Bentley will broaden its range with a fifth showroom model by the end of the decade, which will be built at the firm’s Crewe UK headquarters, take the firm in a fresh direction and guarantee long-term sales growth.

Speaking at the Geneva motor show, Bentley Sales and Marketing boss Kevin Rose told Autocar that the car was planned for 2019 at the earliest, after the launch of the Bentley SUV and next-generation Continental GT and Flying Spur. “It’s hard to be certain what the market will demand that far into the future,” Rose said. “At the moment, our line of thinking is for a smaller car. But smaller doesn’t necessarily mean cheaper.”

“The twin pillars of the Bentley brand are performance and luxuriousness,” Rose went on. “Any car that offers something unique, with both of those bases well covered, is on the table. But we would never try to copy a Ferrari or a Porsche.”

A cheaper entry-level Bentley, undercutting the current Continental GT without straying below the £100,000 marker, is being considered, as is something even more expensive than the current Mulsanne, potentially giving the firm a £300,000 alternative to a Rolls-Royce Phantom. But the former would have much greater sales potential.

“The most important thing for us is to do something genuinely new within our market niche,” said Rose.