By Drew Johnson
Tuesday, Nov 24th, 2009 @ 5:56 pm
 
With conspicuous consumption now by the wayside, Bentley is considering two new "entry-level" models that would slot beneath the Continental range. If given the go-ahead, the new models could enter production by 2014.

According to the latest reports from Crewe, Bentley is considering two smaller models - a two-door shooting brake and a more conventional four-door crossover. Codenamed NCB - for New Compact Bentley - both models would likely share a platform with the next-generation Audi A6/A7.

The varying models would give Bentley access to two niche markets. The shooting brake model would give Bentley a performance-minded model while still providing seating for four and moderate cargo hauling while the crossover would be more along the lines of a conventional SUV, offering a higher ride height and more people and cargo carrying ability. Those close to the program say the crossover could follow closely in the footsteps of the Audi Allroad.

To steer clear of the Continental, Bentley execs are favoring a V8 engine for the NCB project, according to Automobile Magazine. Based on Audi's all-new 4.0L turbo V8, the eight-pot would displace 4.5L in Bentley guise, generating about 550 horsepower. A diesel version hasn't been ruled out and a hybrid variant seems like a distinct possibility.

If given the production nod, expect to see the new Bentley models in showrooms sometime in 2014 with a price tag between $110,000 and $130,000.