Bentley (and Bugatti) boss Wolfgang Dürheimer recently caught up with Autocar to tell us about the next model on the cards, and how the new Continental GT, due in 2018, will move the game on for the grand tourer.
Autocar: The next step for Bentley and its growth strategy centres around a fifth model. You’ve already indicated it will either be a sporting SUV in the mould of the Porsche Cayenne or a production version of the EXP 10 Speed 6 concept. Has a decision been made yet?
Wolfgang Dürheimer: “It is true, we have two options on the table. One is an SUV — more sporting than the Bentley Bentayga. The other is a car in the mould of the EXP 10 Speed 6, which we first showed at the Geneva motor show in 2015. The feedback on this car was so phenomenal that we now have the task of deciding what we will do first.
“You will know by the end of the year. We are working on both. If we had limitless money and manpower, I would do both at the same time. There will be a sequenced approach and you’ll soon see what we go for first.”
A: How much is Bentley investing in the development of new models?
WD: “The growth strategy of Bentley Motors is going to continue. I project 20,000 sales a year by 2025. Our investment programme in Crewe will also continue. We plan to invest £840 million in Bentley by the end of 2018 in infrastructure, processes and technical equipment. We’re currently building a new paint shop in Crewe that will be one of the finest in the world.”
WD: “The new model will create even more attention and frenetic applause than the first-generation model. The car will be simply stunning. The ride and chassis tune, as well as the connectivity and entertainment, will bring the Continental GT to a level that hasn’t been achieved so far.
“MSB is a perfect start for the Continental GT. It allows, on the design side, a new approach to the matrix and proportions. I’m in love with this car. We had a design presentation and even people that are not in our core team were speechless. I predict the highest-volume uptake for the Continental ever.
“It was a great strategic decision to use MSB. The degree of design freedom and advantage in proportions and positive outcome in weight is tremendous.”