Bentley is preparing to introduce a twin-turbo V8 that was developed in partnership with Audi. This would have been unthinkable several years ago when the only thing that made sense was for a Bentley to be equipped with a big V12 and certainly not with a diesel engine.
Late in 2010, it was reported that Bentley is scrapping the idea of producing a hyperluxury diesel version. But What Car? now reports that because of demand, Bentley will not only be offered with a diesel version but also with a hybrid one.
It’s likely that the change was the result of Wolfgang Durheimer replacing Frank-Josef Paefgen as chief. Durheimer believes that the next diesel engines are “good enough” for Bentley products. He said that Bentley should be the center of development of 12-cylinder engines for the VW Group.
Durheimer had come from Porsche, where he headed the development of the Cayenne as well as the presentation of diesels and hybrids. Some consumers might be uncomfortable with the idea of a big V12 diesel but it has actually already been offered on the Audi Q7 V12 TDI.
Durheimer admits that there’s some resistance to the changes but he asserts that he can manage it, saying that modern diesels are “almost at the same level of refinement” as their gasoline counterparts.