During a recent demonstration of the Bentley Studio at the Melbourne Formula One Grand Prix, Bentley admitted that its clientele and demographic is changing, requiring a rethink of technology within the cabin.
When you think Bentley, you don't necessarily think young, hip and trend-setting, but the Bentley demographic is changing. Bentley customers are younger than ever and with the Asian demographic scoring highly among Bentley clientele, a rethink of interior tech is long overdue.
Robin Peel, head of marketing and corporate communications for the Asia Pacific region, told CarAdvice, "We listen carefully to what our customers are telling us in regards to the development of all our cars. In the past our focus on luxurious and beautifully crafted material exceeded our customer’s expectations."
"With a younger group of customers and other luxury cars offering ever-increasing technology, we have certainly applied research and effort into this area."
"We now offer an array of features and technology in both the front and rear of our cars that is rarely matched. From WiFi hotspots, to touchscreen remotes, adaptive cruise control, iPad connectivity and docking stations, rear cooling fridges with electronically controlled doors, the list goes on," Peel said.
While that list may seem impressive, when put into perspective, it's not hard to see that Bentley trails the competition when compared side-by-side.
The latest Mercedes-Benz S-Class for example features a raft of standard features that are not available, even as options, on the equivalently priced Flying Spur. Some of these include blind spot monitoring, a night vision camera, head-up display, TFT speedometer and tachometer, lane keeping assistant, forward active crash mitigation, internet streaming and a driver drowsiness monitor, just to name a few.
The logical next model to see a refresh of technology would be the Bentayga luxury SUV that Bentley is currently developing. When quizzed about whether we would see new technology launched with Bentayga, Peel said, "Bentayga as our very latest offering, will of course carry forward this journey, but now is too early for us to be disclosing details on Bentayga’s interior."
On the topic of expected competitors for the upcoming Bentayga, Peel said, "As you may be aware, we have said the Bentayga will be sector-defining, and as such it will be the world’s first true luxury SUV. There are a very small number of SUVs that our customers currently consider in their purchasing decisions. Bentayga will sit above this list, and be the new pinnacle SUV."
Rolls-Royce is also currently working on an SUV, which was recently announced by Rolls-Royce Motor Cars CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös. Rolls-Royce is likely to use its collaboration with BMW to fully leverage a growing demand for high-end technology in cars. With any luck, the Bentayga will signal the times of change for Bentley on the technology front.