The Bentley brand has a strong foundation for its future and may see many changes over the next 10 to 20 years. There are a number of new models already planned, and there are a few other model ideas that could make sense for Bentley in the current, or near future, automotive climate.
With the introduction of the Bentayga, Bentley has found success with its first official SUV (some special 4×4 Bentleys were produced for the Sultan of Brunai in the 1996). The model had been masterminded by former CEO Wolfgang Dürheimer.
When talking about the future of Bentley’s SUV line, it is also worth looking at sister brand, Porsche’s example. not long after the Cayenne was introduced along came a smaller sibling, the very popular Macan.
There has already been speculation that, following the Porsche template, a smaller Bentley SUV will arrive soon after the Bentayga.
Unveiled at Los Angeles Motorshow 2014, the Grand Convertible drew a lot of media attention, not least because the press model bore a striking resemblance to the press model Rolls-Royce used to launch its Phantom Drop-Head Coupe in 2007. The blue body, wooden roof-cover, and silver bonnet were all highlighted features of the R-R model. This sends a clear message that Bentley intends to take on Rolls-Royce directly after the BMW-owned Brand had launched its large coupe, the “Wraith“, across the boughs of Bentley’s Continental GT.
Since the Brooklands went out of production, the Continental GT has been Bentley’s only coupe, but with the introduction of the Grand Convertible based along Mulsanne lines, it seems only reasonable to expect a 2 door Grand Coupe to follow soon after.
It wasn’t that long ago when the prospect of a Bentley having anything less than a 6-litre, 12-cylinder engine under the bonnet filled the marque’s faithful with horror, but, with Bentley’s centenary approaching, the original 3-litre Bentley will, no doubt, be raising its profile. Now that the company has begun reducing the size of its engines from big W12, to 4-litre V8 units, the time may be right to introduce an “entry level” 3-litre lightweight sports car. This would allow the company to reduce engine sizes further to respect environmental concerns, while helping to increase the sales to the ambitious levels the company management is hoping for.
The VW group already has such a power plant in production (the 3.0L VR6), and with its skill at adapting platforms for multiple marques, there could be a case for adapting, for example, an Audi platform to provide a robust base for such a model.
Flying Spur Estate
While the Bentayga SUV will be Bentley’s first production estate, a Flying Spur Estate might be popular in mainland Europe where powerful estate cars like the BMW M5 Estate and Audi RS4 Avant, are a dominant part of the motoring landscape. Coach-building company, Touring Superleggera, produced a small number of Bentley Flying Star Shooting Brake models, but an official production model has never been produced. The body style may not suit the large Bentley Mulsanne, but a Flying Spur Estate may be a more realistic prospect.
With BMW, Mercedes, Audi and Jaguar all producing four-door Coupe body styles, it is clear that there is demand in the higher end of the market for these cars. They may not be to everyone’s taste, but taste has never been the preserve of the super-wealthy. The Continental Flying Spur was effectively a four-door version of the GT, but its upright, saloon body lead to the Flying Spur dropping the “Continental” designation and losing its sporty pretensions. A four-door Coupe more similar in profile to the GT could form a more comfortable extension to the Continental range.