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Bentley range to expand. Image by Bentley.

Bentley range to expand
All-new Bentley model to join expanding line-up.
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What's the news?

Bentley is looking at adding a fifth model to its product range according to company CEO Wolfgang Duerheimer. Following the launch of the company's first SUV in 2016 work will start on the next new vehicle.

"Our R&D department is at full steam right now with the SUV. We want to keep the momentum going and immediately run into the next model line," said Duerheimer; adding that a decision on the fifth vehicle will come once the SUV is on the road. A variety of possibilities are being considered including a two-seat sports car or a model to slot between the Continental and Mulsanne.

It is likely to share some architecture with other Volkswagen Group vehicles, such as the modular MSB platform. Duerheimer, formerly head of research and development at Porsche, commented: "We are working very closely with Porsche. The MSB is under Porsche's leadership and the new car could share some components. If we did do a two-seater it would be very quick".

Coupé and convertible versions of the Bentley Mulsanne have also been mooted; the company currently doesn't have anything to rival the Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupé and Drophead Coupé. "What I hear from our customers," Duerheimer noted, "is that a big convertible from Bentley would be very well received".

Volkswagen's goal for the British marque is to increase sales to 15,000 vehicles by 2018. Last year Bentley sales hit 10,120 cars, a record for the company. The SUV is expected to add at least 3,000 units to that total. Over €1 billion has been committed towards new model development and facilities at the Crewe factory, not including any budget for a fifth model.

Anything else?

At launch the big new SUV will get Bentley's W12 engine with a plug-in hybrid following in 2017. Duerheimer suggested that a diesel engine will be offered; probably using Audi's 4.2-litre V8 TDI unit. Over the next four years the brand intends to cut its fleet average emissions by 12 per cent with a mix of hybrid, diesel and - possibly - downsized petrol engines.

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