RAY MASSEY: Bentley's new diesel diamond should get you from London to Verbier on a single tank
Bentley's first diesel, the Bentayga, is also the world's fastest luxury diesel SUV, claims the company.
And driving it reminds me of those margarine adverts that say 'I can't believe it's not butter,' because this big 4x4 feels and sounds so silkily smooth that I could barely believe it wasn't a petrol vehicle.
The engineers at Crewe — headed by engineering director Rolf Frech and his 4,000-strong workforce — have done a sterling job creating a vehicle that has great performance, phenomenal pulling power, and nimble, but gripping road manners.
Four by phoaar: Bentley claims its first diesel, the Bentayga, is also the world's fastest luxury diesel SUV
It's no slouch off-road either, managing muddy and rock-strewn slippery slopes and rutted tracks with aplomb.
With big 21 in wheels and powered by a triple-turbocharged four-litre V8 engine linked to an eight-speed automatic gearbox (with manual paddles for added fun), it accelerates from rest to 60mph in just 4.6 seconds, and has a top speed of 168 mph, yet will still manage 35.8 miles to the gallon with CO2 emissions of 210g/km.
That will get you from London to Verbier in the French Alps on a single tank.
Drivetime: The Bentley has great performance, phenomenal pulling power, and nimble, but gripping road manners
Speed: The Bentley accelerates from rest to 60mph in just 4.6 seconds, and has a top speed of 168 mph
Prices start at £135,800 — but can quickly spiral. Fully loaded, the vehicle I drove weighed in at a hefty £202,360 — with a mind-boggling £66,560 of 'extras'.
These included: £11,165 for the bespoke Mulliner trim and features; £5,635 for the for the rear seat entertainment with Google maps; £4,995 for the all-terrain specification; £6,615 for the Naim premium audio system; £1,050 for the Breitling clock with white mother-of-pearl face.
Bentley's chief executive Wolfgang Durheimer will be pushing parent company Volkswagen, and the UK Government, for post-Brexit support to keep production in Britain.
Frugal: The diesel motor will manage 35.8 miles to the gallon with CO2 emissions of 210g/km
Costs: Prices start at £135,800 and the options quickly add up for example it's £11,165 for the bespoke Mulliner trim
WRAPS COME OFF THE NEW FORD FIESTA
The wraps have come off the next-generation Ford Fiesta with which the company hopes to keep its place at the top of the UK's best-selling car table — a position it has held since 2008.
On sale next summer with prices yet to be announced, it faces tough competition snapping at its heels, with the latest head-turning Nissan Micra aiming to steal some sales, as will Citroen's perky new C3.
Built in Cologne, Germany, the new Fiesta is being billed as a bigger, roomier and more upmarket incarnation of the popular small hatchback — with four variants that mark the start of a new Fiesta 'family' including an upmarket Vignale, a sporty ST-Line, stylish Titanium and an active crossover.
Ford describes it as 'the world's most technologically advanced small car'.
We shall see, but it's the first Ford with 'pedestrian detection' that can help prevent collisions at night and also features active park assist to prevent low-speed bumps when parking hands-free.
- Two-thirds of parents do not know the laws around child car seats and more than half (56 per cent) are unaware of the new laws about backless booster seats which come into force next year, according to confused.com, which has produced a short film to explain the changes.
SKODA'S SUPERB IN NAME AND NATURE
I was impressed with the aptly-named Skoda Superb Estate, which I took for a long-legged drive from London to Liverpool and back — including a leisurely saunter along the legendary Penny Lane.
Bright red and with plenty of load-lugging capacity, it proved a comfortable ride for a long journey.
Having covered more than 500 miles on the round trip, my Skoda still showed a range of 225 miles — pretty much enough to head back up there again.
Powered by a willing 1.6TDI 120 bhp turbodiesel engine linked to a six-speed manual gearbox, it's claimed to average 67.3mpg (I was getting about 55 mpg without being a slouch).
It has a top speed of 127mph and accelerates from rest to 62mph in 11 seconds. C02 emissions are 109g/km. Price on the road is £24,390.
- Rival car giants hope to make putting juice into your electric car a little easier. BMW, Daimler AG, Ford and Volkswagen have ann-ounced a joint venture to create ultra-fast, high-power charging sites along many major European highways. Starting next year with an initial target of 400, they will be 'significantly faster' than the most powerful system now in use and aim to be as convenient as conventional refuelling.
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