Bentley Hunaudieres (1999)
When in March 1999 at the Geneva Motor Show the Bentley Hunaudieres made its debut this was the first time since Volkswagen had bought the English motor car manufacturer, that the public got a glimpse of what probably might become a future Bentley model. It remained a question though whether or not following further development this concept indeed would be added to Bentley’s model range. It remained a question too whether or not a more sensible choice of designation might have been appropriate – to spell Hunaudieres correctly is near impossible for those who happen to live in the English-speaking areas of our world…
In any case the Bentley BY8.16 Hunaudieres was an answer to the question, if Bentley would continue their tradition of exhibiting so-called “Concept Cars” after the company had become part of Volkswagen’s empire. Here was a clear indication that Bentley should play a major role. By presenting the Bentley Hunaudieres Volkswagen nailed their colours to the mast with a through and through super sportscar.
The coachwork was made from highly advanced components produced from Carbonfibre and aluminium. The design chief of the Volkswagen Group, Hartmut Warkuss had been responsible for the lines of this car. With its interior dominated by exquisite leather and a thoroughly modern outward appearance fine ingredients from the marque’s tradition had been amalgamated on this bold project car. It had been built by Focke of Brunswick actually. Special emphasis was on the completely new developed engine: a 16-cylinder engine with a capacity of 8,004 ccm! Two cylinderblocks with 8 cylinders each were arranged in W-form and the power output estimated at some 463kw/630hp. A maximum torque of 760 Nm at 4,000 rpm should have impressed as an exclamation mark! – Fair consideration however might have resulted in checking the engine for additional inherent qualities. As regards sheer power with less cylinders and less capacity the well-proven Rolls-Royce 6.75 litre V8-engine as fitted into the Bentley Continental T did provide a maximum of 875 Nm – and that figure was achieved at a mere 2,100 rpm.
The launch of the Bentley Hunaudieres might not only have been to gauge market reactions for a future model but to gain tremendous publicity from occupying prominent media space too.