For Bentley, sales expansion plans dictated a need for a third model line. Currently, the brand has two main model lines: Continental and Mulsanne. Continental encompasses the GT coupe, GTC convertible and Flying Spur sedan.
Those three Continental variants make up the majority of Bentley sales, and have been responsible for powering growth since the GT’s 2003 debut. What’s next for the brand is an SUV, confirmed by the EXP 9 F Concept at the Geneva Motor Show.
Before the SUV was decided on, rumors flew around about different options being considered at Bentley. They included a new sports car, as well as a “four-door coupe” sedan a la Aston Martin Rapide.
Bentley Chief Executive Officer Wolfgang Durheimer basically confirmed this to Motor Trend, saying three models were in contention to get produced. Included is an SUV, sports car and he didn’t provide any details on the third model. Apparently, Bentley designers really wanted to do a sports car. According to Durheimer,, the idea was nixed due to competition with the Porsche 911 Turbo.
“In the end the SUV was a better idea. It sits above all its competition. The sports car would have had the Porsche 911 Turbo as opposition” says Durheimer. If you’ll remember, Durheimer was the R&D head at Porsche until he joined Bentley last year. We don’t think competition with the 911 has much to do with the decision, as we doubt there would be much cross-shopping between the two.
Further adding credence to this is that he doesn’t rule out adding the sports car in the future. A future Bentley lineup with four or five models isn’t out of the question. In the end, the decision likely came down to the SUV offering the most sales potential, as well as being nearly unopposed in terms of competition. Now all they need to do is figure out how to get the styling right…..