Profile: Bentley Motors
This summer, many of us may be washing our cars, folding down the roofs, filling the boot with delicious food and driving off into the beautiful countryside. What car could drive more handsomely along our roads than the inherently British Bentley?
The Bentley is the perfect example of how the car has become no longer just a tool to get from A to B, but a statement, a home from home, an adventure in luxury.
The Bentley Legacy
The first Bentley was crafted in the heart of New Street Mews, London, in 1919. Engineered by W.O. Bentley, that first car was the birth of a legacy that still stuns the public a century later, as their endless pursuit of both luxury and performance continues.
Since its inception, Bentley Motors has become undoubtedly the definitive British luxury car company, crafting the most popular grand tourers in the entire world. As a company which uses only the finest materials, employs expertly trained engineers, and provides a wide range of personalisation options to create bespoke models, you can see why.
Bentley Motors gained renown when Duff and Clement recorded their 1924 win at Le Mans in the 3 Litre Autocar. From 1927 to 1930, Bentley won at Le Mans each year. The car was practical as well as fast, and was advertised as combining ‘docility in traffic with exceptional speed potentiality on the open road’, qualities which Bentley still strive for today. W.O. Bentley became hooked on racing success, and revelled in establishing the Bentley marque. He stated:
“I would have been perfectly content to see our cars circulating round Le Mans in inglorious solo solitude as long as the Daily Mail gave us their front page on a Monday morning!”
73 years after Bentley’s last win at Le Mans, two Bentleys entered the 2003 24-hour endurance race, much to the motoring world’s delight. The race was a motor racing revival for Bentley, with the number 7 car put in consistent laps, while the number 8 car set the fastest lap of the race.
Bentley at its Best
In the early noughties the luxurious Bentley Continental GT grand tourer was revealed as a reinvention of the Bentley for the 21st Century. The breath-taking 12-cylinder, 6-Litre twin turbo-charged engine combined unimaginable power with refined performance and advanced technology to create an unforgettable ride. Even in the design stages, it was emphasised that supercar performance was to be at its core, and was installed with six-speed transmission and all-wheel drive to ensure smooth and controlled handling. But of course, a Bentley must be as pleasing on the outside as it is on the inside. The Bentley Continental GT was made a modern object of desire with a spacious interior, the finest wood veneers and true hides individuality tailored by Crewe craftsmen.
Bentley Motors Today
Today Bentley is still making waves in the automotive world, with the Bentley’s Flying Spur car been named Best Luxury Car in the 2015 Telegraph Car Awards. Sprinting from 0-60 mph in just 4.3 seconds, The Flying Spur W12 is the fastest road-going sedan in the world, and also benefits from a variable displacement system which reduces emissions and fuel consumption. Cars Editor at the Telegraph, Steve Huntingford, commented that
“The latest Flying Spur manages to feel both traditional and modern, plus it’s as enjoyable to drive as it is to be chauffeured in. It’s easy to see why Telegraph readers and our panel of judges rate it so highly.”
Bentley models both new and old are hitting today’s headlines. This year the prestigious Cholmondeley Pageant of Power in Cheshire will be paginating a range of historical Bentleys as well as a pair of Continental GTs, which can be seen in action on the famous track. Richard Charlesworth, Director of Royal Relations & Heritage, noted
“It’s a fantastic opportunity to showcase the craftsmanship and skills of our 3,800-strong workforce, and the great heritage of our famous brand.”
The display will be celebrating the history of Bentley engineering, and will feature the must-see Bentley Blower, as well as the 1920 EXP2 which claimed a racing victory for Bentley.
The Future of Bentley Motors
Bentley’s chairman Wolfgang Dürheimer has confirmed that Bentley will produce a version of the EXP10 Speed 6 concept which debuted at the year’s Geneva motor show. The model has set designers and drivers alike atwitter after the announcement at the prestigious Goodwood Festival of Speed.
The world of luxury automobiles has been shaken up after this announcement, as Bentley plans to release not just the EXP10 Speed 6 but a tsunami of high-tech Bentley luxury to flood the market. The range will include two-seater EXP10 sports car and a second SUV. Durheimer’s plans for the development of Bentley are clear, as he states
“It is not a question of which one we do, but which one we do first.”
As spectators, observers and absorbed onlookers we can only imagine the evolution of Bentley across the 21st century, and into the unthinkable future. All that is certain when the next Bentley arrives, is that it cannot fail to dazzle, to put on a show, which echoes of its ancestors who overwhelmed us in the first place, with its signature of power and beauty.
Discover more: www.bentleymotors.com