British car manufacturer Bentley has given us the biggest hint yet that their next car is going to be a baby sports car. However, there may be a delay on investment from the VW group, into the production, as Britain waits to see what will happen with the negotiations for Brexit.
The additional product line has been in consideration for the past 18 months following the successful launch of the Bentley Bentayga. It will surpass sales targets in 2016 with production figures of around 5,500 examples expected against the predicted 3,600.
Bentley had been looking at choosing between two developments: the baby sports car, of which the production version of the EXP 10 Speed 6 concept was shown at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show and the smaller SU which will be designed along the same lines as the Audi Q5.
Wolfgang Durheimer, Bentley’s chairman and CEO indicated that the company was favouring the baby sports car. He said: “We know what our additional product line will be and it will bring in new customers to Bentley – younger and more dynamic customers. The problem with a smaller SUV is that it ends up against many other premium brands, not luxury ones. Whereas with the product idea we currently have, we will be up against our luxury rivals; this is what I prefer.”
Details are not confirmed yet but the new baby sports car could be called the Barnato, which is a reference to the former Bentley chairman and three-time Bentley Le Mans 24 hours’ winner Woolf Barnato. He was known as one of the ‘Bentley Boys’ and is also one of the few drivers to win every single race he entered into at Le Mans. Therefore, it seems a fitting tribute to name a sports car after him.
The Barnato is naturally going to be competition for Aston’s V8 Vantage. Rumours are that pricing will start around £130,000 or a little less, raising the Barnato’s profile to above that of the Porsche 911.