Bentley Hybrid Concept
The luxury car maker is planning to get the jump on its direct competitors by being the first to showcase its plans for using hybrid technology in order to make its vehicles greener without diluting their power or performance. Bentley has
already confirmed that its first production model to use plug-in hybrid technology will be its upcoming SUV.
However, that isn't scheduled to make an official appearance until 2017, so the company is using its stand at the Beijing Motor Show to display the Bentley Hybrid Concept.
Based on the company's flagship hand-built Mulsanne limousine, its petrol/electric drivetrain offers a 70 percent reduction in CO2 emissions, 50km of electric-only range yet up to 25 percent more power.
And of course, because this is a show car and one designed to promote every aspect of Bentley's brand, it has some suitably elegant external details such as the use of copper to highlight curves and slopes and fittings and as an accent in the cabin to offset the hand-matched wood veneered panels, and instrument panel.
Rolls-Royce has confirmed that it will have to embrace hybrid technology in the future if it is to continue using V12 engines to power its cars, as has Mercedes. But with the announcement of the hybrid concept, Bentley is clearly hoping that it is perceived as a leader by showing what it intends to do, rather than simply discussing it.
As Dr Wolfgang Schreiber, Chairman and Chief Executive of Bentley Motors, explained: "There is no doubt that plug-in hybrid technology is true to Bentley's values of outstanding luxury and effortless performance... By the end of the decade, at least 90% of our production will be available as a plug-in hybrid. We are proud to be pioneering these developments in the luxury sector."
As well as a glimpse of a greener future, visitors to the Beijing International Automotive Exhibition will also get their first glimpse of some of the latest cars in Bentley's current lineup, including the V8 Flying Spur and the enhanced Continental GT Speed coupé, the fastest road-going car the company has ever built. The show opens its doors to the public on April 20.