All posts in “Bentley Bentayga”

Official: 2022 Bentley Bentayga Extended Wheel Base

Bentley is hoping to stretch its reach further into the realms of luxury with the 2022 Bentley Bentayga Extended Wheel Base. The Bentley Bentayga EWB is based on the second generation of Bentayga, extending the wheelbase and rear cabin space by an extra 180mm. The changes to the underfloor, side panels, door and roof were worked on by Bentley’s design team to ensure the sharp lines and proportions of the Bentayga remain elegant and stylish. The increased length results in the wheelbase of the car being stretched from 2995 to 3175mm brining the total length to 5322mm. All of the increase in in the rear door panel highlighting the focus in the creating an even more sumptuous rear cabin with an emphasis on comfort and wellness. This is reflected in the introduction of the world’s first auto climate and advanced postural adjustment rear seat.

The new cabin space allows for the new Bentley Airline Seat which Bentley claims to be the ‘most advanced seat ever fitted to a car, with 22-ways of adjustment’. Having attended to the preview of the car earlier this year, I can confirm that the rear seats in this configuration are sublime, with ample room and endless adjustability.

The front passenger seat can be pushed forward and a leather-trimmed footrest can be deployed whilst rear passenger seats sense the occupant’s temperature and determine whether to apply heat, ventilation or both simultaneously whilst the postural adjustment system automatically makes micro adjustments to the occupant’s seating position pressure points by measuring pressure across the seats surface: clever stuff! Elsewhere in the cabin, there is a more advanced stitching design, Bentley Diamond Illumination on the door sills and a total of 24 billion(!) trim combinations that can be chosen from. 

Bentley predicts that the EWB model will account for 45% of Bentayga sales, but for many the two Airline Seats in the rear may not be the most desirable set up. No problem, a standard 4+1 seating layout is offered with the two outer rear seats featuring 16 ways of adjustment, heating, ventilation and five massage programmes. 

Visually the 2022 Bentley Bentayga EWB can be spotted from its new ‘Vertical Vane Grille’ design, new 22 inch 10-spoke wheel, repositioned sunroof and, of course, that elongated rear door. 

Mechanically the car is identical to the V8 offering in the Bentayga range with the exception of the rear-wheel-steer system that is new to the EWB. It allows the turning radius to be reduced by up to 7% helping compensate for the additional length of the Extended Wheel Base.

Expect to see the 2022 Bentley Bentayga Extended Wheel Base on the road soon knowing that the occupants are enjoying levels of comfort never previously experience in a Bentley SUV.

What does the Russian Ballet and Bentley have in common?

The title might have caught you off guard, but the famous Bentley Mulliner atelier has created a Russian Ballet themed collection with some unique detailing bespoke to these six regional cars, all of them already sold in case you are wondering, the Bentayga Speed Étoile celebrates six specific ballet moves about momentum, speed, and precision … Bentley Mulliner too inspiration from Russia’s great cultural heritage for the handcrafted details found in these six custom-built Bentley.

For the first time in the world, the Bentley Mulliner bespoke division created a collection that pays homage to Russian ballet, probably the most graceful and emotive expression of human artistry, and no other car than the majestic W12 powered Bentley Bentayga Speed would do, with her handbuilt engine assembled right at Crewe itself, the limited run of just six cars is meant to open the first chapter of the Russian Heritage Editions.

These Russian Heritage Edition Bentley will be made each year, with very specific themes intended for Russian clients, this first one centers around the more iconic ballet moves, and every single one of the six cars will emphasize a different move or motion with amazing, handcrafted details that will pay homage to the dramatic sensuality of ballet, and knowing Bentley Mulliner, this will be executed with the utmost attention to detail while using the finest materials to create perfection on wheels.

As mentioned earlier, there will be six different cars in this first chapter, and each of them will be finished in a different paint chosen from the vast Bentley palette, three of these cars will be finished in a two-tone paint scheme while the interior takes inspiration from four different specifications, each with her own interior split with one-off stitching and naturally featuring some special ballet embroidery in silver, there’s even a modern ballet overlay in front of the passenger on the dashboard.

The list of six different combinations for the bespoke Bentley Bentayga Speed Étoile is as follows:

Windsor Blue over Light Windsor Blue – Twine and Imperial Blue leather combined with Liquid Amber Veneer
Silver Storm over Damson – Autumn and Damson leather combined with Koa Veneer
Moonbeam over Moroccan Blue – Twine and Imperial Blue leather combined with Liquid Amber Veneer
Damson – Autumn and Damson leather combined with Koa Veneer
Spectre – Cashew and Burnt Oak leather combined with Dark Fiddleback Eucalyptus Veneer
Magnolia – Shortbread and Cricketball leather combined with Grand Black Veneer

Each of the six different cars is named after a special move in Ballet, this name is also displayed on the treadplate and is combined with the corresponding ballet imagery found on the interior.

Christian Schlick, Head of Bentley Russia, says, “We are excited to present the exclusive Bentayga Speed Russian Heritage Collection to our Russian customers. This project is built on the passion for perfection, which Bentley shares with such a grand and sophisticated art as ballet, the central motif of this year’s limited edition. These six unique SUVs will be delivered by Bentley Moscow and Moscow-Volgogradskiy at the end of the year, as all of the cars are already allocated.”

The Bentley Bentayga Speed for the regional collection comes with some special features, like darker headlights, color-coded side sills, bespoke front, and rear bumpers while these even receive a special rear spoiler, the radiator and bumper grilles are darker than usual while the wheels on these six cars are unique 22-inch designs, these cars even come with Russian Heritage LED welcome lighting.

For the interior, the Bentayga Speed two-tone pattern gets enhanced by using a dark accent running over the seats and trim, in addition to the edges of the seats and backrest being in a contrast color, these regional commission builds also come with contrast stitching, the press photos even show a stunning Breitling analog clock on the dashboard, absolutely stunning detail.

While these cars are absolutely beautiful both inside and outside, another beauty is hiding underneath the front hood, the impressive 6.-Liter W12 twin-turbocharged engine with her massive 626 hp output that delivers a top speed of 306 km/h (or 190 mph), thanks to a torque number of 900 Nm between 1,500 and 5,000 rpm, acceleration from 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) takes just 3.9 seconds in this luxury SUV, and thanks to the Bentley Dynamic Ride all this power can be enjoyed with class-leading cabin stability, ride comfort and exceptional handling.

Best of the Current Bentley Model Lineup

Bentley is an indispensable member of the British luxury car quadrumvirate (alongside Jaguar, Rolls-Royce and Aston Martin). Headquartered in Crewe, England, the automaker is infamous for its iconic grand tourers and sedans – respectively, the Continental and Mulsanne. Bentley has also recently entered the SUV playing-field with the introduction of its Bentayga, which has quickly become the brand’s best selling vehicle.

For the near future, Bentley has been aggressively preparing its entire roster towards a transition to plug-in hybrid drivetrains. On the more long term battlefront, we can expect fully electric models as well. It looks like Bentley is playing the long game here, as it looks to remain relevant in the years and decades to come.

The uber-luxury automaker did not add any new models to the lineup for 2021, and are in fact discontinuing one of their most iconic cars – the flagship Bentley Mulsanne. Not to worry though, as the Mulsanne is slated for a return in the near future, as part of Bentley’s hybridization initiative.

To pass the time, Mulsanne fans can look forward to a ‘send-off’ version of the car known as the “6.75 Edition” by Mulliner. Mind you, this version is limited to just 30 examples which are more than likely all spoken for by now. Bentley have also added new options and revised some features across the current range, to keep things fresh and enticing.

Here are the best brand new Bentley cars you can purchase today.

Bentley Continental GT V8

Bentley Continental GT V8

Base MSRP: $206,600 USD (coupe), $227,200 USD (convertible)

With a lively V8 engine delivering irresistibly dynamic performance, accompanied by the sound of its uniquely emotive burble, the new Bentley Continental GT V8 offers a truly engaging driving experience – a grand tourer that makes every journey breathtaking. The Continental GT V8 is exceptionally responsive, delivering powerful yet smooth acceleration, accompanied by the irresistible sound of a Bentley V8 engine. The Bentley Continental GT V8 Convertible offers all of the above, with an exhilarating open-air grand-touring experience also at your beckoning.

I love that Bentley is now offering a “base” Continental GT with a V8 engine. It makes sense and it looks to be really good business on their part. For starters, this variant offers a more engaging and spirited driving experience for those owners who prefer to be the ones driving themselves around; not their chauffeurs. On the business side of things, offering the V8 variant lowers the price of entry just a tad, too. More Continentals for all!

Bentley Bentayga Speed W12

2021 Bentley Bentayga Speed

Base MSRP: $245,000 USD

It’s not often that we are picking SUVs as our favorite cars, or lavishing much praise on them. Yet here we are in 2021, with the Bentayga deserving all the plaudits, dare I say. After all, Bentley claims its top-dog Bentayga Speed is the fastest SUV in the world, able to sprint from 0-60 mph in just 3.8 seconds, on its way to a mind-boggling top speed of 190 mph. This is in large part thanks to its manufacturer-special W12 engine – a 6.0L twin-turbocharged unit which produces 626 hp and 664 lb-ft of torque. Believe it or not, it isn’t just about straight line speed either, because this SUV handles better than you would ever expect from a vehicle with its dimensions and weight.

Like so many other premium and exotic automakers, Bentley has brought their A-game to the SUV segment, looking to establish its dominance in this competitive and highly lucrative market. The Bentayga is a midsize crossover SUV which has become the marque’s best seller since it was made available in the 2016 model year. There are two petrol-engine options available in the range; a more-than-capable 4.0L twin-turbocharged V8 and the 6.0L twin-turbocharged W12. Diesel and Hybrid engines are also available, making for a diverse Bentayga roster equipped to suit just about any palette.

Bentley releases the Bentayga S

We already had the impressive Bentley Bentayga Speed from Crewe, a 625 hp W12 beast that tries to compete with the 650 hp Lamborghini Urus Super SUV, but on a more luxury playing field, where the Lamborghini is the more ‘sportscar’ version of an SUV, but now Bentley introduces another version in their fleet of Bentayga models.

Next to the Hybrid, the V8, and the Speed, Bentley now also offers the ‘S’, based around the 4.0-Liter V8 twin-turbo engine, the Bentayga S intends to move Bentley’s SUV onto the sportscar playing ground, a direct competitor for the likes of a Lamborghini Urus, an Audi RSQ8, or the Porsche Cayenne Turbo … but the Bentley Bentayga S only has the same power as the Cayenne Turbo, at 542 hp, the Audi RQS8 adds 49 hp on top of that, while the Urus crushes them all with 650 hp … if you want to get near the Urus power you’ll still have to go for the considerably more expensive Bentayga Speed with her 626 hp.

But unlike the Bentayga Speed, this new Bentayga S comes without chrome, Bentley calls it ‘Black brightware’, but that’s just saying the window trim, the headlight trim, mirror housing, and other parts that are usually a ‘bright’ chrome on a Bentley Bentayga are now finished in gloss black, for that ‘sports’ touch, they even go as far as using tinted glass on the lights …

For this Bentayga Sport, the engineers in Crewe came up with an enhanced Sport chassis mode, and the Dynamic Ride active anti-roll system is standard on the S, they even improved the sound from that big V8 at the front thanks to a more open exhaust system … a free-flowing sports exhaust on a luxury SUV from Bentley, imagine that.

As already mentioned, the Bentayga S comes with the Blackline Specifications as standard, but you can also recognize the Sport version from the bespoke 22-inch wheels and S badging found on the lower edge of the front doors, but also a large rear spoiler is fitted in Crewe while the sports exhaust comes with a pair of black oval tailpipes at either end.

To add that sports feel to the interior, Bentley opted to use leather and Alcantara split between the seats and parts of the interior, the Sport also comes with new seats and a unique stitching pattern, Special color accents on the instrument panel, center console, door pads, and seat bolsters further distinguish this model from the ‘regular’ V8 version, while S badges are fitted on the panel in front of the passenger,  new graphics in the driver’s instrument panel and illuminated treadplates.

The One-off Bentayga Hybrid

The options list on a Bentley Bentayga might be impressive for most people, but still, they offer the ultimate personal touch for your luxury SUV through the Mulliner Guide, where the sky is the limit when it comes to personalization options for their more demanding customers that have the bank account to cater to their every need.

At the Shanghai Motor Show Bentley will be showcasing their latest example of Mulliner’s handcraftsmanship, this Viridian painted Bentayga Hybrid isn’t just a show car, it has been customer ordered by a Chinese client through the Bentley Mulliner Personal Commissioning Guide to create a true one-off, bespoke SUV.

The dark emerald hue from the Mulliner Extended paint range for the body is complemented with 22-inch machined, Mulliner driving specification wheels with Viridian color-coded spokes, Viridian is a stunning, dark emerald green, created specifically for the EXP 10 Speed 6 concept, it contains metal flakes of amber and gold to embody a sense of luxury.

While the stunning interior is finished in Cumbrian green leather with a piano-finished veneer in the same shade, an amazing-looking white cross-stitch pattern is hand-stitched on the green seats, door panels, and even in the piano Cumbrian Green veneer via a unique overlay.

Bentley Mulliner added a handcrafted design to the passenger fascia using a silver metal overlay to create a beautiful geometric diamond design of the EXP 100 GT concept car. Note that the hand-stitched pattern found inside this bespoke Bentley Bentayga took a total of 44 hours to complete.

For such a large and a rather heavy car as the Bentley Bentayga, the performance figures from the combination of an electric motor and a 3.0-liter V6 engine are impressive, acceleration from 0 to 60 mph takes 5.2 seconds thanks to the 443 bhp, with a top speed of 158 mph.

Enjoy some more images of this stunning one-off Bentley Bentayga Hybrid in our image gallery below:

200,000 Bentley cars built

It took Bentley just over 101 years to build their 200,000th car, founded in 1919 in Crewe, these hand-built cars have been known for their luxury and performance … the 200,000th car to be completed was a Bentley Bentayga Hybrid.

To celebrate this milestone, Bentley posed the light blue metallic SUV next to its oldest sibling, an EXP 2, it’s also interesting to note that over 150,000 Bentley cars were built during the last 18 years, in fact, today Bentley builds 85 cars each day, back in 2000 they made that same number over an entire month.

To make this figure even more impressive, between 1919 and 2002 they built a mere 44,418 cars, 38,933 in Crewe … these include masterpieces like the Bentley Blower, the R-Type Continental, and as a testament to just how good a Bentley is, 84% of Bentley cars sold in the UK are still driving around today.

In 2003 a major boost in production came around with the introduction of the Bentley Continental GT, back in January of 2021, the 80,000th unit of these amazing Grand Tourer was built.

While the Bentley Bentayga was only introduced in 2015, it has already received its first facelift redesign, and as mentioned is now available as a hybrid model, to date a total of 25,000 units of this luxurious SUV have left the factory doors, while 40,000 units of the Flying Spur luxury sports saloon have been built too.

The next step in their evolution is to move to electric vehicles, they intend to be fully PHEV or BEV only by 2026 and achieve an entire model range of battery-powered cars only by 2030.

Bespoke Bentaygas

In the past you could buy a chassis from one of the bigger names in the automotive world, and have a coachbuilder put a chassis on it, this service was available for the ultra-high-net-worth individuals back in the early 1900s when cars like Rolls Royce would come with one-off bodies for Royalty and rulers.

In those days you had names like Hooper, Park Ward, Vanden Plas, James Young, and Mulliner … which now makes sure you can order a bespoke Bentley Bentayga that suits your needs perfectly. H.J. Mulliner and Co. was a family business founded in 1897, they designed coachwork for C. S. Rolls’ personal two-seater Silver Ghost roadster, for instance, then after WWII Mulliner was one of only a handful of coachbuilders to return to traditional, bespoke coachwork, mostly using Rolls-Royce and Bentley chassis as their starting point.

From the 50s on Mulliner started using more modern materials like steel and ‘stressed-skin’ instead of the earlier wood-frame constructions, it was in fact Rolls Royce that took over Mulliner in 1959, merging it with Park Ward that was bought by RR in 1939 already … in 1961 Mulliner-Park Ward was created, in 2021 Mulliner no longer works with Rolls Royce, but it has become the ‘Personal Commissioning’ department that creates truly bespoke models on the entire Bentley range, but not in terms of custom bodywork, but more in terms of special interiors for the more discerning customer.

Just recently the Mulliner Personal Commissioning Guide added the Bentley Bentayga to their list of models, which now spans the entire Bentley model range, you can select from 27 different shades of leather or Alcantara, over 100 painted veneer options, an extended Mulliner paint palette for the body and custom wheel options to create your ultimate personalized luxury SUV.

The Personal Commissioning Guide offers a unique mix of traditional and contemporary options that will appeal to Bentley’s diverse and extraordinary clients. Depending on the customer’s personal preference, each car can take on a new aesthetic while ensuring style and performance are never compromised.

Just take a look at our previous article on ‘The Bentley Mulliner visualiser‘ for more details on how they can create a one-off Bentley just for you, by using color-matched paint taken from a sample the customer brings with him, and that’s not only for the exterior, that same paint can be applied on the veneer on the interior so it complements one of the 27 different hides and stitching options Mulliner offers.

A combination of up to three different shades can be selected for the interior, and if you really want to go wild, go for a tweed insert on the doors or ask for a bespoke color hide and stitching for the ultimate expression of personality, add to that any color for the piping, carpet binding or cross-stitching … just keep in mind this won’t come cheap, it takes one of Bentley’s craftsmen up to 44 hours to hand-stitch that impressive cross pattern.

Not a fan of smooth leather? No problem at all, as Mulliner offers the same level of craftsmanship when combining Alcantara on the seats, headrest, and door panels with smooth leather, you can even opt to have the steering wheel and gear lever finished in Alcantara, it takes the Bentley Bentayga from a luxury SUV into the more sporty SUV class.

Furthermore, those ‘puddle lights’ we find everywhere these days, when you open the door there is a light to illuminate the floor next to your car, mostly a logo or a design … Mulliner will create one just for you, showing your name, or a crest for your brand on the floor when you enter or exit your Bentayga. Still not good enough? No problem, even the doorsills can show your name or logo … or whatever you prefer, all in good taste naturally.

With Bentley’s revered craftsmanship, the new Bentayga makes a clear statement and reintroduces Cross Banding Inlays as an option for the fascia and waistrail inserts. The Cross Banding uses an Australian straight grain veneer with a boxwood inlay available on a number of veneer options, enhanced with a Bentley Mulliner overlay in either a silver or gold color.

With innovative and state-of-the-art technologies, Bentley Mulliner has utilized stone formed over 200 million years ago to create lightweight veneers just 0.1mm in thickness. Stone veneers feature a visible natural ‘open pore’ texture, a customer can select one of four different colors for their stone inlay: Autumn White, Copper, Galaxy, or Terra Red.

Why Exotic Super SUV’s Are The Way Of The Future

Less than a decade ago, the distinction between SUV’s and other vehicle types was clear. The introduction of SUV cross-overs brought about a new breed of SUV. An off-shoot of these cross-over SUVs came to being once sports car manufacturers entered the SUV market, creating the “Super SUV.”

The idea was to provide everything in one vehicle – a powerful engine, elegant design, luxury interior, and unparalleled performance with a 4×4 option. Lamborghini came up with the term Super SUV in 2017, when they released the concept of the Lamborghini Urus.

Following in their footsteps, other major sports car manufacturers also joined in.

The S-SUV Future

Range Rover Super SUV
[Image via Autocar]

Sports cars have traditionally featured two-seats, with some exceptions offering four passenger options as well. However, that’s not enough for some people. Super SUV’s are 5-7 seater vehicles, boasting powerful engines that make light work of the added weight.

Super SUVs deliver a faster, more comfortable off-road experience. Imagine sitting in the luxury of a Bentley while crossing the Himalayan plains, or cruising through the desert with a Ferrari roaring under you. As these super crossovers make their way into the mainstream, maintaining these vehicles also doesn’t demand much effort.

For instance, in Arizona, you can explore the Apache Trail in your S-SUV, or cruise the historic Route 66.

There’s no worry if you damage your windshield because SunTec’s Scottsdale windshield replacement crew will have you sorted in no time! SunTec Auto Glass specializes in repairing and replacing windshields and auto glass on exotics, supercars, and of course Super-SUV’s.

The future is all about convenience and this is precisely why Super SUVs are set to take over the automobile industry. An all-in-one option is an automotive enthusiast’s dream come true — spacious cabins, higher seats, and more driving options.

Eventually, it is estimated that future S-SUV’s will be more affordable, providing a luxurious and powerful alternative to sports cars and SUV’s alike.

The Lamborghini Urus

Lamborghini Urus Super SUV
[Image via Lamborghini]

Lamborghini’s first attempt at an SUV caused ripples across the automobile industry. A combination of Lamborghini’s classic style coupled with outstanding performance, the Urus starts out at $200,000.

Its twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 delivers a whopping 641 horsepower on an all-wheel configuration alongside an eight-speed automatic transmission. This powerful engine boasts a 0-60mph time of 3.2 seconds!

The interior has a classic Lamborghini jetfighter-style design that has all the hallmarks of a luxury SUV and sports car. From leather seats to adjustable gauges, go from luxury to raw power in seconds, literally.

The Bentley Bentayga

Bentley Bentayga Super SUV
[Image via Bentley]

Bentley was looking to rock the SUV world and their introduction of the Bentley Bentayga blew everyone away with a top speed of 187 mph! With a price tag of $197,725, the Bentayga is a supercar in an SUV’s body – the very definition of a Super SUV.

A twin-turbo 6.0-liter W12 engine under the hood delivers a robust 600 horsepower. Along with the eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive, the Bentayga goes 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds.

The entirely leather interior comfortably seats 5 people. The full-option Bentayga also offers 22-inch alloy rims as well as an absolutely ridiculous 1,950-watt, 20 speaker audio system and back-seat entertainment tablets.

The Maserati Levante

Maserati Levante Super SUV
[Image via Motor Trend]

Following the trend of Super SUV’s, Maserati came up with the relatively cheaper Levante starting at $77,475. Positioned as the reinvention of Italian luxury, the Levante is available in four varieties with individual engine capacities and features.

The base version has a twin-turbocharged V-6 capable of 345 horsepower. Maserati’s Trofeo version put out an unimaginable 550 horsepower but also costs an eye-watering $171,475. The all-wheel base version goes 0-60 mph in 5.1 seconds, rivaling mid-tier sports cars.

With a specific focus on the leather-intensive interior, Maserati has also splashed out on a fully automatic, state-of-the-art, all-inclusive infotainment system. While the Levante cuts corners on trunk space, it offers a world-class luxury experience.

Bentley Bentayga Speed Officially Revealed

Bentley have officially revealed the Bentley Bentayga Speed… and it’s faster than the Lamborghini Urus. 1 km/h to be exact! Oneupmanship aside, the fastest version of the Bentley Bentayga gets the usual Speed treatment. Performance, aerodynamic and cosmetic tweaks.

To start at the business end. The 6.0-litre W12 engine’s updates allow it to generate 635 hp and 900 Nm of torque. Bentley claim a top speed of 190 mph (306 km/h) and a 0–62 mph (0–100 km/h) time of just 3.9 seconds (an improvement of 0.2 seconds over the standard W12).

Cosmetic touches include a set of dark-tint headlights, body-coloured side skirts and a larger tailgate spoiler. Bentley have also added dark-tint radiator and bumper grilles, a unique 22-inch wheel design and Speed signature badging

The interior of the Bentayga Speed gets similar touches. A new ‘swoosh’ design incorporates the door and door grab, the edge of the seat cushions and backrest bolsters, and the lower console. Plenty of contrast stitching diamond quilting is included together with a Speed illuminated treadplate signature and, for the first time in the Bentayga, Alcantara is available.

The Bentley Bentayga Speed is equipped with an Electronic Differential Lock and up to eight Drive Dynamics modes. Sport mode gets a recalibration to suit the style of the Bentayga Speed. A new exhaust system provides a unique soundtrack during start up and on downshifts. A firmer suspension setup enhances the handling. The Bentayga Speed boasts the biggest ceramic brakes fitted to a Bentley, capable of generating torque of 6,000 Nm while saving 20 kg of weight.

Details on pricing and availability are yet to be announced. We will hopefully see the Bentley Bentayga at the Geneva Motor Show 2019.

Bentley CEO Adrian Hallmark explains carmaker’s situation and plan for recovery

In August, we posted on some of the issues plaguing Bentley at the moment, namely the large loss the carmaker’s posted this year. The same Autocar piece we referenced, carmaker CEO Adrian Hallmark said Bentley would not be making more sports cars. Bentley wrote to us to clarify that a single year’s loss isn’t a calamity, that “it is a mistake to suggest that sports cars are the same as GTs,” and that the brand “will continue to design, engineer, and craft” GT cars. We must note, though, that at the time, Hallmark himself said, “The sports car sector – like our own….” More recently, Hallmark expounded on some of the factors slowing the company down this year, from delayed launches to exchange rates.

Through the first nine months of the year, Bentley sold 6,654 units, an 11 percent decline from the 7,498 units sold through the first nine months of 2017. In addition to other matters like huge investments in new technologies, that helped the Crewe carmaker to a $44.7-million year-over-year drop in revenue, and a $156-million overall loss, compared to a $35 million profit over the same period last year.

On top of declining sales overall, the nine-month delay in launching the Continental GT, the brand’s second-best seller, was the first of two big issues causing red finances. Hallmark said the Continental GT “just wasn’t ready for launch. But we’d paid for it – we’d paid all the money out, but not got any money back in.”

Bentley dévoile la nouvelle Continental GTC

Having got that sorted, the second issue arose: WLTP certification. Unlike the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) before it, the Worldwide harmonized Light vehicles Test Procedure requires every model variant get tested for certification. Hallmark told Automotive News Europe, “We were not quick enough unfortunately to book capacity or prioritize our derivatives within some of the group processes to get them certified on time.” Bentley wasn’t alone in this; Volkswagen had only managed to get seven of its 14 models approved by September 1 when the WLTP rules took effect.

Bentley’s much smaller scale exacerbated the problem, turning the situation “close to catastrophic.” Hallmark said the snafu robbed the Bentayga of 300 to 400 sales – a gigantic number with respect to a $200,000 vehicle – and pushed the Bentayga plug-in hybrid launch back to March 2019 so Bentley could get volume models certified.

Furthermore, preparing for Brexit hasn’t been easy on any of the UK’s manufacturers. For Bentley, which sources many components from The Continent, uncertainty around a Brexit deal has weakened the pound sterling against the euro. That makes parts more expensive.

The carmaker’s already on the road back, led by the uncorked Bentayga V12, V8, and Continental GT, and just-revealed GTC. The CEO said Bentley be back in black in Q4 of this year, but 2019 is the real measure. “This year is a conversion year to a better business model,” he said, “and next year you will start to see significant growth and a return to normality in terms of profit.”

Bentley dévoile la nouvelle Continental GTC

The phrase “significant growth” doesn’t just apply to sales figures of the current lineup. Hallmark intends to grow the range, and Bentley’s interests beyond cars. Plug-in hybrid versions of current models will help build the bridge to a battery-electric offering by 2025. Engineers are aiming for substantial EV range in the hybrids, eventually around 60 to 70 miles. It seems Bentley turned down the chance to build its own car on Porsche’s Taycan platform, because a GT car isn’t a sports car, and it won’t be until the mid 2020s that “the [battery] technology will meet the needs of the bigger cars we need to build.”

The other bridge-builder will be a new nameplate “that will probably be… the transition between conventional products and battery electrical products.”

On the subject of conventional products, the Bentayga will evolve with a facelift and a coupe-ish sub-model, but Hallmark wouldn’t be drawn on that latter point. With an eye on launching something new every year, Mulliner will be drafted into creating more “limited or special editions, slightly different body styles or limited-run cars.” Next year being the centenary, we already know there’ll be something special for every current nameplate.

Once the traditional sheetmetal business is back on track, Hallmark wants more involvement in brick-and-mortar businesses. The firm designed 26 apartments in Miami’s Porsche Tower and will provide on-demand Bentleys for residents, there’s a Bentley furniture collection, a re-upped agreement with watchmaker Breitling, and plans for more jewelry. We’ll see how it turns out, but this could be the road map to that makes The Flying B soar.

Related Video:

New Bentley boss nixes any new sports cars in its money-losing lineup

Adrian Hallmark took over the helm at Bentley on February 1 this year. Volkswagen poached him from Jaguar, where he headed the brand’s global strategy. Or perhaps we should say re-poached him, since Hallmark served as Bentley’s board member in charge of sales and marketing from 1999 to 2005, and helped guide the original Continental GT to market. He’s now responsible getting Bentley in better shape financially and sales-wise, and positioning it for growth. Among the products necessary to do that, Hallmark recently told Autocar that flashy coupes won’t cut it. “I’ll tell you what we won’t be building,” he said, “and that’s sports cars.”

That means we can forget about the gorgeous EXP 10 Speed 6 coupe that had a rumored place in the lineup after a sub-Bentayga CUV, and the EXP 12 Speed 6e battery-electric convertible. Hallmark cited a few issues with the segment, the first being that the segment hasn’t yet recovered from the recession, and the buyer demographic that’s left goes up in age every year, clearly a losing game. The kinds of younger buyers who would buy Bentleys, athletes and entertainers, are deterred from the purchase by contractual limitations like injury clauses or aversion to paparazzi photos. As well, in China, wealthy buyers get SUVs or limousines, but Hallmark believes Bentley hasn’t adopted the the proper strategy there to take advantage.

This is far more than about sports cars for Bentley, though; a recent article in German newspaper Handelsblatt outlined a number of situations the carmaker needs to rectify, including the finding that Bentley’s “losing money hand over fist instead of racking up the hefty margins more typical of the class.” A German study claimed that whereas Ferrari makes around $80,000 on every car it sells, and Porsche makes a little more than $19,000 on each car (last year it was a little more than $17,000) Bentley loses a little more than $19,000 on each unit. The English manufacturer has posted an operating loss of roughly $92 million through the first six months of 2018, the latest figures in a decline that began in 2014. That financial timeline, however, coincides with Bentley’s $1.1B investment in new technologies, which the carmaker cites as the reason for profitability woes.

Beyond that, Handelsblatt claimed VW insiders said the recent Continental GT launch was the “worst production ramp-up of all time.” Bentayga sales are down a little in Europe, quite a bit in the U.S., and overall brand sales are down nearly ten percent globally this year. Bentley needs to invest its electrification plans — it wants electrified versions of all its models by 2025 — and that’s going to be expensive. The report said those insiders want Porsche to have a bigger hand in helping Bentley get on track and move forward.

That would tie in well with Hallmark’s experience, too, since he did a stint in charge of Porsche UK. He told Autocar that in addition to V8 models throughout the lineup, he’d like to crib from Porsche’s proficiency in creating special editions with more luxury or performance, and Stuttgart’s success in making its hybrid models the most desirable. Bentley wants to crack 15,000 to 20,000 units globally. The most it has achieved in the past five years is around 11,300.

Somehow, though, while tiny, independent Aston Martin gets stronger than its ever been with a growing lineup of incredible sports cars, Bentley has to walk away from the segment that made it what it is today.

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