Carbon fiber is a perfect material for Bentley in that it offers lightweight performance and it’s also pretty damn expensive. Bentley spent years developing a wheel specifically for the Bentayga SUV, and now it’s releasing them.
Bentley’s in-house coachbuilding arm Mulliner partnered with carbon fiber specialist Bucci Composites, taking five years to develop the wheel. It was designed and put to the test under Germany’s stringent TÜV (Technical Inspection Association) rules:
The newly developed rim has undergone the most rigorous testing for non-metallic wheels according to the new TÜV standards including biaxial stress testing, radial and lateral impact testing for simulating potholes and cobblestones, tyre overpressure, and excessive torque tests exceeding the permitted limits.
While some may find that carbon fiber is wasted on an ultra-luxury SUV that weighs 2.7 tons, Bentley sees benefits in weight savings, handling, braking etc. From Bentley:
Increased safety – when the rim receives a high impact, the weave pulls apart leaving openings to allow gradual air loss rather than instant deflation like an aluminum rim.
Increased steering agility – the 6 kg weight saving and the high stiffness afforded by the properties of carbon fiber mean a more stable and consistent steering platform. In comparison, a forged aluminum rim can lose up to a degree of camber due to wheel flex, reducing grip and agility.
Improved and more responsive braking thanks to the decrease in unsprung mass.
Reduced tyre wear - Since the stiffer carbon rim does not suffer from the same amount of bending, it allows for greater tyre stability and a more consistent contact patch thanks to a larger tyre support surface.
All this adds up to a Bentgaya that will be better riding, handles better, and could potentially have some safety benefits. With Bentley saying these are the largest carbon fiber wheels put into production at 22 inches, there’s no word on cost yet. (Koenigsegg’s, by the way, are 21s.) But you can only imagine how much they’ll be when they become available to order this fall.