Engineering at Bentley provides some unique and interesting challenges. Our Interior Systems engineers must bring together traditional skills associated with natural materials and the very latest development and manufacturing technologies. Our Chassis and Powertrain engineers have the challenge of taming hugely powerful engines into a motorcar that can provide massive acceleration together with a refined and relaxing drive. Our Body engineers must provide the platform that allows the car to perform to Bentley's requirements and the quality that our customers demand.
In Whole Vehicle engineering, engineering quality and vehicle testing are maintained and conducted using, again, a mixture of traditional and the very latest virtual reality techniques.
Engineering at Bentley, in addition to these unique challenges, offers worldwide career opportunities and excellent training and development. Functional areas are described in more detail below:
- Body and Hardware Engineering
- Trim Engineering
- Chassis and Powertrain Engineering
- Electrical Engineering
- Whole Vehicle Engineering
Mission of Engineering:
- To design and develop compelling, fascinating, true Bentleys that our customers love as profitable products for the Company.
- Be True to our Heritage
- To Use the 'Best of To-day'
- Be Innovating into the Future
Body is split into 5 main areas of responsibility:
Body in White
- Engineer solutions using steel, aluminium composite magnesium etc. for cost, weight and body stiffness effectiveness.
- Engineer a structure that performs to worldwide legislation, e.g. crash.
- Engineer solutions for sealing, brightware, window systems, boot, bonnet, interior/exterior handles using different materials.
- Engineer solutions for glazing, bumpers, radshells, mirrors, badging, side finishers using different materials.
- Engineer and manage total vehicle crash projects to meet worldwide legislation.
- Engineer sunroof and cabriolet roof systems for the ultimate cars in the world.
Engineers are encouraged to carry on training in specific areas, e.g. Failure Mode Analysis, Management and Finance, and to join the ImechE. They are encouraged to have placements in other areas of the business and Engineering to become rounded engineers.
Research & Development
Special projects are run with suppliers and with Group partners on new technology development to keep Bentley at the cutting edge of technology.
Engineers are encouraged to work with Group colleagues on special projects and also have placements in other areas of Volkswagen.
The extensive use of leather and non-automated assembly techniques makes engineering at Bentley a unique and demanding task, unrivalled in the automotive industry. Interior Engineering has to take the natural products and craftsmanship that makes a Bentley interior unique in the marketplace and blend it with state of the art design methods, modern materials and manufacturing practices to produce a product that is both luxurious and bespoke, but also functional and capable of passing VW's stringent test procedures. This includes ensuring compliance with all the current legislation that governs car manufacture.
Trim Engineering is split into four different technical functions:
- Parcel shelf
- Acoustic systems
- Pillar trim
- Legislative head impact testing
- Door trim
- Rear seats
- Ski hatch
- Front seats
Materials and Test
- Materials development
- Trim system testing
Chassis & Powertrain
Chassis and Powertrain Engineering is responsible for producing the legendary Bentley driving experience, delivering vehicle performance that ranges from supreme comfort to sporting exhilaration, with effortless power matched with incredible dynamics, refinement and stability.
Chassis and Powertrain is split into 6 functions:
- Powertrain - engine
- Powertrain & driveline systems
- Design analysis, package & HVAC
- Chassis - brake, wheel & tyre
- Chassis - steering, suspension & vehicle dynamics
- Special projects
Electrical is split into 6 functions:
1. Powertrain, Chassis and Safety Electronics
The Powertrain, Chassis and Safety Electronics team are responsible for the electronic control units, electrical sensors and electrical actuators that form part of the Powertrain, chassis and supplementary safety systems found on the Bentley vehicles. Examples of these systems are engine management, transmission control, suspension control, tyre pressure monitoring, electronic stability programme and airbag.
The engineers in the electronics team work very closely with their counterparts in the mechanical departments of Powertrain, Chassis and Vehicle Safety Integration to design, develop and applicate high quality, innovative and cost effective control systems. They also work closely with first tier electronics and software suppliers ensuring that the system specifications are met. Engineers are also responsible for the validation of the complete electrical systems in the laboratory using Hardware in the Loop (HiL) methods and also on vehicle. The team also must keep abreast of latest technologies in their fields of expertise and, where appropriate, evaluate on prototype vehicles.
2. Comfort & Architecture
The Comfort & Architecture Team are responsible for many of the interior Electrical features of the car that are often taken for granted, such as electric seat, window controls, and the instrumentation. Whilst some of these technologies are developed from learning within the Volkswagen group, many things must be designed completely from the ground and are unique to Bentley (such as the electrically operated boot lid and power roof systems).
Testing obviously forms a significant part of the development of any system and as such occupies a considerable part of the Teams’ time.
Another responsibility of the Architecture team is to attempt to discover and solve many issues before they actually arise by inspecting the architecture of the electrical systems in the car. This low-level approach is also incredibly useful when considering the feasibility of future modifications to the car and as such is central to the development cycle.
The Infotainment department is tasked primarily with assessing & developing new communication, navigation & entertainment technologies & integrating them into the car.
This is a very fast moving area, and in order to maintain Bentley’s position, it is important that the correct technologies are considered. For this reason, high degrees of both business & market awareness are required.
The new systems also have to be developed with the target markets for the cars in mind. Things like mobile phone frequencies and television broadcasting standards vary greatly from country to country, and consequently a great deal of thought goes into adapting the car’s systems for use all over the world. The Infotainment department also deal with producing systems using the latest Bluetooth technology, as well as the development of the hidden antennas such as those used in the Continental range. One recent example of a successful project the Infotainment team is the collaboration with British HiFi manufacturer Naim, which has resulted in a credible claim to be the best car audio system in the world.
4. MMI and Exterior Lighting
Team are responsible for the haptics (feel), illumination and ergonomics of all interior switch gear and interior lighting. Responsibilities also include materials, surface finish and realising the customer expectation of a unique overall Bentley switch.
Initial concept and design is critical and close relations with the Styling department are very important closely followed by interfacing with the trim engineering team to ensure good ergonomic and robust packaging/positioning of the switches.
Functionality is totally reliant on the electrical interface of all switches with wiring harness and various ECU's within the architecture of each individual vehicle.
Mood or ambience lighting is usually a customer option which gives a homogeneous light throughout the interior whilst the vehicle is in motion, can also be switchable between various colours.
- Exterior Lighting
This includes all exterior lighting, side markers, front/rear fog lamp(s), number plate lamps along with the more obvious headlamps and rear lamps.
Again initial Styling input is crucial, and once agreed ultimately results in packaging and feasibility studies with BiW (car body) and bumper teams.
Continuous progression in headlamp technologies result in new package and performance challenges the latest being LED (light emitting diode) and AFS which directs light from the headlamps around bends and curves in the road rather than straight ahead as normal headlamps.
Adaptive and auto dipping headlamps are just 2 more technologies being developed and introduced through the MMI/Exterior lighting team.
5. Harness and Mechanical Integration
The Harness and Mechanical Integration team deal with the design and mechanical integration of the electrical harness. Harness features are developed by the team at the request of functional managers, and once circuit diagrams are produced and approved, they are passed on to the harness manufacturers for production. The design of a wiring harness follows a multitude of guidelines to reduce the risk of problems arising due to issues such as electromagnetic interference and loose connections.
The physical situation and enclosure of the harness is also highly important, and the harness team develops all the tubing, fixings and packages for the wiring system as well as checking clearances to ensure the harness is not damaged. The team also supports the whole of Electrical with the mechanical integration of Electrical parts into the vehicle platforms using latest CAD Technology.
6. Electrical Whole Vehicle
Electrical Whole Vehicle (E-EWV) have a wide range of responsibilities, complimenting the Electrical Engineering Department task of delivering Electrical Feature content.
With responsibility for In-Vehicle Networks, the team creates the communication specifications for each bus system, and performs both single component, and whole vehicle network tests, to validate network performance.
The central facility used by Electrical Engineering for Development and Test activities has been developed by the Team. This uses the latest in Hardware-in-the-Loop computer simulation and Test Automation techniques to achieve a unique ‘Laboratory Car’ platform. Engine, transmission and suspension systems are accurately simulated, in real-time, as is the dynamic behaviour of the vehicle. The result is a ‘car’ which can behave as a real Bentley.
Using this resource, Engineers are able to develop and quickly test vehicle systems. This reduces our reliance on vehicles, saving time and money, whilst ensuring consistency.
The Test Management function within the Team performs Whole Vehicle Integration Tests, using the Laboratory Car resource. This activity is used to identify problems early in the development process. Analysis of results and investigation into any failures is required, before components achieve sign-off status.
For specific tests requiring real vehicles, the Team also has control of the Electrical Engineering fleet. Additionally, we are responsible for the co-ordination and support of Prototype Builds, organising customer-focused test drives and Departmental representation at high profile Drive Events.
Throughout a product life-cycle, the Team operates as an interface between the Electrical Engineering, Whole Vehicle Engineering and Quality departments, to ensure the integrity of all vehicle systems.
Whole Vehicle EMC tests are conducted and EMC Sign-off given for each Vehicle platform and the Version Management process is used to define hardware and software versions which can be used to build cars.