Bentley's first ever SUV will go on sale in 2016, powered by a 6.0-litre twin-turbocharged W12 engine capable of giving the SUV a top speed of 200mph

Bentley's first ever SUV has started performance testing at the Nürburgring ahead of its planned launch in 2016. This latest test mule also loses some of the camouflage which has thus far kept much of the SUV's styling details hidden.

Already spotted testing on mountain roads and in the UK, the Bentley SUV is set to cost from around £140,000 when it goes on sale - placing it high above luxury rivals like the Range Rover. Company boss Wolfgang Dürheimer has previously said the model's price would start where other high-end SUVs finish.

Company officials have already revealed the car's styling has been finalised, with Bentley design boss Luc Donckerwolke saying it bears no relation to the original EXP 9 F concept car.

Compared to previous test mules, this development model sports less camouflage, meaning its large front grille, air intakes and muscular flanks can be seen more clearly. The air intakes and large grille will be key in keeping the SUV's 6.0-litre twin-turbocharged W12 engine cool.

Traditional Bentley oval headlights feature at the front, but at the rear stickers appear to have been used to mask the true shape of the SUV's tail lights.

It's no surprise to see the Bentley SUV tackling the Nürburgring as part of its development. Despite not going on sale for another two years, performance will be key to Bentley's marketing for the new model. Company officials have already targeted a top speed of 200mph for the car.

One of the major engineering jobs on the new Bentley will be evaluating aerodynamic performance, engine cooling and tyre longevity at 200mph. The air suspension, for example, will have to be controlled electrically to lower itself automatically as speed increases.

Previous mules have already revealed parts of the new car's interior, which features a large digital dashboard similar to that seen on the new Audi TT. As well as the main digital instrument display, a large central infotainment screen should also be offered running bespoke navigation software.

The SUV should help to push Bentley's overall sales volume beyond the current 15,000 models per year. Dürheimer has also previously said Bentley has plans for two new model lines following the launch of the SUV, which include a new entry-level model to sit below the Continental GT. 

Among the big rivals for the Bentley's 4x4 will be Rolls-Royce's new SUV, which is planned to launch a year later in 2017. Set to cost more than £200,000, the model has been described as "a kind of Mercedes GLK-plus plus" by insiders, and will be aimed at the kind of successful, young entrepreneurs found in the growing Chinese market.

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Comments
34

23 May 2014
Derr... it looks like an Audi Q7 because it is an Audi Q7. Surely you're not going to let the VW publicity machine convince you this is anything other than a Q7 re-skin with an engine swop, a brake kit and a suspension tune?

8 October 2014
What a horrible looking vehicle. Haven't they got any designers at place, they have just taken bits and pieces from various previous segments and ditched here to make a SUV. Please update the design !!!!. Yes cost saving and commonising parts are necessary but this design is un-digestible.

8 October 2014
I didn't know they were testing buses at the 'Ring now.

 

I'm a disillusioned former Citroëniste.

11 June 2014
pauld101 wrote:
Derr... it looks like an Audi Q7 because it is an Audi Q7. Surely you're not going to let the VW publicity machine convince you this is anything other than a Q7 re-skin with an engine swop, a brake kit and a suspension tune?
...so a different car then...

You've got to tie yourself to the Mast my Friend, then the Storm will end.

8 October 2014
Sure this is not the next generation London Taxi from LTI Carbodies? It really looks like a black cab.

23 May 2014
The biggest benefactor of the Bentley SUV launch will be Range Rover. Now the top spec RRs cost well over £100k and there seems to be a demand for it. Soon the launch of Bentley & Rolls Royce SUVs will push this SUV price ceiling to well over £200k. This will just give JLR a whole new segment in the £100-200k bracket to play with. They already do premium SUVs very well and would easily come up with a highly desirable product with chunky margins.

8 October 2014
And the photo didn't help. But then read the details. A bi-turbo V12 SUV capable of 200mph??? That is ruddy hilarious! Want one!

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I'm The Ωmega Man, always talking to myself

23 May 2014
shortbread wrote:
The biggest benefactor of the Bentley SUV launch will be Range Rover. Now the top spec RRs cost well over £100k and there seems to be a demand for it. Soon the launch of Bentley & Rolls Royce SUVs will push this SUV price ceiling to well over £200k. This will just give JLR a whole new segment in the £100-200k bracket to play with. They already do premium SUVs very well and would easily come up with a highly desirable product with chunky margins.
Yup. Which is ridiculous. The RR is in no way a £100k car. Its a 60-80 at best. Compare the quality to a GL and its pretty embarrassing. The engineering of a GL and I imagine a Q7 (not driven one) is a different league. The R&D budget of Mercedes and Audi is multiple times that of RR and it really shows in the top end cars. If this "Bentdi" is like the Huracan but for SUVs it will outclass the RR in everyway. Question is how many non footballers would pay double the current RR price?

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23 May 2014
Baggsson wrote:
shortbread wrote:
The biggest benefactor of the Bentley SUV launch will be Range Rover. Now the top spec RRs cost well over £100k and there seems to be a demand for it. Soon the launch of Bentley & Rolls Royce SUVs will push this SUV price ceiling to well over £200k. This will just give JLR a whole new segment in the £100-200k bracket to play with. They already do premium SUVs very well and would easily come up with a highly desirable product with chunky margins.
Yup. Which is ridiculous. The RR is in no way a £100k car. Its a 60-80 at best. Compare the quality to a GL and its pretty embarrassing. The engineering of a GL and I imagine a Q7 (not driven one) is a different league. The R&D budget of Mercedes and Audi is multiple times that of RR and it really shows in the top end cars. If this "Bentdi" is like the Huracan but for SUVs it will outclass the RR in everyway. Question is how many non footballers would pay double the current RR price?
I have no idea what the development budgets are, but the q7 is nowhere close to the RR. I found the RR to be far more refined and rode a lot better as well. The interiors were also exquisite. Also its offroad prowess is well documented. I drove the q7 and while it is a very nice car its just a bigger Audi, albeit a heavy and not as taut handling one. Despite its discounts and more immediate delivery periods I have seen a lot fewer GLs (never driven one) both in UK and the S.E Asia (where I travel for work). The RR is very expensive and doesn't have the best reputation for reliability, but the short stint I had in it, its easily one of the most desirable cars I have ever driven.

11 June 2014
Baggsson wrote:
shortbread wrote:
The biggest benefactor of the Bentley SUV launch will be Range Rover. Now the top spec RRs cost well over £100k and there seems to be a demand for it. Soon the launch of Bentley & Rolls Royce SUVs will push this SUV price ceiling to well over £200k. This will just give JLR a whole new segment in the £100-200k bracket to play with. They already do premium SUVs very well and would easily come up with a highly desirable product with chunky margins.
Yup. Which is ridiculous. The RR is in no way a £100k car. Its a 60-80 at best. Compare the quality to a GL and its pretty embarrassing. The engineering of a GL and I imagine a Q7 (not driven one) is a different league. The R&D budget of Mercedes and Audi is multiple times that of RR and it really shows in the top end cars. If this "Bentdi" is like the Huracan but for SUVs it will outclass the RR in everyway. Question is how many non footballers would pay double the current RR price?
Don't get offended by this but I think you are talking cobblers when you say that the Range Rover is embarrassed by the GL in terms of quality. Of course, every one is entitled to their opinions but I cannot imagine that the quality of the RR lags behind any of the large luxury 4X4's. You speak as if you have driven the cars extensively for you to come out with that statement. Have you? As for the Bentley, I have to admit, I did not think they would go through with it. I honestly thought it was a styling exercise purely for car shows and to gauge public opinion

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