, the Lamborghini Urus.
Charge It, Jeeves: Bentley to Unveil Bentayga Plug-In Hybrid
Making good on a statement made a year ago, Bentley will show a plug-in hybrid variant of its cross-eyed uniquely styled Bentayga at March’s Geneva Motor Show. This continues its expansion of a model that is already built with a 6.0-liter W12 and, in some markets, a 4.0-litre diesel V8. A gasoline-fuelled V8 is apparently on tap, too.
This will mark the first electrified vehicle for the luxury brand, one better known for bespoke interiors than batteries and kilowatts. Going forward, though, there’s an increasingly excellent chance that electrons will spread like wild kudzu across the model range.
Former Lamborghini Boss Stephan Winkelmann Leaving Audi Sport to Run Bugatti in 2018
According to a report in Autocar, the rise through Volkswagen Group ranks accomplished by Audi Sport CEO Stephan Winkelmann will continue in 2018.
Formerly a Fiat employee, the 52-year-old Winkelmann became famous in the auto industry during his decade-long run as president and CEO of Lamborghini. Winkelmann then took over at Audi’s Quattro performance division in March 2016 before changing its name to Audi Sport. But the Rome native’s tenure at Audi Sport will reportedly be cut short by Volkswagen Group’s need to fill the lead position at its flagship brand, Bugatti.
If Autocar’s sources are right, look for Winkelmann to take over at Bentley in 2019, as well. Makes you wonder: Winkelmann has climbed from Fiat to Lamborghini to Audi Sport to Bugatti and Bentley. What’s next?
Rare Rides: The 1990 Bentley Hooper Empress II - a Turbo R by Any Other Name
Back in June, Rare Rides profiled a different blue British beauty in the form of the Aston Martin Lagonda. Down in the comments section, TTAC reader Heino requested coverage of a Hooper-bodied Bentley.
Frankly, I forgot about the request in short order. But it sprang back to mind as soon as I saw the awkward visage of what would become today’s Rare Ride: a Bentley Hooper Empress II. Ready for a history lesson?
Geneva 2017: Bentley Motors Seeks EV Approval With EXP 12 Speed 6e Concept
The mounting pressure of tightening fuel economy and emissions standards is causing even the most extravagant luxury brands to re-evaluate their bias toward hulking internal combustion engines. No less subject to the laws of the land than any other automaker, Bentley returned to the Geneva International Motor Show with an electric convertible version of its 2015 Speed 6 concept, dubbed — and this is a mouthful — the EXP 12 Speed 6e.
While there is no accounting for taste, the flipped and wandering 1994 Toyota Celica headlamps aren’t my cup of tea. To be frank, it’s a gaping fish-eyed mess from the front. It’s as if the car saw its own lavish interior and couldn’t believe something so glorious could be associated with its own ghastly visage. While I understand that the headlights are signature Bentley and the EXP 10 Speed 6 possesses a nearly identical face, it just isn’t working for me in this instance. The rest of the car, however, is irrefutably gorgeous — especially that aforementioned interior.
Not that you shouldn’t take a moment to bask, but the EXP 12 concept wasn’t designed to show off its interior. It was built to gauge the public interest in an all-electric luxury tourer and potentially shape Bentley’s future luxury strategy.
NAIAS 2017: Bentley's New Best: The 209 MPH Continental Supersports
Equipped with unnecessary power and pluralization, the 2017 Continental Supersports should be the fastest production Bentley in history — especially considering that it is, unequivocally, the most muscular.
This is the third implementation of the Supersports title by the Anglo-German carmaker. Originally used to denote the ultra-rare high-speed variants of the Bentley 3 Litres in the 1920s, the company reintroduced the name as a leaner and meaner version of the Continental in 2009. At the time, its 621 horsepower twin-turbo W12 made it a sledgehammer wrapped in velvet and the most luxurious super tourer a pile of money could buy. While Bentley seems adverse to updating the styling, it doesn’t seem to have any problems updating powertrains. The 2017 incarnation of the Supersports shaped up to be an elegant monster.
"…and Re-vulcanize These Tires!" Bentley Spares Owners From the Hassle of Pumping Gas
You’re a busy person, and standing at a gas station with a nozzle in your hand is for plebes.
Not to put too much of undergrad term paper slant on it, but that’s what Bentley silently suggests by rolling out a trial fuel delivery service for its owners. The ultra-luxury automaker has teamed up with U.S. tech startup Filld to offer the perk.
Ungainly Bentayga 'Cayennes' Bentley In Its First Month On The Market
Mercedes-Benz began selling the ML in 1997. Seemingly more of a stretch, along came the BMW X5 two years later.
Then Porsche, not just a luxury carmaker but the preeminent German sports car builder, pulled the same stunt with the Cayenne in 2003. The move doesn’t seem so crazy now that Porsche produces 60 percent of its U.S. sales by way of the Cayenne and its little brother, the Macan.
Indeed, there were no surprises when earlier this year, in one fell swoop, the F-Pace became Jaguar’s best-selling model in its first month on the market, outselling the newly re-launched XF and the brand new XE right from the start.
But can the same strategy be replicated further upmarket? Much further upmarket, at a $232,000 price point? At a brand which suffered a 46-percent year-over-year sales decline in 2016’s first seven months?
Most definitely. The Bentayga is to Bentley what the Cayenne became to Porsche, what the F-Pace has already become at Jaguar. Only more so.
The Man Behind Bentley's Sexiest Concept Now Has Even More Control Over the Brand's Looks
There’s a new guy in charge of sculpting Bentley’s voluptuous British bodies.
The automaker announced today that John Paul Gregory has been appointed Head of Exterior Design, putting him in charge of the team crafting future Bentley models. An eight-year veteran of the company, Gregory replaces Sangyup Lee, who jumped ship to the new Genesis brand back in May.
Bentley Bentayga Fly Fishing by Mulliner Is for the Discerning Angler
Hey you! Yeah, you with the William Fioravanti suit and Allen Edmonds wingtips. Why are you going fishing like a commoner with a lowly Porsche Cayenne? The discerning angler demands a BENTLEY BENTAYGA FLY FISHING BY MULLINER!
Volkswagen Shakeup Continues: Five New Chiefs Named
Five new chiefs for research, sales and production will lead Volkswagen, the automaker announced Thursday, including a new engineering chief to replace Ulrich Hackenberg, the longtime boss at the center of the diesel cheating scandal.
The automaker also announced a smaller, more linear organization for its chiefs. Volkswagen cut in half the number of managers who report directly to new CEO Matthias Müller, according to the automaker, which could help end the cutthroat corporate culture that contributed to the pressure to appease former CEO Martin Winterkorn.
“These structural changes speed up the decision-making process, reduce complexity and increase efficiency,” Müller said in a statement.
Watch Volkswagen Group Night Live at 1:30 PM ET
Volkswagen, as usual before the Frankfurt Auto Show, will be showing all its wares live, Apple-style, the night before press days.
We’ve already seen the Tiguan, Bentley Bentayga and Audi A4, but could there be a surprise up Mr. Winterkorn’s sleeve?
We will keep track of the reveals after the jump.
Bentley Bentayga Officially Announced, Still Not Any Easier To Spell
After two years and one seriously overhauled concept, Bentley took the wrapper off its first SUV on Wednesday, which made it the first automaker to offer an ultra-luxury SUV — and certainly not the last.
Bentley’s Bentayga will be powered by an all-new W-12 engine that produces 600 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque, according to the automaker. That will motivate the three-ton behemoth from 0-60 mph in 4 seconds on its way up to a top speed of 187 mph.
The initial Bentaygas will be gasoline versions with a turbocharged diesel and plug-in hybrid variants soon to follow, according to Bentley.
Bentley didn’t say how much the Bentaygas would cost at launch, so we’re telling you there’s still a chance.
Bentley Can Stretch Its 'Brand DNA' Quite A Ways, It Appears
Bentley’s upcoming SUV, dubbed Bentayga, may be shown here in all its 1:18-scale glory in leaked photos released by CarNewsChina.com.
If the photos — reportedly from a Chinese toy company — resemble the final figure for the luxury automaker’s SUV, which is partially based on architecture from Audi’s Q7, that is exactly what a Bentley SUV should look like. It’s like the automaker rolled Silly Putty on a Flying Spur and pulled it from the top and the back.
The SUV is slated to go on sale in 2017 and will be unveiled at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September.
Geneva 2015: Refreshed Bentley Continental GT Bows
Coming off a successful trip to Bathurst, the refreshed Bentley Continental GT brought its family to the 2015 Geneva Auto Show.
Geneva 2015: Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6 Revealed
A concept previewing “the future direction of luxury and performance,” the Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6 was unveiled at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show.
Volkswagen To Triple SUV Lineup In Fight Against Toyota For Total Global Sales
With Toyota still in its sights, Volkswagen plans to triple the number of SUVs in its lineup in its fight for the top sales podium among the Global Three.