Top speed will be less of a defining attribute for Bentley in the future, according to CEO Wolfgang Dürheimer.
Although the brand has traditionally sought to extract high maximum speeds from all of its cars, Dürheimer believes that the requirements of customers, and changing technology, will alter priorities.
He said: “It used to be that saying a car could do 200mph was a critical part of the sales requirement. But in the future, I can see a time when only a couple of our vehicles can achieve this incredible speed, and we trade that off for other facets, such as even better suspension quality, or even perhaps the promise of zero emissions and clean air.
“Imagine the promise of travelling through a busy, congested city breathing air that has been filtered and purified — while running on electric power so you are not adding problems to the exterior environment, either in emissions or noise pollution. The definition of performance could be very different to how we view it today.”
Dürheimer didn’t put a timescale on the switch of focus but said Bentley itself will take the lead. He said: “Customers can rarely predict what they want. Usually, you have to show them. In China, for instance, already air quality is probably of more interest than top speed.”