The Bentley SUV might be a shanda, but it's coming whether you like it or not. Bentley is well intent on serving the markets in China and Dubai, the Chinese and the Emiratis want an SUV so that's that. A little less likely, though, is the recent rumor that Bentley could be shoving a diesel engine in there.
The latest round of the rumor mill comes from Autoblog:
Chairman and CEO Wolfgang Schreiber told Autoblog in a roundtable interview at the Geneva Auto Show that the automaker is researching whether or not a diesel engine makes sense for the brand. Bentley, owned by the Volkswagen Group, could in theory use a diesel engine from anywhere in the Volkswagen Group family.
Well, yes technically Bentley could, "in theory," shove the flat-six from the Porsche 911 GT3 under the hood of the jacked-up Flying Spur. But how likely is it?
I'm going to go way out on a limb here and say not very, and that's simply because there doesn't seem to be logic behind it.
The ostensible reasoning behind it would be that Bentley's wealthy customers are starting to demand an environmentally friendly face, and the way to do that is to cut fuel consumption. But if you were really intending to get a car that loved Mother Earth, your first choice wouldn't be an SUV, wouldn't be a Bentley, and certainly wouldn't be no goddamned Bentley SUV, no matter what engine is in it.
But let's say Bentley does want to put a green face on its tacky new offering. The VW diesel that stands out in my mind to power a Bentley SUV would be the V10 TDi that powered the Touareg. That had a Bentley-esque 553 pound-feet of torque, but there's only one problem. It was discontinued in 2010, and when it was sold it was officially dubbed the "Meanest Vehicle for the Environment" by an environmental group.
So yeah, not very likely on the environmental front.
Could VW potentially develop an entirely new engine to power the Bentley SUV? I guess, but it would be a huge investment and would probably need to see other applications as well.
And if you're going to be developing a new "green" system that produces oodles of torque, you're probably going to want it to be based on electric motors. Diesels, like all piston engines, are dirty, smelly Victorian contraptions in the eyes of the eco-wealthy. Electric power is silent, pleasant, and clean. Bentley would more likely develop a plug-in hybrid system (also very unlikely) before dropping its first-ever diesel into a car.
So yeah. Could VW put a diesel in the Bentley SUV? Sure, just like they could put rockets on the back and call it a day. Anything's possible.
But that doesn't mean it'll happen.
Photo credit: Bentley