Tony O'Kane | May 15, 2009

The hedonistic pleasures of ultra-luxurious automobiles would ordinarily seem at odds with any sort of concern for the environment, but Bentley is aiming to change all that with its new focus on high-efficiency, alternative fuel engines.

The British automaker announced yesterday that its entire stable of high-end coupes, sedans and limousines will all be capable of running on petrol and ethanol, with the latter fuel lowering environmental impact considerably.

Bentley will roll out its flex-fuel range globally, meaning Australia-bound cars will also benefit from the new technology. Presently however, high-ethanol fuels are limited in their availability in this country; but in places like the USA where E85 is plentiful, it should be a big selling point.

Bentley Continental Supersports

Currently the only Bentley capable of running on ethanol is the Continental Supersports (above), which will be arriving in Australia in the near future.

Of particular interest, though, was Bentley's mention that it would soon introduce an all-new powertrain which will boast a whopping 40 percent reduction in fuel consumption compared to the company's existing motors. Does that mean the oft-rumoured hybrid or diesel Bentley is on its way? Ian Churchill from Bentley Motors says no:

"It does not indicate either of those," said Mr Churchill.

"I can't confirm what it will be at this stage, but as we go forward more details will come."

Bentley Arnage 6.75 litre V8

In all likelihood, Bentley's new powerplant would be destined to replace the half-century-old V8 motor that powers the current Arnage, which is due to be replaced soon. With the 6.75 litre bent-eight (above) drinking a huge 19.5l/100km on the combined cycle, it probably wouldn't be all that difficult to return nearly double the fuel economy just by using a more modern petrol engine.

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