2012 Bentley MulsanneEnlarge Photo
With his plans set in place at Bentley, as well as Bugatti, which he was also in charge with for a brief period, Dürheimer is now heading things up at Audi’s research and development department, focusing particularly on the area of plug-in hybrid technology. However, during a recent interview with Car and Driver he spilled some of the beans on Bentley’s future plans.
Dürheimer has revealed that a diesel option will be offered on the upcoming Bentley SUV based on the EXP 9F concept vehicle, as well as on the next-generation versions of the Mulsanne and the Continental Flying Spur, the latter of which is already in testing. It turns out the addition of a diesel has helped sales for other luxury marques, such as Porsche, particularly in Europe.
Expect Bentley's first diesel to be a variation of one of Audi’s current V-8 turbodiesel units. The Volkswagen Group’s popular V-6 TDI is probably too plebeian for Bentley, while an existing V-12 TDI offered in the Audi Q7 overseas is set to be phased out due to low demand and stricter emission rules coming into play in the near future.
As for the legendary 6.75-liter gasoline V-8 found in the Mulsanne, Dürheimer said that it will be replaced by a 12-cylinder engine when the next-generation of the Mulsanne is launched. He explained that Bentley is now the center of competence for 12-cylinder engines in the Volkswagen Group and that the marque’s flagship model can’t have fewer cylinders than its entry-level offerings.