Bentley's Beijing Motor Show announcements focused yet again on the brand's chief attributes of power and luxury. The automaker not only disclosed a slate of high-performance powertrains for its upcoming EXP 9 F sport utility vehicle, and announced a run of 60 special edition 2012 Mulsanne sedans.
While Bentley hasn't officially committed to producing the EXP 9 F as it was first shown in Geneva, such a vehicle is more or less a certainty. In fact, Bentley says that a forthcoming sport utility vehicle will offer three engine choices, two of which are borrowed directly from the Continental lineup.
Those two engines are the Conti's long-serving W-12, and its new-for-2012 V-8. The W-12 is a 6.0-liter motor with two turbochargers, and makes 600 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque. The V-8 is a direct-injection twin-turbo 4.0-liter engine, and is essentially a re-tuned version of the engine used in the Audi S7 and S8 ranges. In Continental guise, that engine yields 500 horsepower and 487 pound-feet of torque. Both engines would likely be mated to Bentley's eight-speed automatic transmission and an all-wheel drive system.
While the V-8 promises better fuel economy than the W-12 (Bentley claims a 40 percent increase in fuel economy in the Continental with the new engine underhood), there may be yet another option for those mildly concerned about fuel consumption. Bentley is also looking to make a plug-in hybrid variant with a V-6 plug-in hybrid. Details are still fleeting, but there’s a good chance it could be similar to the plug-in hybrid system being developed for the Porsche Panamera and Cayenne (the latter shares its platform with the EXP 9 F). If so, expect that V-6 to be a supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 borrowed from Audi.
Bentley hasn't released any power figures, but does suggest a hybrid EXP 9 F would sprint from 0-62 mph in less than five seconds, emit less than 130 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer, and travel up to 19 miles on electric power alone. Those are some lofty goals, considering that the EXP 9 F's distant sibling, the Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid will hit 60 mph in 6.1 seconds.
For customers concerned more with luxury than speed, Bentley announced another model at the Beijing Show: the Diamond Jubilee edition Mulsanne. Bentley will make 60 special edition Mulsanne sedans to celebrate the 60-year reign of Queen Elizabeth II over the United Kingdom. The specialized Mulsannes will feature gold embroidery on the headrests, a set of throw pillows, a royal carriage overlay on the rear picnic tables, and stainless steel treadplates. The tweaks were designed by Mulliner -- Bentley's coachwork division – to echo the Queen’s Bentley State Limousine, which was built by Mulliner in 2002.