Short clip highlights how the Crewe manufacturer's forthcoming sports-utility vehicle will look ahead of its planned launch in 2016

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. 

Our Verdict

Bentley Continental GT

Full of character and still able to impress, particularly as a V8

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Comments
5

27 May 2014
The grill looks more GMC and Chevrolet Suburban than Bentley. The only SUVs I ever liked are the LaForza, the Gen 3 Range Rover, the Discovery, the first Generation X5 and the first generation Infinity FX. All others are ugly as hell, X6s and Cayennes included.

27 May 2014
Surely now just trying to live-up to Ettore Bugatti's well known remark.

 

I'm a disillusioned former Citroëniste.

27 May 2014
I always liked the "non frantic" (so it was called) wheel design of Rolls-Royces and Bentleys. Having more than six spokes, the wheels always look like they are moving with less effort.
Now some Rolls wheels have five spokes, Most Bentleys' and now this truck (oops, CUV). Because five spokes mean "sport" i guess.
Me, nitpicking? naaaah

27 May 2014
I love the look of the Flying Spur, the Continental is fine but the Mulsanne has a hideous front end. I'm not feeling especially hopeful about the Bentley SUV but I'll reserve judgement until I see it properly. They might surprise me!

28 May 2014
I get it that it has to "look" like a Bentley and that means the mesh grille. However, the rest of the front fascia including the headlamps should try to be jewelry and not an afterthought. Being an arm of VW they will certainly make this pig fly at 200 MPH which is good because at that speed no one on the outside will have to look at it too long.

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