Bentley History

Like Aston Martin, Bentley is another true-blue British sport-luxury carmaker (never mind that it’s owned by the Germans as part of the VW group). It was founded in 1919 by the dashing W.O. Bentley, and its early reputation was burnished by Le Mans victories in the 1920’s and the “Bentley boys”, a group of enthusiast British racers. The company has also seen trouble, having come close to shutting down completely more than once, and at one time merged with Rolls Royce. In 1998 the company was bought by VW and split from Rolls Royce, which is in turn owned by BMW.

Bentleys are known for their uncompromising approach to luxury, engineering and sport. They feature lavishly appointed interiors with expensive leather and wood, as well as powerful, large-displacement engines, of which the most famous is the venerable 6.75 litre. This also makes them quite expensive, but then these are not cars bought as mere transport machines. Bentley presented Queen Elizabeth II of England with a special Bentley State Limousine in 2002 to mark the Golden Jubilee.

Production is centered in Crewe in the U.K., and just over 10,000 cars are produced annually- a historically high volume.

Bentley Models

There are 3 Bentley models you can buy in New Zealand- coupe, convertible and sedan, and each comes in 2 trim models- the base model and the so-called ‘Speed’ variants, making for a total of 6 choices. All feature versions of a 6.0-litre W12 engine- that’s two V6 engines shoehorned together, which is no small engineering feat. First up is the GT coupe, the much-loved transport of choice for professional sportsmen, hip-hop artistes and various celebrities for its “bling” factor, exclusivity and brand cachet. The GT convertible is its open-air-motoring sibling. The Continental Flying Spur sedan is also based on the same platform as the GT coupe and convertible, but stretched about 20 inches longer to better accommodate rear-seat passengers. All were introduced in the latter half of the 2000-2010 decade.

Looking at buying a Bentley? Check the vehicle history of any Bentley by entering its number plate into the field above.