The Volkswagen Group is great about keeping the automotive press and fans up to date on what is going on behind the scenes. At Bentley, Chief Executive Officer Wolfgang Durheimer (who is also Bugatti’s CEO) confirmed in August that a new SUV is on its way. Both brands under Durheimer’s tutelage are set to expand into new market segments. To him, the logic for expanding the lineup is quite clear. Bentleys are about offering some of the best and most exclusive models out there, and why can’t that definition include an SUV? It can. They offer increased capabilities and space – something that isn’t inconsistent with Bentley’s brand values.
What it must be, however, is the best SUV out there. One of the ways it will do that is by being the only current manufacturer to offer a 12-cylinder gasoline engine in a production SUV. It won’t be the first to offer one ever though, as Lamborghini’s LM002 takes that title. The particular unit in question would be the VW’s Group’s W12 unit, which enables efficient packaging.
The VW Group has vast experience in high-end products combined under one roof; if anyone can make a truly premium SUV they can. Autocar reports that Rolf Frech, who worked on the Porsche Cayenne, has been moved over to Bentley to work on the project. The new Bentley will share components with another SUV, likely to be the Audi Q7 given Bentley’s heritage. It will be big, imposing and spacious – just like Bentley cars. The unnamed SUV will be unique much in the way the Continentals are now versus other VW products: “the systems architecture will be Bentley. The command position, the packaging, design and suspension of the car will be typically Bentley” says Durheimer.
Model runs at Bentley a long time: from six to eight years (the Continental GT had a run from 2003 to 2011), so the SUV will be timed at a lull in Bentley’s product cycle. That should place it somewhere around 2014 or 2015. Durheimer has no doubt about success for the new SUV, given the sales history of other luxury SUVs. If we were the kind to bet, we’d definitely place ours on it being a smashing success.