Bentley Grand Convertible Concept: First Look

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Looks like: A Bentley Mulsanne nose on a Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe

Defining characteristics: Massive engine, sumptuous interior, burr walnut deck lid

Ridiculous features: None, this could be built as-is

Chance of being mass-produced: Count on it.

Los Angeles is a land of highly conspicuous wealth, a place where you're judged as much by the car you arrive in as your accomplishments in life. What better place to introduce one of the most luxurious new convertibles ever crafted? Bentley thought so, taking the wraps off of its new Grand Convertible concept at a private event ahead of the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show. The car is based on the flagship Mulsanne sedan, a behemoth luxury cruiser that is one of the last few handcrafted cars in the world. Bentley hopes to gauge potential customers' reactions as to whether it should create a few of these yachts for some very wealthy clients.

Related: More 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show Coverage

The look is certainly recognizable as a Bentley, with a nose borrowed straight from the Mulsanne. Two big headlights with captivating reflectors flank an enormous upright metal mesh grille. It's certainly bold and imposing, less of a sleek, racy design like the smaller Continental GTC. As it's based on the Mulsanne, the Grand Convertible is seriously long — something you don't notice until you walk around the side. What the Grand Convertible most resembles, however, is not a Bentley product. It's almost certainly aimed at rival Rolls-Royce's Phantom Drophead Coupe, a fantastically expensive and exclusive luxury convertible with an almost identical color scheme: metal hood and windshield surround over a painted lower body.

By Aaron Bragman | November 18, 2014 | Comments (1)

Bentley Unveils Teaser Image of Super-Luxury SUV

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After years of having to drop the tykes off at practice in a ho-hum Land Rover Range Rover, the long-neglected 1 percent soccer-mom demographic finally will have an SUV worthy of their socioeconomic status. Super-luxury English automaker Bentley has confirmed that its super-luxury ute will start dropping off child athletes in opulent fashion in 2016 and has released the first teaser image.

Bentley EXP 9 F Concept at the 2012 Geneva International Motor Show 

Bentley says SUV production will take place at its manufacturing plant in Crewe, United Kingdom, and is part of a $1.3 billion investment in new-model and facility development over the next three years. The company expects to sell about 3,000 SUVs a year.

By Matt Schmitz | March 25, 2014 | Comments (4)

2013 Bentley Mulsanne Cars.com Review

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If you're trying to keep up with the Joneses, and the Joneses just bought a Bentley Mulsanne, you might want to try keeping up with, say, the Friedmans or the Jenkinses instead. The 2013 Mulsanne sedan Cars.com reviewer Aaron D. Bragman tested costs about $364,000 — roughly seven times the median household income. The to-infinity-and-beyond luxuriousness of the interior, muscle-car-rivaling performance and limitless customization make the Mulsanne worth every last cent for the 1 percent. Read Bragman's review while calculating in your head how many Nissan Versas go into a Mulsanne.

2013 Bentley Mulsanne Review

By Matt Schmitz | January 22, 2014 | Comments (1)

Bentley Approves Plan to Build SUV in UK

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Remember the Bentley EXP 9 F concept (above) that debuted at the 2012 Geneva International Motor Show? It was a big, goofy-looking caricature of an SUV, bearing more than a passing resemblance to the Canyonero from "The Simpsons." Apparently enough people (oil sheiks and NBA wives, most likely) told Bentley that they wanted one, so the company has decided to green light production of the super-luxe family truckster at the company's manufacturing plant in Crewe, United Kingdom.

Bentley EXP 9 F Concept Photo Gallery

U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron was on hand with Volkswagen Chairman Martin Winterkorn (VW owns Bentley) to make the announcement, which is expected to bring 1,000 jobs to the region and result in an investment of nearly $1.2 billion at the plant. Sales of the as-yet-unnamed Bentley SUV are expected to start in 2016, according to the company.

No word on whether the new-production SUV will look like the concept, but rumors swirling around the concept's travels through the auto show circuit suggested Bentley will be toning down the cartoonish styling before it goes into production. Price likely will be similarly stratospheric, in keeping with Bentley's ultra-premium status and to maintain exclusivity.

Related:
Bentley EXP 9 F Concept at the 2012 Geneva International Motor Show
Bentley EXP 9 F Concept: Photo Gallery
More News for Bentley
By Aaron Bragman | July 23, 2013 | Comments (0)

2014 Bentley Flying Spur: First Look

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  • Competes with: Rolls Royce Ghost, Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG
  • Looks like: An updated "entry-level" Bentley, with cues from the Mulsanne
  • Drivetrain: 616-hp, twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter W-12, eight-speed automatic transmission, standard all-wheel drive
  • Hits dealerships: This spring

Bentley has updated the sedan version of its Continental coupe, dropping the Continental name and simply calling it the 2014 Flying Spur. The move makes the Flying Spur its own line that's separate from the Continental coupe, and it makes sense given the significant styling departures from the recently refreshed 2013 Continental. Power comes from a standard twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter W-12 engine now making a whopping 616 horsepower and 590 pounds-feet of torque. That's more powerful than the outgoing Flying Spur Speed model, and the automaker says it's the most powerful motor ever fitted to a Bentley sedan. That power is funneled through a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission with a 40/60 rear-biased torque split for the full-time all-wheel-drive system. It rockets the big sedan to 60 mph in just 4.3 seconds -- a 0.3 second improvement over the outgoing sedan -- and brings the Flying Spur to a top speed of 200 mph.

The sedan receives a significant refresh inside and out but still keeps traditional Bentley styling cues. The four-element headlamps and the double cockpit interior should look familiar; they join new features like the Bentley Flying B in the fender ornaments and oval-element taillamps that match the shape of the exhaust tips. The more formal profile and details such as larger outboard headlamps versus the coupe's larger inboard ones are meant to set the sedan apart from the coupe. A dizzying array of colors are available for both paint and trim, with 14 colors available for the leather interior alone and 17 exterior paint colors.

By Aaron Bragman | February 20, 2013 | Comments (1)

2013 Bentley Continental GT Speed Convertible: First Look

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  • Competes with: Rolls-Royce Ghost, Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG
  • Looks like: The "world's fastest coupe" has some convertible company
  • Drivetrain: 616-horsepower, twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter W-12 and eight-speed automatic
  • Hits dealerships: TBD

Bentley is claiming the title of "world’s fastest convertible" for the drop-top version of its Continental GT Speed; the convertible joins the lineup for 2013.

The British automaker is putting some impressive numbers behind its claim. Power comes from the coupe version's 616-horsepower, twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter W-12 paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The coupe model's new twin-turbo V-8 isn't available on the convertible.

Bentley claims a top speed of 202 mph and a zero to 60 mph time of 4.1 seconds. A Sport mode delivers sharper throttle response and alters shift points, according to the automaker. 

By Jennifer Geiger | January 2, 2013 | Comments (4)

Bentley EXP 9 F Concept: Photo Gallery

Bentley EXP 9 F Concept

While Bentley still intends to make an SUV, it won’t necessarily look like this one shown at the 2012 New York auto show.

More 2012 New York Auto Show Coverage

Apparently the automaker is already working on a redesign featuring more traditional styling cues, according to What Car?, a British automobile magazine. Check out the gallery below to see if you think it needs some cosmetic surgery. It definitely needs a new name.

By Colin Bird | April 6, 2012 | Comments (3)

Bentley EXP 9 F Concept at the 2012 Geneva International Motor Show

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  • Looks like: Bentley is upping its calorie count big time
  • Defining characteristics: It's Bentley's first SUV concept
  • Ridiculous features: Pop-up picnic area complete with awning, umbrella and, of course, a champagne bucket 
  • Chances of being mass-produced: Likely, though its name will change

We've heard rumors of a Bentley SUV for a while now, and it looks like the automaker is still testing the waters, this time with the EXP 9 F Concept. The SUV looks like a portlier version of the Continental, especially up front, where it wears Bentley’s large traditional matrix grille. The concept's design suggests the automaker was inspired by fighter jets, with large turbine-looking 23-inch wheels and taillights that resemble a jet engine.

By Jennifer Geiger | March 6, 2012 | Comments (6)

Cars.com News Briefs: Feb. 24, 2012

Volkswagen

Here's what we have our eye on today:

  • Auto loan interest rates are at their lowest in at least four years, according to Bloomberg Business Week. The average interest rate for a new-vehicle loan averaged 4.52% in the fourth quarter of 2011, says Experian Automotive. Furthermore, access to credit for people with bad credit ratings is also increasing, according to the Experian study. The total amount of new-vehicle loans to people with non-prime credit increased to 23% of the market, up from less than 20% a year ago, according to the study. Delinquency on existing loans has also continued to decrease.
  • Volkswagen set records with its revenue, profits and vehicle sales for 2011, according to the New York Times. The automaker sold 8.3 million vehicles last year, making it the second-largest automaker behind GM, which sold about 9 million cars, and ahead of Toyota, which sold 7.95 million. Volkswagen recorded a $15.1 billion profit before interest and taxes; the company's net profit was nearly three times more than GM's, says the New York Times. Volkswagen controls Audi, Skoda, Seat, Lamborghini and Bentley, and it is in the process of taking control of Porsche.
  • U.S. auto sales are expected to reach an annual rate of 14 million for February, according to J.D. Power and Associates and Automotive News. If the projected seasonally adjusted rate comes true, that would mean four consecutive months of relatively strong vehicle sales. The robust pace has prompted analysts to adjust their year-end sales projections for 2012. LMC Automotive, which partners with J.D. Power, has upped projections to 14 million, from 13.8 million. Total U.S. sales in 2011 came in at 12.8 million.
  • Steve Ratner, a former lead adviser in President Barack Obama's auto task force, lent his two cents about the resurging political controversy swirling around the auto bailouts from Republican presidential hopefuls. In an op-ed in the New York Times, Ratner says that while Mitt Romney's idea of an independent "managed bankruptcy" sounds good on paper, the reality is that his task force tried to get private financiers to back the bankruptcy, but none would touch the carmakers at the time. Ratner also rebukes charges that the bailouts were illegal, saying judges – all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Chrysler — certified their legality.
By Colin Bird | February 24, 2012 | Comments (0)

Sport-Themed Model, More Options Join Bentley Mulsanne Lineup

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Bentley plans on adding to the Mulsanne family with the new Mulsanne Mulliner Driving Specification. Set to debut in Geneva next month, the new version of Bentley's flagship sedan is being billed as a sportier Mulsanne.

The Mulliner Driving Specification uses the Mulsanne's 505-horsepower, twin-turbocharged 6.75-liter V-8 but adds specific 21-inch alloy wheels, Bentley Flying B design wing vents and a new Sport setting on the driver-selectable suspension system designed to enhance grip and steering accuracy.

By Jennifer Geiger | February 23, 2012 | Comments (0)

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