Key Innovations from Bentley
The UK certainly has no shortage of automotive brands, but when it comes to the quintessential British luxury car brand no other name fits the bill better than Bentley. Founded in 1919, Bentley specializes in high-end luxury vehicles, which have cutting-edge designs as well as comforts and functionality that are not found in other makes. This, along with a pedigree that stretches back nearly a hundred years, has made Bentley the preferred cars of the English monarchy – with the company furnishing state limousines for Queen Elizabeth II since 2002 – as well as British nobility.
Aside from producting luxurious vehicles, Bentley has also been an innovator, leading the British auto industry into significant advancements both in vehicular aesthetics and performance. So as any Bentley owner can attest, each Bentley vehicle is not only a high-end work of art, but also an exemplary engineering marvel that incorporates the latest technologies in the automotive industry.
Here are some innovations that Bentley has pioneered over the years:The Powerline
One feature that is common among all modern Bentley models is the “Powerline”, a design centered on a single sharp edge, rising from the front wheel arch and cutting a purposeful path down the sides of the car. This Powerline aesthetic is a key identifier for Bentley cars – so much so that Bentley’s designers draw the Powerline edge first when making a concept – as well as providing a contour that is both timeless and aerodynamic. In addition, this design is further accentuated by distinct curves, veneers, and chrome to make each specific Bentley model unique while still adhering to the Powerline design.Craftsmanship
Bentley vehicles are all manufactured in Crewe, a railway town northwest of England, where the company’s best artisans fit each car according to the company’s standards. Bentley claims that their cars are “created” and not merely assembled; the interior of each vehicle is trimmed with fine supple leather, hand-finished wood veneers, chrome, and deep-pile carpets by hand. The company also prides itself in its attention to detail. The wood veneers, in particular, can be traced from a single tree per car, and are coated with UV stabilizers to prevent bleaching.Engineering
While Bentley focuses more on the luxury and craftsmanship their cars provide, they are certainly not lacking in terms of performance. Modern Bentley models are fitted with either Volkswagen/BMW V8 or V12 powerplants, along with twin turbochargers in some models. The brand’s upcoming Continental GT Supersports model also features FlexFuel engine, which can consume both petrol and biofuel in the form of E85 ethanol.Environmental Awareness
Bentley has also taken up eco-friendly cars and manufacturing practices as its advocacy, centered on a five-year plan to reduce the environmental impact of its cars and production facilities by 25% by 2018 and cut energy use per car by 50% in the same year. To this end, the company has launched several eco-friendly initiatives, including installing over 20,000 panels on Bentley’s factory roof, complying with ISO environmental and energy management standards, and cutting waste per car by 85% from 2000 to 2013.
The Key Vehicles of Bentley Motors
Bentley is without a doubt one of the leading names in British luxury automobiles, and a lot of that success can be attributed to the quality of their cars. Bentley sedans or saloons are among the top players in their sector, widely lauded for their high levels of function, performance, and luxury.
Over the years, Bentley has produced a sizable number of vehicles under its nameplate. Currently, the following three are its leading models:
The Flying Spur
One of Bentley’s current flagship models, the Bentley Continental Flying Spur is a large grand tourer introduced in 2005. Designed to be a direct competitor to the Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost, the Flying Spur has a robust twin-turbocharged W12 engine capable of churning out 560 horsepower and a Torsen-based permanent four-wheel drive system with adaptive air suspension for superior handling and comfort on the road. For creature comforts, the Flying Spur also has furniture-quality service trays, vanity mirrors, and a remote-controlled entertainment system in the front headrests.
Most people know the Bentley Arnage more for its being one the key official state vehicles of Queen Elizabeth II, but the history and reputation of this nameplate goes beyond that. Developed in the late 90’s, the Arnage was conceptualized as a break from the classic 4-door saloon and sedan designs of Bentley and its parent company, Rolls-Royce. To this end, the Arnage was almost completely built in Bentley’s assembly in Crewe in northwest England; a complete break from tradition but with the benefit of having a more efficient production process. The Arnage was also split into “two labels”: the Arnage Red Label and the Green Label, with the latter ceasing production in 2000 while the Red Label replaced by the Arnage R in 2002.
Although already well-regarded in high society, the Arnage gained a huge publicity boost in 2002 when Bentley produced a modified limousine version of the car, the Bentley State Limousine, for Queen Elizabeth on the occasion of Her Majesty’s Golden Jubilee that year. The State Limousine was fitted with significant upgrades, including a tuned twin-turbocharged V8 engine capable of producing up to 402 metric horsepower, broad coach doors, bulletproof glass windows and body panels, a sealed interior cabin, Kevlar-reinforced tires, and custom lambswool cloth interiors. Only two of these Bentley Arnage versions where built, making it one of the rarest vehicles put into production.
The Bentley Mulsanne is currently the biggest luxury sedan in the automaker’s lineup, unseating the tried-and-tested Arnage platform in 2010. And the Mulsanne is really trying to surpass its classic Arnage sibling – it is larger, more powerful, and highly fuel efficient compared to its predecessor. And just like any other vehicle rolled out by Bentley, the Mulsanne has the signature sleek “Powerline” monocoque design and a roomy interior laced with designer leather and wood trim.
Performance is also one of the Mulsanne’s strengths, having a 6.75-liter twin-turbo V8 that can produce up to 505 horsepower and 752 feet of torque. It is also an eight-speed automatic with shift paddles that channels power straight to the rear wheels. Other features include 20-inch wheels, bi-xenon headlamps, LED daytime, running lights, a power trunk lid, air suspension, and optional chrome exterior accents, adaptive cruise control, and ventilated seats.