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Bentley To Offer Diesels, Replace Mulsanne V-8 With W-12

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2012 Bentley Mulsanne

2012 Bentley Mulsanne

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Former Bentley CEO Franz-Josef Paefgen was never a fan of diesel, and it appears Rolls-Royce isn’t either, however, Volkswagen Group dynamo Wolfgang Dürheimer, who was brought in back in 2010 to oversee Bentley’s expansion into the world of SUVs and advanced powertrains, does see a future for diesel in ultra-luxury vehicles. He’s hinted at the launch of a diesel Bentley on several occasions, as well as more advanced plug-in hybrid models, and in a recent interview has reaffirmed those intentions.

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.
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