According to Automotive News, engineers and designers in Crewe are currently laying the groundwork for a crossover that would blend the tall form of the Bentayga with the roofline of the Speed 6. The result would be similar in form, we'd imagine, to the likes of the BMW X6 and Mercedes GLE Coupe, only even further upscale. We wouldn't be surprised to see more changes than the roofline and tail section, either, with a sportier front end and more avant-garde headlights (like those we saw on the Speed 6 concept) giving it a sportier, less stodgy appearance all around – and maybe, just maybe, a different nameplate.
CEO Wolfgang Dürheimer wants to get the fastbacked Bentayga variant ready by 2018 or 2019 – right around the time that Rolls-Royce, Aston Martin, Maserati, and Lamborghini will be rolling out their debut crossovers. By that time, Bentley will have already have had the Bentayga on the market for two or three years, and wants to be ready to fight off the onslaught with something fresh.
"Imagine the EXP 10 as an SUV. It doesn't look 'old Bentley, Dürheimer told AN. "The Bentayga doesn't stop us from dreaming and looking down the road. The more success we have with it, the more we can take the best of it and run with it."
Proceeding with the project will require Dürheimer to get approval from the Volkswagen Group head office in Wolfsburg, but the business case seems like a slam dunk. The model would help Bentley (and VW) further capitalize on the $1 billion it already spent developing the Bentayga, following a successful business model laid out by rival BMW and which Germany's other automakers are quickly learning to emulate.
This wouldn't be the first time he'd be seeking approval from Matthias Müller on such a project, either. Dürheimer successfully ushered the Cayenne into production when he was head of R&D at Porsche and Müller was the brand's CEO. That project turned Porsche's fortunes around and turned it into the cash cow it is today, and with Dürheimer now head of Bentley (as well as Bugatti) and Müller now in the big chair at Volkswagen, it isn't hard to imagine the same conversation taking place – and the same decision being reached. Sporty crossovers are turning into big business for Europe's most upscale automakers, and Bentley has already taken an early lead that it won't want to give up without a fight.