'Bentley needs real powertrain innovation if it’s to remain remotely relevant'

Deputy editor John McIlroy thinks Bentley's EV switch is key to the firm's future

Bentley is making headlines this week, after its announcement that it plans to go electrified-only by 2026, and pure electric-only by the end of the decade. That’s a bold target for a company with such traditional values, let alone one whose main models are still powered by V8 and W12 petrol engines.

But Bentley boss Adrian Hallmark is not wrong in setting his sights high. The past week is proof that, when challenged, car company engineers can come up with fascinating innovations.

Take Toyota’s GR Yaris, for example. You can read Steve Sutcliffe’s verdict on the car here, but although our man has driven more hot hatchbacks in his time than he’d ever care to mention, even he is surprised (and yes, just a little bit pleased) with this new arrival. 

If you’d have said two years ago, amid the push towards electrification and low CO2 targets, that Toyota would launch a turbocharged three-cylinder, four-wheel-drive version of the Yaris, complete with its own unique three-door bodystyle, you’d have been laughed at. Yet here it is. And it’s really rather good.

Equally, Audi has to move with the times – not just on electrification, but also on sustainability. So when its take on the Porsche Taycan arrives in 2021, the well heeled shoes of the e-tron GT’s owners will press down into vegan carpet. Even Land Rover has learned new tricks – and crammed them into the improved cabin of its revised Discovery, itself a former Auto Express Car of the Year.

It’s these examples of progress that make us so excited about the announcement from Bentley. Because for all its expertise in leather and wood crafting, the Crewe-based brand needs real powertrain innovation if it’s to remain remotely relevant to those who can afford its products. Now that it has recognised this, you can bet the company’s engineering department will be buzzing. We can’t wait to see what solutions they come up with.

Are you looking forward to electric Bentleys? Let us know in the comments below...

Recommended

Pester power from kids pushes parents towards electric cars
News

Pester power from kids pushes parents towards electric cars

More than half of UK children want their parents to make the switch to an electrified car
27 Oct 2020
Government should place 15% EV quota on car manufacturers, campaigners say
Electric cars

Government should place 15% EV quota on car manufacturers, campaigners say

Global Action Plan and FIA Foundation claim 59 per cent of two-car families could run an electric car without any hindrance
17 Aug 2020
'If you like driving as we do, you’ll love driving an electric car'
Electric cars

'If you like driving as we do, you’ll love driving an electric car'

Editor-in-chief Steve Fowler thinks a fully-electric driving experience will surprise some car enthusiasts
9 Jul 2020
'Power outages do nothing to inspire confidence in would-be EV buyers'
Opinion

'Power outages do nothing to inspire confidence in would-be EV buyers'

Mike Rutherford thinks the switch to an all-electric UK car market hasn't been thought through
26 Nov 2020

Most Popular

New Suzuki Swace estate launched on UK market
News

New Suzuki Swace estate launched on UK market

Based on the Toyota Corolla Touring Sports, the Suzuki Swace estate comes to the UK
11 Nov 2020
All-new Renault Kangoo van unveiled ahead of 2021 launch
Renault Kangoo ZE Concept - show pic
Renault Kangoo

All-new Renault Kangoo van unveiled ahead of 2021 launch

First images of the third-generation Renault Kangoo panel van - which will soon square-up to the new Volkswagen Caddy
12 Nov 2020
How to transfer a number plate from one car to another
MINI number plate change
Tips & advice

How to transfer a number plate from one car to another

Need to know how to transfer a number plate between vehicles? Our step-by-step guide breaks it down
22 Nov 2020