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More new Bentley SUV models on the way already

By raccars Published

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The Bentayga has yet to hit forecourts but so assured is Bentley of its success that the firm is already planning to expand its SUV range with two new models.

The first SUV from British luxury car maker Bentley, the Bentayga, is due to be released in March next year after years of development. Bentley has already surpassed its predicted pre-orders expectation, even given the £160,000 starting price for the SUV. The firm is promising that this will be the fastest, most powerful and most luxurious SUV in the world and will launch a whole new market sector of super SUVs.

Upping the ante

However it seems that Bentley is already planning to take this idea even further, with rumours of a sportier, sleeker, coupe styled variant of the Bentayga now in circulation. The radical looking vehicle will apparently be even faster than the Bentayga and is due to be introduced to the public next year, possibly at March's Geneva Motor Show.

It's hard to pinpoint specific market rivals - the BMW X6M is arguably the closest natural competitor. Bentley claims that the new model will prioritise driving dynamics over off-roading ability, with correspondingly sporty styling. Presumably a sloping, coupe-esque roof line will result in reduced load capacity and maybe less headroom, but this doesn't seem to have put buyers off the BMW X6.

Bolder, beefier and more aerodynamic styling is likely to be accompanied by the Bentayga's 6.0 litre W12 under the bonnet, tuned to squeeze out a few extra horsepower. The Bentayga already boasts a 0-62mph time of four seconds, and Bentley plans to improve upon this, meaning the new model could also reach a top speed of 200mph.

New baby Bentley SUV

The second new SUV variant to be derived from the Bentayga is a compact model which Bentley believes could help boost its sales to 15,000 units annually by 2018, and even 20,000 a couple of years later, compared to 8,510 in 2014. The firm plans to sell about 3,000 - 4,000 Bentaygas every year, and Bentley believes that a compact variant is capable of selling in similar numbers.

Statements by the CEO of Bentley, Wolfgang Durheimer, suggest that Bentley sees further expansion into the lucrative SUV market as essential to its ambitious growth plans. Manufacturers including Audi, Porsche and Jaguar have seen enormous demand for their compact SUV models in the form of the Q5, Macan and F-Pace respectively. Bentley hopes to fill what it sees as a gap in the market for an ultra-luxurious version of these.

The firm is likely to seek to defray some of its development costs by utilising the VW Group's new MSB lightweight platform for rear and four wheel drive models, in the same way that the Bentayga shares the new Audi Q7's MLB architecture. The new 2017 Bentley Continental and a new Porsche Panamera, due next year, are both being developed with the MSB architecture, which could also underpin the Speed 6.

However a baby Bentayga will be planned around larger production volumes than these and is expected to be Bentley's highest priority after the original SUV and its sportier derivative.

Along with a couple of new engine variants for the Bentayga in the form of a turbodiesel sourced from the VW Group and a hybrid petrol electric model to complement the original W12, industry rumour is also pointing to a possible new electric hypercar from Bentley, based around the EXP 10 Speed 6 concept within the next year. It's going to be a very busy 2016 in Crewe!

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