The front-end styling of Bentley's SUV has changed considerably from the 2012 concept
Bentley wants its high-performance SUV to be capable of at least 200mph
Bentley's target is to sell 15,000 vehicles per annum by 2018
Bentley has 2000 advance orders for the SUV and is plotting a plug-in hybrid variant
The definitive styling of Bentley's new SUV has been showcased in a short video issued by the British manufacturer.
The short clip offers hints of how the exterior of the new model has taken shape. Bentley says the new SUV's body will show the "sculpted, contemporary and distinctive design… combined with the exquisite and meticulous detailing for which Bentley is renowned".
The Bentley SUV will go into production in 2016, with a range of engines – including a plug-in hybrid option for 2017 – being offered to customers.
It is understood that Bentley’s redesign of its EXP 9 F concept, which is being undertaken by new design chief Luc Donckerwolke, is driven by the desire for a 200mph top speed. This will help the SUV fit in with Bentley’s range of high-speed coupés and saloons.
The EXP 9 F, first seen at Geneva in 2012, has been in the production engineering phase for about 12 months, and a significant part of that process has been a fundamental redesign. “The concept got the idea out there, but we’ve been working on the real car and some things needed to change,” a source revealed.
With the 200mph top speed target in mind, Bentley has lowered the roofline, smoothed off the rear-end styling to create a more slippery shape and paid strong attention to the underbody aerodynamics.
The lower roofline will reduce the frontal area and compensate for the wide stance of the SUV, expected at a near two-metre overall width.
Bentley has also been juggling the requirements of mainly on-road luxury use with an ability to go off-road.
Because of the 200mph top speed target, the underbody has to be smooth and feature clever aerodynamics to ensure high-speed stability.
Attention to aerodynamic detail in the underbody is not usually a prerequisite in SUVs, where protection from rock damage and mud ingress are usually priorities. Additionally, it will be necessary to develop tyres which are capable of very high sustained speeds while also performing well off-road.