On Wednesday 22 June, our Group scored an IAM-wide ‘F1rst’ with a presentation by Bentley Motors of the marque’s history and the technology incorporated in modern luxury cars, together with an opportunity to view the Company’s new Bentayga SUV.
So far, fewer than 200 Bentaygas have been manufactured, including the development models. Instructors Steve Moore and Tim Oakes from Bentley Driver Training brought one along for us, and gave us a lively and skilful two-man coordinated talk.
The great English engineer W O Bentley founded his firm in 1919. His aim was to make ‘a fast car, a good car, the best in its class.’ He believed in racing, and Bentleys won at Le Mans in 1924, 1927, 1928, 1929 and 1930. Over the following decades, the Company had a very up-and-down history, but re-entered competition to win at Le Mans in 2003.
Bentley Motors is now owned by the Volkswagen Group, forming part of VW’s Sports and Luxury Brand Group, which includes Porsche and Bugatti. From producing around 1,500 cars a year when it was bought by VW, Bentley now has 4,000 employees worldwide, operates in 58 countries, and is producing around 14,000 cars a year.
The Bentayga has a six-litre twin-turbo W12 engine, built solely at Crewe. It produces around 530 bhp, yet in a steady motorway cruise, with one bank of six cylinders deactivated, can give up to 26 mpg. It is a practical vehicle: you can have it fitted with a towbar to take your luxury motor cruiser with you. Reversing with a trailer is no problem: the Trailer Assist facility uses a video screen and a knob on the dashboard to allow the driver to ‘point’ the trailer where he wants it to go, and the car will then steer itself accordingly.