Production

Go under the microscope with Bentley's metrology team

A team at Bentley measures every component of the company's vehicles.

Photo courtesy of Bentley Motors

In a factory in Crewe, Cheshire, England, sits a large air-conditioned workshop hidden away from visitors. Inside sits an array of precision instruments that would be right at home in a university science lab or space agency. This is the Bentley metrology lab.

Metrology is the science of measurement. Its name isn't fancy, but its precise work is of the utmost importance. Bentley employee Michael Stockdale, Head of Metrology, runs the lab working with 25 colleagues to measure Bentley vehicles ensuring the most precise measurements possible.

Bentley metrology lab 2020 A team of scientists work together to ensure precise measuring takes place and that any variation in production are within acceptable tolerances.Photo courtesy of Bentley Motors

In the U.S., such labs are frequently found as a part of a government institution. The Kansas Metrology Laboratory falls under the jurisdiction of the Kansas Department of Agriculture. The same goes for facilities in Texas and Nevada while South Dakota's falls under the Department of Public Safety. There are also private metrology labs that service clients worldwide.

Bentley's lab is specialized. It is capable of measuring every part of each model Bentley produces - even the concept cars, from the smallest washer to large body panels and interior trim components. "We have the tools to measure everything from the graining of leather to the surface of a cylinder bore, down to fractions of a micron" said Stockdale.

Why? To ensure that the vehicles are not out of alignment with the allowable tolerances. When components are measured individually, it is easy to see where an error may be occurring during production. This allows problems to be pinpointed during assembly and can result in a more precise vehicle arriving at dealerships and less recalls down the road.

There are instruments within Bentley's metrology department that can measure down to 0.5 microns. A micron is one millionth of a meter, and a human red blood cell is 5 microns in diameter. Not every component of a Bentley needs to be measured to tolerances of less than a micron, but there are some.

Flying B Spur mascot hood ornament The Flying B mascot is made of several intricate components.Photo courtesy of Bentley Motors

Take, for example, the Bentley Flying B mascot that rides on the hood of the Flying Spur. It smoothly moves up into the environment and then retracts into a safe space below the bonnet. That simple up-down maneuver requires the proper working mechanics of a series of intricate parts that come together in very close quarters. To achieve this precise choreography and to ensure that it sits perfectly centered within its plinth, elements of the Flying B system have tolerances as low as 0.15 millimeters. If one component is just a little bit off, it can disable the entire operation.

The engine has some of the most complex and microscopic components. The company describes their 6.0-litre W12 engine, "Spinning at up to 6,000 rpm, the crankshaft converts the immense downward forces generated by the pistons into rotary movement that powers the wheels. Though invisible to the naked eye, each of the twelve machined bearing journal surfaces in which the crankshaft sits features minute grooves that hold a microscopic film of oil."

By using a Perthometer (a tool designed to measure surface finishes), the Stockdale-led metrology team can verify that those minute grooves are within their defined tolerances.

The lab also contains a fleet of digital cameras that are able to photograph a vehicle at every angle to create a precise map for duplication. This map then serves as a template as the vehicle is carved out of a single piece of aluminum.

"Imagine an issue at the prototype stage where the panel gap between grille and bonnet is a millimetre too large," said Stockdale. "Does the fault lie with the grille, or the bonnet? The cubing reference vehicle provides the answer, because it's made to the precise dimensions of the CAD data."

Leitz Bentley metrology This machine can be equipped with tactile probes for scanning accuracy and a variety of optical sensors for non-contact measurements.This machinery retails for over $100,000.Photo courtesy of Bentley Motors

Soft surfaces, such as interior upholstery, are read by an optical laser.

Bentley keeps its lab at a comfortable 68 degrees at all times allowing for accuracy in all measurements and preventing shrinkage and expansion due to environmental conditions. Certain tools, however, require an even higher level of precision.

The metrology lab features a High Accuracy Measurement area, which Bentley refers to as its "inner sanctum". There, a dedicated climate control system ensures that the temperature never deviates by more than half a degree Celsius. Within this area are three gigantic granite blocks to which components can be clamped for the ultimate in stability, essential for an accurate reading. But first, the components to be measured have to soak in the atmosphere – literally. "A large component like an engine block might have to soak at a consistent temperature for up to a week, so we can be sure that it's 20°C all the way to the core" said Stockdale.

BRAKE DISC CONTRENCITY Bentley A disc brake is measured inside the metrology lab.Photo courtesy of Bentley Motors

Bentley calls the metrology department its "hidden heroes" saying, "Every Bentley that leaves the factory is a tribute to their unseen contribution."

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The 2022 Acura TLX has the technology enabled.

Photo courtesy of Acura

Toyota and Lexus announced that the WarnerMedia RIDE app would be coming to their models earlier this year. Now, Honda and Acura will be offering the same.

On certain Wi-Fi enabled Honda and Acura vehicles, AT&T unlimited in-car Wi-Fi users will have access to the WarnerMedia RIDE app. The app allows users to connect multiple devices in their vehicles to browse, stream and share premium content from the WarnerMedia library while on the road.

Honda and Acura vehicle owners have been able to use their on-board modem as a hot spot for connecting up to seven devices since 2017. Models compatible for the new tech include the Acura RDX (2019-present), Acura TLX (2021), and Acura MDX (2022) across all trim levels. Honda vehicles with the tech include Accord (2018-present, Touring), Odyssey (2018-present; Touring, Elite), Insight (2019-present, Touring)., Passport (2019-present; Touring, Elite)., and Pilot (2019-present; Touring, Elite, Black Edition).

The WarnerMedia RIDE App allows passengers to access 1,000+ hours of live and on-demand entertainment. The app includes hit TV shows and movies from top brands such as Cartoon Network, CNN, HBO Max, TBS, TNT and TruTV, spanning animation, entertainment, news, sports and more.

WarnerMedia RIDE app The WarnerMedia RIDE app allows users to choose their own avatar.Photo courtesy of Acura

Users can set up profiles and personalize their user exerpience with an avatar from the WarnerMedia library. Profiles also ensure age-appropriate content with options for adults to restrict access to their profiles with an access code.

"Wireless connectivity and connected car services continue to be key features for customers and our long-standing relationship with AT&T continues to be one way we deliver exciting new content to Honda and Acura owners," said Art St. Cyr, vice president of North American Auto Strategy for American Honda. "Honda will continue working to enhance the in-car experience, including the capabilities of the AT&T network and access to top content with WarnerMedia RIDE."

"We're always looking for new and innovative ways to elevate the connected car experience for our customers. With WarnerMedia RIDE, we are delivering a connected experience that's perfect for journeys," said Joe Mosele, vice president, Mobility & Internet of Things, AT&T. "Our collaboration is keeping Honda and Acura owners connected wherever they travel with hours of news and entertainment for the whole family."

WarnerMedia RIDE is available now in the App Store and on Google Play for all U.S. unlimited data plan subscribers. WarnerMedia RIDE is included at no additional cost for existing and new unlimited subscribers.

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The 2022 Bentley Bentayga S combines dark exterior accents with new dynamic capability.

Photo courtesy of Bentley Motors

Following a mid-generation facelift, Bentley is upping the ante once again on its popular Bentayga SUV. This time, the change comes in the form of a new model - Bentayga S - that is designed to be the sportiest offering in the crossover's lineup. This is the first time an "S" version of the Bentayga has been offered.

Its sport-tuned abilities come courtesy of standard Bentley Dynamic Ride, an anti-roll technology that plays with the model's 15 percent increase in damping in Sport mode to deliver a more engaging drive mode. The automaker has retuned the brakes for the car. It now lightly brakes the inside rear wheel at corner entry to sharpen the front axle turn-in.

The model continues to have four drive modes (Snow and Wet Grass, Dirt and Gravel, Mud and Trail, and Sand) and continues to be able to ford up to 500 mm of water.

2022 Bentley Bentayga S

Photo courtesy of Bentley Motors

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The Bentayga S rides on standard 22-inch wheels in the buyer's choice of one of three finishes while a larger-than-traditional spoiler takes up room out back. Black exterior accents give the Bentley a unique look while a newly designed, free-flowing sports exhaust provides a robust sound out the rear of the car. Gloss black side sills and front and rear lower bumpers work with dark tinted head and taillight lenses, black door mirrors, and black split-oval tailpipes complete the look.

Powering the auto is a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 that gets 542 brake horsepower and 568 pound-feet of torque. The power plant moves the car from zero to 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds with the accelerator at the floor and it has a top speed of 180 mph.

Bentyaga S's cabin has new seats, unique stitching, a fresh color split, and Alcantara upholstery. "S" badging can be found on the passenger fascia, instrument panel graphics, and illuminated treadplates.

Buyers can get the car in a four-, five- or seven-seat configuration. The seats are fluted with stitching contrasting and complementing the hide color.

In front of the driver is a fully digital instrument cluster that was designed to be reminiscent of high-end chronographs. Drivers can customize the look of the display.

Pricing for the model has yet to be released, but is expected to be a premium on the current Bentayga starting MSRP of around $166,000.

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