Bentley Continental Flying Spur - The Deep Dive

Bentley Continental Flying Spur - The Deep Dive

Franz-Josef Paefgen
-Chairman and Chief Executive, Bentley Motors

Our most loyal customers want their Arnage to combine an utterly effortless drivetrain with an unparalleled level of comfort, style, and specification. Having said that, there is no doubt that the new Arnage will be more environmentally friendly.

I would rather derive, the next Continental coupe from a future Audi A5 than let the company go under. In that case, a twin-turbo V-6 might be an appropriate engine.

Such a scenario is possible. But we are not there yet, and I would rather never have to cross that bridge.

How he got here:

In 1976, Paefgen joined Ford Germany as a graduate trainee. After brief stints in engine development and quality control, he left for Audi in 1980. In 1987, he moved to Audi headquarters. Four years later, Paefgen was appointed senior product planner before being named temporary chief of the engineering department. In 1997, he became deputy chairman of Audi. Between 1998 and 2002, he ran the show at Germany's fastest-growing premium brand. Later that year, he was due to climb up one more rung and oversee R&D for the entire Volkswagen Group. But the day before the announcement was due, VW Group chairman Ferdinand Piëch threw a wrench in the works by demoting Paefgen, nixing the proposed corporate position, and installing Martin Winterkorn as the new number-one guy in Ingolstadt. Why? Because Paefgen had repeatedly stepped on Piëch's toes. He pushed through the A2 and the A6 Allroad against the chairman's will, he was integral to the development of the Audi R8, which duly threatened the Porsche 911, and he opposed the Q7, which helped pay for the Porsche Cayenne. But instead of calling it quits, Paefgen accepted the offer to run Bentley and, later, also Bugatti. At Bentley's HQ in Crewe, England, he's just far enough removed from the ruthless Piëch.

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