Bentley is "open" to adding plug-in hybrid technology, according to its engineering chief

Bentley is open to adding plug-in hybrid drivetrains to its future models, engineering chief Rolf Frech has confirmed to Autocar.

Frech said that Bentley was monitoring the development work going on within the Volkswagen Group on hybrid drivetrains, and it was the plug-in technology that was of most interest to Bentley.

“Hybrids are appealing because of the great torque they provide,” said Frech. “Bentley is famous for its huge low-end torque so a plug-in hybrid system would fit. Of course, hybrids provide great efficiency, too.”

Bentley is looking to experiment further with new model lines and technologies in the next few years under the guidance of ex-Porsche man Wolfgang Durhemier, who took over at Bentley last year.

“We have to experiment,” said Frech, another former Porsche employee. “We did it at Porsche and there’s a possibility to do it at Bentley as well. We’re now in the second phase of growth, into new sectors and niches. We are creative.”

Mark Tisshaw

Join the debate


17 January 2012

perhaps before Bentley goes chasing Hybrid power they should look at reducing the weight of their cars, i know its not easy to make a luxury car light with all the leather, wood, and luxury fittings they put in likes of the Mulsanne but maybe using light weight body panels will help first then go in search of Hybrid power trains?

The Mulsanne already weighs just short of 3 tonnes so imagine the weight gain with an electric motor and lithium battery packs! it would even weigh more than the centre of the earth!


17 January 2012

[quote K1NZ]The Mulsanne already weighs just short of 3 tonnes so imagine the weight gain with an electric motor and lithium battery packs[/quote] Although having a well defined market niche initially exposed Bentley in the economic crisis, it has the advantage that they know what their customers want possibly more than any other main brand. They are pleased to get more range and won't say no to more efficiency, but that's not a priority. They want a leather and wood lined bank vault with planet turning low range torque. Weight reductions have already been deemed 'unnecessary' - possibly even undesirable. The next gen Conti will use a platform which will probably be lighter, but this is of minor consequence to Bentley, who have just shown us with the V8 they can provide us the handling we want without weight reduction. Actually the near 3 tonnes of the Mulsanne make it an excellent candidate, as it will result in a modest percentage weight gain with a light hybrid, and provide the tickover torque they are looking for. CO2 reduction legislation might force a rethink, but not their customers.

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Mercedes C350e Sport
    First Drive
    28 September 2016
    Petrol-electric C-Class is a surprisingly well-priced alternative to a diesel but not the greatest example of the new ‘PHEV’ breed
  • Car review
    23 September 2016
    Aston kicks off its ‘second century plan’ with an all-new turbo V12 grand tourer
  • Ford Ka+ 1.2 Ti-VCT 85
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    A rounded, refined and well-sorted bargain supermini – once you’re used to the confusing role redefinition imposed on the once-cheeky Ka
  •  Maserati Ghibli Diesel
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    Maserati releases another range of updates for its range best seller, the Ghibli. We've driven the diesel version, but there's little improvement on before
  • Tipo Front
    First Drive
    21 September 2016
    New Fiat Tipo offers impressive space and practicality for a reasonable price. We try the 1.6 diesel on the demanding roads of North Wales