Selling a 187mph SUV with a $160,000 tourbillon clock as an option was Bentley in 2015. Coming up with a 700 horsepower four-seater cabriolet was Bentley in 2016, and now, we can have an educated guess at what Bentley will be from now on, thanks to CEO Wolfgang Duerheimer's love letter to plug-in hybrids.
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that unlike many manufacturers who see plug-in hybrids as a temporary bridge until all-electric or fuel cell models are viable, Bentley is looking at them as a long term solution for their customers' needs. At the Detroit Auto Show, Duerheimer explained why all of Bentley's models should be available as hybrids in the coming years:
"PHEV sometimes is mentioned as a transitional technology—it will be out of our way pretty soon. From my point of view, plug-in hybrid technology provides the best of two worlds.
To cover long distances and to make it from one city to another—and you travel long distances in the U.S.—I think the combustion engine will follow us for a long time."
Hybrids will also allow Bentley drivers to use their cars in city centers where internal combustion engines may get banned eventually. Looking at the luxury market, Ferrari is also planning to go full hybrid in 2019 to pursue Marchionne's dream of selling 10,000 units per year. But Bentley's first hybrid is expected to be an SUV instead of a sports car, the 2018 Bentayga. Sound familiar? That's because Lamborghini is doing the same with the Urus, while Audi is busy cooking up its equally electrified Q8 e-tron.
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Duerheimer says the next hybrid will be the new Continental GT, which will use a V6 and an electric motor to offer the power output of the V8 car with the added benefits. Don't worry though. The W12 is not going anywhere just yet.