Crewe manufacturer mulls smaller car to sit below the Continental and form a fifth model line once the SUV has entered production
Mark Tisshaw
2 October 2014

An entry-level Bentley smaller than the Continental GT is being investigated as one of several options that could make production as a fifth model line for the firm after the upcoming SUV is launched in 2016.

Company chief Wolfgang Durheimer revealed at the Paris motor show that he has "a small group of core people investigating the next big idea. We have some quite nice arrows in our bag and are deciding which to shoot".

He said the firm was at full engineering capacity and did not want to distract Bentley staff from launching the SUV, hence the reason the project is in the background at the moment.

But Durheimer added that the firm will immediately turn its attention to the new model once the SUV is engineered: "I want to keep momentum when the engineering ramps down from the SUV.

"A smaller car is a very powerful idea in parallel to the Continental and is one of our areas of search. There is also room for derivatives of models we have; the Mulsanne could get brothers and sisters, the Continental also. I also look at competitors and see that an SUV opens up more ideas."

Sales and marketing chief Kevin Rose said a smaller Bentley wouldn't harm the brand's luxurious standing: "A bigger risk is the car not being a true Bentley regardless of size or price. The point is we want to keep going. We can't go back or stand still and that means more models. There are plenty of ideas."

Read more Paris motor show news

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:

2 October 2014
Sales and marketing chief Kevin Rose said: "A bigger risk is the car not being a true Bentley regardless of size or price." IMO, a "true Bentley" is NOT one that is based on a VW Phaeton platform and uses VW/Audi engines as per the Continental...

3 October 2014
Speedraser said

"Sales and marketing chief Kevin Rose said: "A bigger risk is the car not being a true Bentley regardless of size or price." IMO, a "true Bentley" is NOT one that is based on a VW Phaeton platform and uses VW/Audi engines as per the Continental..."

So, would that be the same Bentleys that were built on Rolls Royce platforms, using Rolls ROyce engines and other specification from a number of other brands during the majority of its lifetime.

3 October 2014
jonboy4969 wrote:

Speedraser said

"Sales and marketing chief Kevin Rose said: "A bigger risk is the car not being a true Bentley regardless of size or price." IMO, a "true Bentley" is NOT one that is based on a VW Phaeton platform and uses VW/Audi engines as per the Continental..."

So, would that be the same Bentleys that were built on Rolls Royce platforms, using Rolls ROyce engines and other specification from a number of other brands during the majority of its lifetime.

Fair question, and I'm surprised no one has asked me that before when I've made similar posts. For me, certainly the Bentleys that appeal most are the original, pre-RR, cars. I'd buy a RR Cloud or Shadow over a Bentley S or T Type. That said, and perhaps because for my entire life RR and Bentley were one company until the VW/BMW takeovers, a VW-based Bentley is less appealing to me than a RR-based Bentley. A new Mulsanne -- NOT based on a VW platform -- appeals far more than a Conti, and its 6 3/4L engine is as much Bentley's as it is RR's. The Conti uses a VW platform and VW/Audi engines -- to me, that is clearly not a "real" Bentley. About the potential plan for a sub-Conti Bentley, if they were to do it on a bespoke platform with bespoke engines it could be a wonderful thing. But they won't, so it won't be -- it'll be just another shared-platform VW-Audi-and-now-sadly-Porsche. It'll likely be beautifully done, but it would not be a real Bentley to me. As Bentleys become more and more prolific and built in ever greater numbers on other cars' platforms and drivelines, they become far less special and less desirable. Looks like that trend is likely to continue, and I think that's a real shame.

2 October 2014
A smaller Bentley wouldn't harm the brands luxurious standing. The Cygnet didn't harm Aston Martin's standing either, but I bet they wish the idea had stayed on the fag packet.

3 October 2014
I think this is a good idea. I think people are increasingly seeing that premium doesn't have to mean large. For me the 3 series / C class size is about right for the narrow roads and smallish car parking spaces of the real world. The soft touch plastics of the german car makers are still plastics. I wouldn't have them in my house as I prefer 'real materials' like wood or leather. I also will pay for craftsmanship.

I suppose the only option in the market at the moment is Alpina but in the end you know these additions will lose all value at delivery, hence depreciation is appalling. There is a real opportunity for someone to deliver craftsmanship in cars that are less than 5m long!

3 October 2014
Basically a rebodied Audi A6 then if they want to move to a class below the Continental family? It's the only executive class car currently in the VAG and I can't see Bentley going to the expense of creating an all-new platform for one solitary model. Fine as long as the car doesn't feel or look like an Audi. Unless Bentley are thinking A4 size?? As for the Mulsanne, I'm surprised a coupe version hasn't been spawned yet to replace the exquisite Brooklands and rival the equally exquisite RR Phantom coupe.

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Lexus LC500
    Car review
    20 October 2017
    Futuristic Lexus LC coupé mixes the latest technology with an old-school atmospheric V8
  • Maserati Levante S GranSport
    First Drive
    20 October 2017
    Get ready to trade in your diesels: Maserati’s luxury SUV finally gets the engine it’s always needed
  • Jaguar XF Sportbrake TDV6
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The handsome Jaguar XF Sportbrake exhibits all the hallmarks that makes the saloon great, and with the silky smooth diesel V6 makes it a compelling choice
  • Volkswagen T-Roc TDI
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    Volkswagen's new compact crossover has the looks, the engineering and the build quality to be a resounding success, but not with this diesel engine
  • BMW M550i
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The all-paw M550i is a fast, effortless mile-muncher, but there's a reason why it won't be sold in the UK