Bentley's next board member for personnel has spent the last four years helping to recruit and develop sales and marketing managers for all of Volkswagen Group's brands around the world. Ariane Reinhart, 42, joins Bentley from VW on Oct. 1. She replaces Christine Gaskell, who will retire after 17 years with the VW subsidiary.
Reinhart joined Volkswagen in October 1999 and has held a number of positions within human resources. The German national, who has a law degree from University of Hamburg, brings "a wealth of international experience in people development and change management processes to our company," Bentley CEO Wolfgang Duerheimer said in a statement.
Gaskell had been praised by the UK government for her work to encourage apprenticeships and vocational training. In recognition she was given the honorary title of Member in The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) earlier this year.
In 2008, Gaskell was named one of Automotive News Europe's 25 Leading Women in the European Auto Industry. Gaskell is the last member of the six-person board to be appointed before the British luxury marque was bought by VW in 1998. Following Gaskell's departure, the only member of board to have joined before 2011, the year Duerhemier was appointed, will be Jan Henrik-Lafrentz, who is responsible for finance.
Bentley revealed that both the GTC convertible and the GT coupé will be fitted with the twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 engine. With this engine, the models achieve power-to-emissions ratios that are unmatched in the high luxury sports car segment. In addition to having variable displacement, the new V8 engine comes with the advanced engine management system which allows for a smooth shift, when under light throttle load, to the V4 mode from the V8 mode.
It also comes with low friction bearings, high pressure direct injection, and thermal management. The engine also has a charging system to make energy recuperation possible with the addition of the high-tech turbo charger packaging that ensures for greater efficiency. Figures are, of course, important and the new V8 engine is capable of delivering up to 500 bph (373 kW/507 PS) available at 6,000 rpm.
Peak torque meanwhile is 487 lb.-ft. (660 Nm) and available on a wide range starting from 1,700 rpm and going all the way to 5,000 rpm. This results in a truly exciting performance while being able to deliver that power in an effortless manner, as expected from a Bentley. The engine is paired to the new automatic 8-speed close-ratio transmission. With this combination, the models can attain a maximum speed of 180 mph (290 km/h) with acceleration from 0 mph to 60 mph (0 to 100 km/h) possible in under 5 seconds.
The new engine though is not all about performance as it also displays excellent fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions, something rarely seen in the luxury car segment. In terms of fuel efficiency, it allows the Continental models to go at least 500 miles (800 km) on a full tank of fuel. Bentley disclosed though that the official and full figures will be announced sometime in the early part of 2012.
This engine though means that Bentley is able to achieve its promise of having a powertrain that is better in terms of fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions by 40%. That being said, it should be noted as well that the sound of the new V8 engine is unique enough to differentiate it from the other ones offered by the brand.