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Bentley diesel? Here's why not

2010-09-16 07:36

Bentley new Continental GT. It will debut a radical new 4l V8 engine when unveiled at the Paris motor show early in October. Bentley remains unmoved by the possible appeal of diesel though.

Most automakers with a limousine range in their product portfolio have at least one diesel or hybrid model to aggregate emissions.

Bentley does not though. Why? After all, the company, as part of the giant VW Group, benefits from the low emissions footprint of Polo diesels when all the numbers are tallied.

Bentley’s abhorrence of diesel technology has a lot to do with the change in demand at the premium end of the market. The factory in Crewe, England, sees China as the primary driver for its growth. Bentley's CEO Franz-Josef Paefgen's take on this is simple...

"The attitude of Chinese buyers is going to have a big effect on cars such as ours and they are none too keen (about diesels)."

Buyers in Bentley’s traditional markets (North America, Middle East, Japan) also abhor diesel limousines and diesel performance cars. This obviously mitigates against any compression-ignition initiative from the company’s product planning department.

Diesel development costs

Beyond marketing issues, Bentley also believes it has good technical reasons for steering clear of diesel. Brian Gush, Bentley’s head of powertrain development, foresees a substantial cost factor for automakers wishing to pursue sophisticated diesel-engine solutions for large vehicles. "The forthcoming Euro 6 clean-air regs are likely to pile some big costs on to diesels," he warned.

Discounting cost, traditional diesel characteristics (huge rotational force statistics and low fuel-consumption) are of little consequence to Bentley and its customers.

The Bentley nameplate’s engines already have some of the biggest rotational force numbers around and its customers are hardly concerned about their fuel bills.

In terms of environmental awareness, the company does offer biol-fuel capability on its most powerful W12 models and will market a four-litre V8 (its smallest in decades) when the new Continental GT goes on sale later in 2010.

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