Development of Bentley's forthcoming utility vehicle is almost complete, and the British automaker has painted a vivid picture of what to expect: otherworldly luxurious, a range of powertrains including a twelve-pot and a hybrid, and a price tag that is sure to eclipse any other SUV or crossover on the market. One of the biggest questions still remaining, however, is what Bentley will call the thing, but we might have our answer right here.
Bentley keeps itself busy and on our minds with ever-faster versions of the Continental family and even, most recently, of the Mulsanne. While a new coupe is said to be around the corner, the biggest project Crewe has going on at the moment is its new SUV. And this is our clearest look at it yet.
Bentley has a whole mess of new models in the pipeline, including a completely new coupe, two-door and high-performance versions of the Mulsanne and an even more hard-core version of the Continental GT3-R. But the most vital product under development at Crewe is its upcoming new SUV, and that's what our spy photographers have caught undergoing testing.
It's been over two years since Bentley unveiled its first SUV concept at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show. In the time since, Bentley has sent it back to the drawing board and started development, embodied just a couple of weeks ago as a test mule wearing the bodywork of an Audi Q7, the replacement for which will share its underpinnings with the new Bentley. But what we have here is our best look yet at the forthcoming big Bentley.
The 200 MPH Club was once populated entirely by exotic sports cars. These days it has expanded to include convertibles, sedans and even station wagons. But an SUV? Unthinkable, what with their aerodynamic profile approaching that of a barn door. Bentley, however, is out to change that with its forthcoming new sport ute.
Bentley insists that customers responded positively, but journalists weren't particularly enamored with the EXP 9 F concept when it was unveiled two years ago at the Geneva Motor Show. And so it went back to the drawing board, honing the design to make it more pleasing to the eye.
Bentley is not exactly a company known for its environmental credentials. Sure, it recently cut its water usage down by over a third, and given the relatively small number of vehicles it produces, the British firm's overall impact on the environment may be negligible compared to mass-market rivals. And of course, its affluent customers are hardly likely to feel the pinch of rising fuel costs, so Bentley's idea of engine downsizing has been going from twelve cylinders to eight.
The eventual arrival of Bentley's upcoming SUV in 2016 will likely prove the most pivotal new product to come from Crewe since the debut of the Continental GT in 2003. And Bentley isn't messing around.
It looks like the addition of a Royal Baby isn't the only big news coming out of the UK this week. Bentley has ended all of the will they/won't they speculation by confirming today that it will produce an SUV, and released a sketch of the luxo SUV as shown above. Earmarked to go on sale in 2016, the as-yet unnamed Bentley SUV will help create an extra 1,000 jobs in the UK.
The "will they, won't they" saga over Bentley's SUV plans appears to finally be over. They will. That's according to the German business newspaper Handelsblatt, which is reporting that the controversial SUV will be built after receiving the go-ahead from Volkswagen's board.