Purists may scoff at the idea of a diesel powered Bentley but officials say the idea has merit. Bentley’s parent company Volkswagen, after all, has some of the most refined diesel powerplants on the planet, and it also has a number of high-performance oil-burners including V10 and V12 units. There’s no reason why diesel can’t be an option for future models, but Bentley says there’s still not enough demand to warrant engineering them for its cars.

Speaking with Auto Motor und Sport this week, Volkswagen Group boss, Martin Winterkorn, said: “With Bentley we will react to the changing market conditions. I could well imagine a six-cylinder twin-turbocharged diesel in a Bentley.” The engine Winterkorn was referring to is a newly developed 3.0L twin-turbocharged V6 unit with around 300hp (225kW) and 440lb-ft (595Nm) of torque. If given the green light, the new mill would likely appear in the next-generation Arnage saloon due in 2010.

Bentley marketing director Adrian Hallmark has previously commented that a diesel engine is perfectly suited to the marque as its customers enjoy the low rev and high torque nature of its vehicles, attributes diesels are ideal for.

However, both these comments are in stark contrast to a recent statement made by Bentley boss Franz-Josef Paefgen, who said that there were no plans for a diesel model.

Arch rival Rolls Royce was also rumored to be investigating the potential of a diesel model. Its parent, BMW, was developing a new twin-turbo V8 diesel, however CEO Norbert Reithofer later revealed that the carmaker was planning to end production of any future V8 diesels and focus on six-cylinder engines instead.