Turns out, in case you didn't know, the rich are just like regular people. They too are concerned about the environment, even when tooling around town in their super-luxurious Bentleys. So the automaker is weighing the idea of offering a diesel engine in its SUV offering, which could help satisfy customers' demands for more fuel-efficient engines.
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. We at Autoblog have hopes they'll revive the V10 TDI used in the VW Touareg until 2010, but ever-stricter emissions laws would likely make that problematic.
But rich people aren't so much like us that they'll be worried about petty things like pricing. Schreiber admitted the diesel engine could be a $15,000 option, which he said customers would probably find "acceptable." Given that the cheapest Bentley today starts at $177,000, typical customers probably won't be diddling around worrying about an extra 15 grand.
Schreiber verified that the SUV, which was confirmed for production in January, will go on sale in 2017. The SUV, based on the EXP 9 F concept shown in Geneva in 2012, is being designed from the start to include a plug-in hybrid powertrain. Other Bentleys are expected to get the plug-in hybrid powertrain down the line, and the automaker is also considering another four-door sedan or a two-door coupe, but Schreiber said it's too early to talk about what those vehicles may be. The automaker won't follow Maserati's lead and make something radically cheaper, like the Ghibli. "If you go too far away from where we are today, there is too much chance you could disappoint the current customer," Schreiber said.