According to a source from within Volkswagen Group, new Bentley boss Adrian Hallmark has been advised to invest in the brand rather than chasing volume. And the halo car chosen to accomplish this task will be an emphatically luxurious version of the all-electric Porsche Mission E, codenamed J1. But as ever at VW, nothing is ever quite straightforward.
Audi has also applied for a share of J1 action, and both brands will be chasing the same thing: The lowest ever, full-size four-seat battery electric vehicle with sexy proportions, first class packaging and breathtaking power and torque delivery. Bentley may use the Barnato name for its zero-emission creation. Audi has labeled its J1 variant the e-tron GT.
The Mission E architecture is expected to come in three versions—402, 536, and 670 hp. In combination with bigger batteries good for 115kW/hr and more (there’s even talk of a 150kW/hr unit under development for 2022), the maximum power output could climb to an awesome 936 hp—that’s two 375 hp motors in the back and one 186 hp unit up front. Peak range could be an impressive 500 miles.
The two other premium VW Group brands in need of an extra dash of social acceptance and planet-friendliness are Bugatti and Lamborghini. Although Bugatti did toy with the idea of replacing the Chiron with an all-electric hypercar, it has been ordered to lower its sights to a more affordable sports car whose DNA can be shared with other VW Group premium brands.
Tentatively named Atlantic, the second Bugatti offering will likely be a two-door 2+2-seater genetically connected to the Lamborghini Nuova E-spada. Both models are short-wheelbase evolutions of the 680 hp Panamera Turbo S plug-in hybrid.
Such a striking 2+2 coupé would probably sell in larger numbers if marketed as Porsche 929, but Bugatti and Lambo need high-end green product more urgently, and will command even higher prices, while using the Porsche-developed MSB architecture. Both coupés will of course get bespoke uppers and interiors.
Although it would be easy to jump 700 hp by turning up the boost, these cars will be more about awesome mid-range torque, effortless waftability, and style.
Since money is not really an object, Bugatti can afford even more extreme components than Lamborghini.
The still sketchy spec sheet lists a minimum driving range of 60 miles, a charge time of less than 10 minutes and no battery degradation over 1000 charging cycles.