Bentley recently announced a new carbon fibre wheel that was specifically designed for the Bentayga. With the size of 22”, this new carbon fibre wheel is the largest carbon wheel ever produced in the world, while still able to be 6kg lighter than the regular wheels. These wheels will be made in collaboration with leading composite manufacturer, Bucci Composites.
This new carbon wheels have gone through the rigorous TÜV (Technischer Überwachungsverei – Technical Inspection Association) standards, which made it the first carbon wheel ever produced to pass all tests. These rigorous test includes biaxial stress testing, radial and lateral impact testing for simulating potholes and cobblestones, tyre overpressure, and excessive torque tests exceeding the permitted limits. At the final stage, the wheels will go through its paces on one of the most famous tracks in the world – the Nürburgring Nordschleife.
Apart from the weight advantage of having carbon fibre wheels, there are additional benefits such as:
- Increased safety– when the rim receives a high impact, the weave pulls apart leaving openings to allow gradual air loss rather than instant deflation like an aluminium rim.
- Increased steering agility– the 6 kg weight saving and the high stiffness afforded by the properties of carbon fibre mean a more stable and consistent steering platform. In comparison, a forged aluminium rim can lose up to a degree of camber due to wheel flex, reducing grip and agility.
- Improved and more responsive braking – thanks to the decrease in unsprung mass.
- Reduced tyre wear – Since the stiffer carbon rim does not suffer from the same amount of bending, it allows for greater tyre stability and a more consistent contact patch thanks to a larger tyre support surface.
Innovative Production Processes
One of the main innovations lies in the rim manufacturing process, which involves the application of innovative concepts (covered by patents) combined with the use of high pressure RTM (Resin Transfer Moulding). The materials and production parameters have been carefully studied to ensure the repeatability of the product without affecting its quality.
The process involves the cutting of carbon fibre cloth into prescribed shapes. The weave segments are then stacked, heated and draped into a mould to create three-dimensional preforms. The preforms are collated and arranged into a larger mould before resin and hardner is injected throughout. After curing time at temperature, the component assembly is removed from the mould, and the final surfaces are machined to the correct finish, before polishing.
New Mulliner Products for the Future
This collaboration with a world leading composites supplier underlines Mulliner’s key principle in offering Bentley’s customers new and unique features. The new 22” carbon wheel is the perfect complement to Bentley’s existing carbon fibre products, including the highly sought-after Styling Specification which adds a carbon front splitter, sill extensions and rear diffuser to the Bentayga, and the option of high gloss carbon fibre veneer to the interior.