Bentley Bentayga road front 3/4
  • Image Credit: Bentley
Bentley Bentayga front 3/4
  • Image Credit: Bentley
Bentley Bentayga road rear 3/4
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Bentley Bentayga rear 3/4
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Bentley Bentayga off-road front 3/4
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Bentley Bentayga off-road rear 3/4
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Bentley Bentayga front 3/4 static
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Bentley Bentayga tail lamp light
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Bentley Bentayga cargo
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Bentley Bentayga interior light
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Bentley Bentayga interior dark
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Bentley Bentayga interior rear seats
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Bentley Bentayga ignition switch
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Bentley Bentayga W12 engine
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The Bentley Bentayga is launching a new era of ultra high-end sport utility vehicles that will see luxury makers vie for the world's richest and most exclusive customers.

The Bentayga is Bentley's first SUV, and it will formally debut next week at the Frankfurt Motor Show. It's loaded with Bentley's best technology and features, led by a 600-horsepower W12 engine. The mission is simple: stop giving up sales to other companies by not having an SUV in its portfolio.

"It creates an entirely new category of ultra-luxury SUV, where there are currently few rivals," IHS Automotive analyst Ian Fletcher said in a report.

But Bentley and the Bentayga will soon face stiff competition. Archrival Rolls-Royce will produce its own crossover to be built in England, though timing is unclear. Lamborghini has approved plans for a ute that will be assembled in Italy and launch in 2018. Even the sportier British brands are getting into the market. Aston Martin will make a crossover version of the DBX concept shown earlier this year in Geneva, and Jaguar is launching the F-Pace crossover, which will debut in Frankfurt.

These new entries will invigorate a segment that's comprised of the Mercedes G63 AMG and the Land Rover Range Rover SV Autobiography, and Bentley is poised to grab a large share of it, Fletcher noted. IHS forecasts Bentayga sales could hit 3,000 units per year in 2017 and 2018, pushing total Bentley sales to more than 10,000 in the next few years. The vehicle will also get plug-in hybrid and diesel variants to widen its reach.

The Bentayga is a sales grab, for sure, but Bentley took care to ensure the SUV remained true to the brand. It's laden with the top-shelf wood, leather, and metal, and it comes standard with an expansive panoramic glass roof. It also has intelligent features like electronic night vision and an optional responsive off-road system that can be configured to adapt to eight different settings. It's a different kind of Bentley, but it's a harbinger of things to come for the world's richest luxury makers.

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