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    / #1928-Bentley-4½-litre-Blower / #1928 / #Bentley-4½-litre-Blower / #Bentley / #Blower

    BENTLEY AT 100 / DRIVING THE FIRST ‘BLOWER’ Exclusive blast on California roads in the magnificent, pioneering YU 3250

    Celebrating a century of success, from ‘Blower’ to bargains, luxury to #LeMans

    ‘The car today is much as it was when it went to #Le-Mans in 1930, the great protruding supercharger reminding everyone that this is no ordinary vintage Bentley’
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    Track beckons for new Continental GT / #2018 / #Bentley-Continental-GT / #2018-Bentley-Continental-GT / #Bentley / #Bentley-Continental-GT3

    Sub-1300kg, 550bhp, #V8-powered racer revealed hot on the heels of new Bentley road car
    Bentley is taking the Continental GT to the track in #2018

    It took Bentley a decade to get its original Continental GT out of the paddock and onto the track, but a GT3 racing version of the new Conti GT will line up on the grid at Monza in 2018 within a couple of months of the first road cars being delivered. And it has a lot to live up to. The original Continental GT3 race car racked up 528 races, 120 podiums and 45 wins during its short, four-year life. And with GT3 racing becoming evermore competitive, the new Bentley contender can’t afford the smallest confidence lift on its way into the first corner.

    To create their second-generation GT3 racer, Bentley’s motorsport engineers and Malcolm Wilson’s M-Sport – the race team charged with running the cars – started out with the new Conti GT road car. Job one was to shed over 850kg to give a sub-1300kg race-ready weight.

    Ditching the hand-finished interior accounted for most of that mass, but the use of carbonfibre for the non-structural body panels and other body parts (front splitter, rear wing, arch extensions) also contributed to shedding the pounds, as did the loss of the front driveshafts – the racer is rear-wheel drive. Hours in the wind tunnel have dictated its aggressive aero package, which hangs from the road car’s new Porsche Panamera-derived aluminium structure.

    Rather than the road car’s W12 , the racer will feature a development of the 4-litre twin-turbo V8 that served the team so well over the last four seasons. Updates for 2018 include a redesigned dry sump and new inlet and exhaust systems. Bentley claims its unrestricted output is ‘in excess of 550bhp’.

    Drive is delivered via a six-speed sequential gearbox, a carbon propshaft and a limited-slip differential. The suspension is all-new and so, too, are the six- and four-piston (front/rear) #Alcon brake calipers and iron discs.

    For 2018 a pair of Continental GT3s will race in the #Blancpain-GT-Series-Endurance-Cup as well as the four-round Intercontinental GT Challenge. With the driver line-up yet to be confirmed, evo is prepared to throw its Arai into the mix. It’s the least we can do while we wait for the GT3-inspired Continental Supersports road car to arrive.
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    John Simister
    WHY WE LOVE… / #Bentley-Camshaft-Drive / #Bentley-Camshaft / #Bentley / #Camshaft / #Tech

    Bentley camshaft drive…

    You’re in the #1920 s before almost-silent #cambelts were invented, a sequence of bevel gears is too noisy and you don’t trust a chain to drive the overhead camshaft of your new, hefty, ultra-refined #six-cylinder motor. What do you do?

    If you’re #WO-Bentley and your new Speed Six has plenty of underbonnet length, you think steam locomotive wheel-driving system and your engine ends up with not one but three crankshafts. Your near-silent system uses three slender connecting rods to join cranks, spaced 120º apart, on the end of the camshaft to those attached to a helical-tooth gearwheel driven at half crankshaft speed by another on the crankshaft’s rear end. Using three rods rather than one keeps rotation smooth and stress-free.

    It’s a bulky and slightly mad idea, the sort that arrives in a dream or in the bath. It appeared on the 8 Litre, too, then Rolls-Royce took over and it was Not Invented Here. Shame.
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    Bang, not a whimper / #2017 / #Bentley-Continental-GT / #Bentley-Continental / #Bentley / IGNITION / New Cars / #2017-Bentley-Continental-GT / #Bentley-Continental-Supersports / #Bentley-Continental-GT-Supersports /
    The new Continental GT looms. So Bentley has powered-up the old one… Words Dan Prosser

    Having been launched way back in 2003, the Bentley Continental GT is due for replacement next year. With close to 60,000 cars sold during those 14 years the heavyweight coupé has been a huge success for Bentley so, rather than let the model fade away with a whimper, Crewe has instead produced the fastest and most powerful version yet. In fact, the new Continental Supersports is the most potent roadgoing Bentley full stop, its twin-turbocharged #W12 engine having been wound up to a titanic 700bhp. The Supersports badge was revived in 2009 for a run of 1800 special edition models, but this latest version will be more exclusive still, with only 710 set to be built across coupé and convertible body styles. With a list price of £212,500 the Supersports coupé, tested here, costs £43,600 more than the erstwhile range-topping model, the W12 Speed.

    In keeping with its king-of-the-swingers status the Supersports is the most aggressivelooking Continental GT yet, its new front splitter and rear diffuser, both in carbonfibre, lending a more menacing look. The ungainly rear spoiler can, thankfully, be deleted.

    The 6.0-litre W12 has been reworked for the Supersports with new intake and exhaust systems, bigger turbochargers and strengthened main and conrod bearings. The 750lb ft torque figure is available from 2000rpm, giving a vast, tabletop torque curve and enormous straightline performance: Bentley quotes 0-60mph in 3.4 seconds and a 209mph top speed. There’s so much power and torque at your disposal that the force of acceleration seems to be entirely unrelated to engine or road speed, gear, incline, load or any other of the variables that normally impede a car’s performance. The Supersports just fires itself at the horizon regardless.

    As amusing as that trick might be, it isn’t what makes this the best #12-cylinder Continental GT yet. Instead, it’s the combination of gargantuan performance, longdistance refinement and the surprisingly fleetfooted agility that make it such an outstanding Bentley. The four-wheel drive system and chassis settings are carried over from the Speed and, despite its 2280kg kerbweight, the Supersports is very good to drive on a twisting road, with its light, direct steering, very taut body control and a neutral chassis balance.

    Some of that weight-defying agility can be attributed to the car’s torque-vectoring-by-braking system, borrowed from the 2014 GT3-R special edition, which shuffles torque between the four wheels to where it can be used most effectively. Without it, the Supersports would feel heavier and flat-footed.

    What’s harder to reconcile with the winged ‘B’ on its nose is the Supersport’s raucous titanium exhaust system, which emits such violent pops and cracks on downshifts that you wonder if the entire thing isn’t being dragged along the road behind you.

    There isn’t anything subtle about the Continental Supersports and some will doubtless find its styling and soundtrack crass, but, thanks to its vast turn of speed and total indomitability in all conditions, this is a high-performance Bentley of the highest order.
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    Torque of the country / Rather like a well-known type of oven, this #Bentley burns oil to hugely impressive effect. Words Robert Coucher. #Bentley-Bentayga-Diesel / #Bentley-Bentayga-Diesel-V8 / #Bentley-Bentayga / #2017

    Bentleys were long known for their low-revving, large-capacity, high-torque engines. And with this latest iteration, ‘the bloody thump’ is back. This Bentayga is Bentley’s first diesel and the specifications are astonishing: 429bhp at 3750rpm, 664lbft at 1000rpm, 0-62mph in 4.8 seconds and a top speed of 168mph… from a diesel SUV!

    But why would you bother with the fastest diesel SUV on the market when the W12 petrol version is more than man enough? Set off on a 600-mile tour (walking in Scotland, winetasting in Bordeaux, skiing in Verbier) and you’ll do so on just one tank. That’s why.

    The secret is the triple-charged 4.0-litre V8 (co-developed with Audi, whose diesels did rather well at Le Mans). It employs two twinscroll turbochargers, plus an electrically powered supercharger that primes the first turbo in the mid- range and the second at the top end – good to see a ’charger back on a Bentley once again. This set-up offers the full 664lb ft force at just 1000rpm – and a claimed 35.8mpg. The CO2 emissions figure of 210g/ km is the lowest ever for a Bentley, too.

    The Bentayga has never been an elegant machine because, well, it’s an SUV. But it sure offers presence, even if it’s a bit bling. The signature meshed radiator grille, together with meaty alloys shod with 285/45/R21 Pirelli Scorpion all-season tyres, signal intent and, yes, the #V8-DIESEL badges are a delete option.

    Climb up into the high, bolstered chair and the interior appointment is supreme – swathes of leather, cross stitching, chrome organ-stop controls, burr walnut and other twinkling jewellery. Fire the engine and all of a sudden nothing happens. You can’t hear it. Hop out and stand next to the bonnet and you can just about make out a slight diesel tickover. Pull the chunky, eight-speed auto selector back into Drive and the 2390kg Bentayga wafts off on its almost instant mountain of torque.

    The power delivery is the nearest any internal combustion (or even pressure combustion) power unit comes to an instant-torque electric motor. The thrust is fabulous, near-silent, silken and refined. While the acceleration could be described as astonishing, with so little apparent effort or drama it is more ‘amazing’.

    On the road the Bentayga is no sports car (though it does have a Sports mode) yet it can be hustled thanks to its four-wheel-drive traction, powerful brakes, sharp-enough steering and that smooth, instant power delivery. As a car enthusiast you might miss an engine note because this one simply thrums, but as a capacious gentleman’s GT this diesel #SUV delivers and will be more than capable of taking you off-road at your next shoot.

    Above and below #V8 #Diesel employs two turbos and a supercharger for instant massive torque and country-crossing range on a full tank, though there are few clues that it’s an oil-burner.
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    CONTIINENTAL SHIFT / #2018-Bentley-Continental-GT / #Bentley-EXP-10-Speed-6 / #Bentley-Continental-GT / #Bentley-Continental-GT-III / #Bentley-Continental / #Bentley / #2018

    A lighter, lower, long-legged looker, the all-new 2018 Bentley Continental GT is about to break cover.

    The next-generation Continental GT is still in the depths of development, but it looks as though a host of new technologies and styling that’s both traditional and forward-looking will make Bentley’s core model even faster and more desirable than before.

    SPEED 6 STYLE

    The most dramatic aesthetic change to the GT is the adoption of front-end styling that’s heavily influenced by the striking EXP 10 Speed 6 concept. In addition, the new car will be lower and have shorter overhangs than the outgoing car. Even so, traditional Bentley styling traits such as the raked roof flowing into pronounced rear “haunches” will be integral to the new car’s design.

    PORSCHE-PREPARED PLATFORM

    This new Bentley will be underpinned by a new modular platform that has been developed in conjunction with Porsche and underpins the new Panamera. Dubbed MSB, its application in the new GT will considerably shorten the wheelbase and that suggests a greater emphasis will be placed on making it a dynamically more adept car.

    GETTING THE LEAD OUT

    With the current GT tipping the scales at a shade under 2,4 tonnes, it’s imperative for the new car to go on a diet. To this end, Bentley will dispense with the full-steel body and adopt a hybrid-material construction comprising an aluminium shell supported by high-strength steels. According to Bentley boss, Wolfgang Dürheimer, the new car will be 350 kg lighter.

    FROM TURBOS TO CHARGING

    The reworked 6,0-litre, twin-turbo #W12 petrol engine from the Bentayga will headline the powerplant line-up. Developing 600bhp / 447 kW and a mammoth 900 NM, it could propel the GT from 0-62MPH / 0-100 km/h in around four seconds. It will be joined by an updated version of the Audi-developed 4,0-litre V8 turbopetrol, as well as a 305 kW V6 plug-in hybrid powerplant sourced from Porsche. All of these units will be coupled with an AWD drivetrain.

    THE FUTURE OF SPEED

    First seen at last year’s Geneva Motor Show, the EXP 10 Speed 6 concept showcased a potential sub- Continental GT model and was the first Bentley to feature a V6 hybrid drivetrain. A production version could arrive by 2020.
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    / #Bentley-Flying-Spur-V8-S / #Bentley-Flying-Spur / #Bentley / #2017 / #Bentley-Flying-Spur-II / #Bentley-Flying-Spur-Mk2 / #V8

    Big saloon’s imperfections can be excused by the sense of occasion it offers

    Test location: Cockfield, Suffolk
    GPS: 52.154194, 0.785216
    Photography: Dean Smith


    Two Thousand, Three hundred and forty-two. Written out it doesn’t look like a big number. But 2342kg written numerically, and when seen on the technical specification for Bentley’s new Flying spur V8 s, is hard to ignore. As the cliché goes: Bentleys are the world’s fastest trucks…

    The s in this Flying spur’s name refers to the company’s more sporting package that focuses on performance, agility and luxury, and it follows the same strategy employed on the two-door Continental GT.

    Performance is dealt with by increasing the output of the 4-litre twin-turbocharged V8, which undergoes the gentlest of massages to produce 521bhp (a 21bhp increase over the regular V8 Flying spur) and 502lb ft of torque (an uplift of 15lb ft).

    The result is three-tenths shaved from the 0-60mph time, which now takes 4.6sec on the way to a top speed of 190mph (up 7mph). Making nigh-on 2.5 tons of British and German craftsmanship feel agile is something Bentley invests a great deal in (see for our insight into how the firm develops its cars’ dynamics) and the s is no different. As with the Continental GT V8s the dampers are stiffer, but here they’re even more so, while retaining a modicum of the ride comfort one would expect from a Bentley.

    You can go further in the dynamics department by replacing the standard cast-iron brakes with 420mm front and 405mm rear carbon-ceramics to reduce unsprung mass by 20 per cent and up the £142,800 price tag by a further £10,825.

    Finally there is the luxury component of the s, and few car makers do luxury with quite the aplomb of Bentley. Its production systems may well have changed under Volkswagen ownership, yet every Bentley remains hand-finished and the lavishness of the materials used inside is superlative. One caveat is that the VW Phaeton-sourced infotainment system is shockingly bad to look at and use, yet it doesn’t detract from the overall splendour of travelling by Bentley. It remains touch and go as to whether it’s better to sit in the back or up front.


    One of the Flying spur’s biggest challenges is that its rivals do so much of what it does so much better. Mercedes’ S65 and Audi’s S8 are as quick and their performance is more accessible because they’re nimbler and faster reacting cars.

    The Flying spur feels a bit oldschool when it comes to flinging it down an enjoyable road: the steering is woolly, the throttle response is slow on the uptake no matter what setting you put the eight-speed gearbox in. Meanwhile, the s-class matches the Bentley for refinement and the Audi has the Crewe machine beaten for overall quality (although the Bentley has the better wood…). Both Germans are light years ahead on the technology front, and BMW’s carbon-core chassis’d 7-series is more advanced still.

    Now in its 11th year of production, the Flying spur can still justify its place on the list of chairman-of-the- board contenders. But only just.

    Unlike its mainstream rivals, the Flying spur has presence, and along with that it cocoons you from the outside world and immerses you in total opulence that the others can’t match. Where it falls woefully short in areas such as technology, it makes up for by raising a smile every time that V8 stirs into life.

    There’s no gruff-sounding engine note or exhaust blare (a sports exhaust is conspicuous by its absence from the options list), but instead an evocative growl and a bellow as the tacho heads into the red and the nose gently rises as the thrust builds. As uncompetitive as it is in many modern areas of comparison, it’s untouchable in more traditional ways.

    The Flying spur V8 s has its flaws, then, but it also has its place on the road. And those roads would be a duller place without it.

    + old-school approach to comfort and luxury
    - old-school tech

    Rating 3+

    Specification
    Engine V8 , 3993cc, twin-turbo
    CO2 254g/km
    Power 521bhp @ 6000rpm
    Torque 502lb ft @ 1700rpm
    0-60mph 4.6sec (claimed)
    Top speed 190mph (claimed)
    Weight 2342kg (226bhp/ton)
    Price £142,800

    ‘It can still justify its place on the list of chairman-of-the-board contenders’ ‏ — at Cockfield, Bury Saint Edmunds IP30, UK
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    Bentley in bits / #1937 / #Bentley-4¼ Robert Coucher / #Bentley / #Bentley-4¼-litre

    On my last trip to Cape Town I enjoyed cruising about in my late father’s 1988 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC. It had just been gone through by my brother-in-law, Dieter Noli, and is now running like new. I’d hoped to drive the 1937 4¼-litre Derby Bentley, too, but I couldn’t because Dieter had removed the carburettors. As with the big-block Merc, Dieter has spent the last couple of years getting the Bentley back into shape after it has languished unused in the garage. This included rebuilding the dragging brakes, fixing the thermostatically controlled radiator vents, fitting new tyres and tuning the engine to start with the merest touch of the large button on the dash.

    The really big job was attending to the differential, which had too much slop. With the attentions of ex-aerospace toolmaker Michael von Zelewski, the diff was stripped, cleaned, its mesh checked with engineer’s blue and reset to original tolerances. Back in the car it is now working correctly.

    But Dieter was not happy with the Bentley’s engine, which was running rich. He adjusted the twin SU carburettors but could not get the mixtures across all six cylinders to match. So he stripped the carbs and, with the help of local Bentley enthusiast, racer and expert Dave Alexander, they are on the bench of racer and engineer Dickon Dagget. Between them (Dickon rebuilt a vintage Bugatti a while ago in his workshop in Hout Bay) the Derby’s carburettors should soon be in fine fettle.

    Clockwise from above. Brother-in-law Dieter is thwarted by recalcitrant carburettors; differential gearwheels needed adjustment to their mesh; crownwheel, halfshafts and casing await differential gears’ return.
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