Currently reading: Bentley plots flagship SUV to replace Mulsanne
CEO Adrian Hallmark sees 'gaps' within 'the SUV space', including for Bentayga derivatives

Bentley is set to replace its ageing Mulsanne saloon flagship with a new range-topping SUV, CEO Adrian Hallmark has hinted.

The new model could potentially sit at the top of an extended range of SUVs complementing the Bentley Bentayga, which has already transformed the firm’s sales volumes and accounted for 47% of Bentleys sold in 2019.

“Our ambition is to fill the Mulsanne price space,” said Hallmark. “It will not be a sports car, because we will not build sports cars. The clear indication is that luxury car buyers see SUVs as being far more attractive, and that is where we see the potential. I can definitely see gaps for more derivatives of Bentayga and other opportunities within the SUV space.”

Hallmark admitted that slipping sales meant there was no rational case for engineering a new saloon in the vein of the current Mulsanne.

“In the good old days, 20 years ago, when the Arnage was on the road with the Silver Seraph, the global four-door sales were about 1500 to 2000 a year combined,” he said. “Now they are less than 1000, and we’re more than 50% of that.

“The cost of developing those cars with the technology and requirements for emissions and crash means they are no less expensive to develop than a car you can sell 5000 of,” he said. “If we only see potential for 400 to 600 a year, it makes the business case extremely tough.”


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Mike Duff

Mike Duff
Title: Contributing editor

Mike has been writing about cars for more than 25 years, having defected from radio journalism to follow his passion. He has been a contributor to Autocar since 2004, and is a former editor of the Autocar website. 

Mike joined Autocar full-time in 2007, first as features editor before taking the reins at Being in charge of the video strategy at the time saw him create our long running “will it drift?” series. For which he apologies.

He specialises in adventurous drive stories, many in unlikely places. He once drove to Serbia to visit the Zastava factory, took a £1500 Mercedes W124 E-Class to Berlin to meet some of its taxi siblings and did Scotland’s North Coast 500 in a Porsche Boxster during a winter storm. He also seems to be a hypercar magnet, having driven such exotics as the Koenigsegg One:1, Lamborghini SCV12, Lotus Evija and Pagani Huayra R.

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Niesenbeck 7 April 2020

The worlds fastest lorry

I am surprised nobody has yet mentioned Bugatti! Both Ettores comment and the statement that Bentley won't make sports cars despite it's Le Mans history. Vag are experts at badge engineering but a Chiron with a Bentley badge might be a bridge too far.

Speedraser 7 April 2020

What a crying shame. It's a

What a crying shame. It's a sad reflection of the buying public, imo. I understand the business-decision aspect (if accurate), but will that many people really buy that many more of yet another even-more expensive SUV. But if people would buy something like this, why are they engineering these things to be off-road-capable? Does anyone who owns a Bentayga, or Cullinan, do any serious off-roading? I'd love to hear that many do, but does anyone? If no one does, but people want huge, tall, "tough" vehicles, making them truly capable off-road just makes them heavier (and more complex) than they need to be -- which is bad for every single aspect of on-road ability (including environmental issues). Which is where they're actually used. A flagship Bentley that's an SUV rather than an elegant sedan -- how very sad.

Pietro Cavolonero 7 April 2020

People dying needlessly is sad..

People CHOOSING to buy these cars is consumer CHOICE. Get back to your mung beans and hemp shirt Corbyn and leave the buying public to choose their own destiny

Speedraser 7 April 2020

Pietro, yes, people dying

Pietro, yes, people dying needlessly is sad. Good thing you told us -- otherwise we wouldn't have known.

jagdavey 7 April 2020

How very sad that Bentley sales are 47% SUV!!!!

How sad to hear that SUV's account for 47% of all Bentley sales. Obviously a new bigger Bentley SUV will be based on a VW group platform, & could even be made in one of their under-utilised German factories.........that way making VW a huge profit!!!

Pietro Cavolonero 7 April 2020

A business making a profit.. invest in future models. What a ridiculous concept. What's the alternative @jagdavey ?

Trabants for all, that's what. What's sad about 47% of their customers wanting the 4x4? If they stopped making it the sales fall by over half just to keep you happy and the company "pure". Do you own a Bentley per chance?