Currently reading: New Bentley SUV and sports car confirmed in expansion plans
Bentley has two all-new models in development as it seeks to double sales: an SUV to sit below the Bentayga and a sports car to rival Aston Martin

Bentley has confirmed it is working on two new models to follow the Bentayga 4x4 as part of a relentless drive that will more than double its already booming sales to around 25,000 cars a year

The cars are a more compact SUV priced around £120,000, and several production versions of its recently shown EXP10 Speed Six 'Aston chaser' concept - now tipped to include a 200mph, four-wheel-drive battery electric model.

Bentley's new small SUV, sized between Porsche's Cayenne and Macan SUV models, will be the first of the new models to show. In showrooms in about three years, it will use a high proportion of Bentayga chassis and running gear, which means a high-performance model could conceivably be powered by the Bentayga's new 6.0-litre, 600bhp W12, as well as the V8, diesel and hybrid powertrains Bentley also has up its sleeve. "It'll be a matter of plug and play," said Durheimer.

The model, for which a name has not yet been found, will introduce an even more modern styling direction for Bentley, while keeping an easy-to-see relationship with the existing cars. It has yet to receive the go-ahead from VW's top management, though engineering director Rolf Frech said the project has already reached the design and initial engineering stage.

CEO Durheimer is justifiably confident that his bosses, who are already impressed with the money-generating power of Bentayga, will see the logic of a smaller, slightly cheaper and extremely fast SUV built using a high proportion of Bentayga parts.

The new SUV, which Bentley believes will attract a type of younger buyer the company has never seen before, will take precedence over the new sports car, which had been thought to be the next in line. The new, small soft-roader is likely to be shown at least in concept form late in 2017, and should send Bentley's total annual volume beyond 18,000 when it hits the market about a year later.

The EXP10 Speed Six concept, also awaiting final approval, received such wholehearted approval from potential customers when first shown at Geneva last March that Durheimer expects production versions to resemble the concept closely in styling and major dimensions. No launch date has been given, but the model won't go on sale until the small SUV has been completed, so a date around 2020 is probable.

The most common version is likely to be powered by Bentley's Audi-related petrol V8, but newly announced headline-grabber is a twin-motor, four-wheel-drive, all-electric model with 400 to 500bhp on tap and its electric motors driving through three-stepped automatic gearboxes to give a top speed around 200mph, with huge acceleration and a range of 500km (about 300miles).

Engineers hope new developments in battery technology will allow weight to be restricted to 2000kg, not so much more than a conventionally powered Aston Martin. "We believe battery technology are reaching a point of where such vehicles are making sense," says Durheimer. "And the performance will be stunning."

Back to top

The developments were revealed in Spain by Bentley's chairman and CEO, Wolfgang Durheimer, at an early driving event for the full-size Bentayga SUV, production of which begins at Crewe in a fortnight's time for deliveries early next year.

The two new cars will bring unprecedented expansion to Crewe: Durheimer has already created 1000 new jobs inside Bentley and, with surrounding suppliers, has embarked on a three-year, £840m spending programme. During yesterday's announcement he claimed the famous Pym's Lane works as the first outpost of the government's much-vaunted "northern powerhouse".

Bentayga booms even before launch

Volume predictions for Bentley's soon-to-launch Bentayga flagship SUV have already been revised upward, from 3600 units a year to 5500, as a result of strong forward orders, said chairman and CEO Wolfgang Durheimer.

"We are very pleased with the reception the model has had," says Durheimer, "especially since our estimates are based only on W12 sales and we have the V8, diesel and V6 hybrid models to launch. It is easy to imagine the Bentayga accounting for 50% of all Bentley sales in a relatively short time."

During 2015 China has slipped from its position as Bentley's biggest market, the CEO said, leaving the US market once again as Bentley's strongest. Second biggest is Europe, buoyed by especially strong demand from the UK, and China is now third.

But Durheimer believed flagging Chinese demand is already showing signs of turning, and Bentayga will be further boosted boosted by growing demand from countries such as Russia, Africa and the Middle East, where its all-road ability will be especially valued.

Steve Cropley

Steve Cropley Autocar
Title: Editor-in-chief

Steve Cropley is the oldest of Autocar’s editorial team, or the most experienced if you want to be polite about it. He joined over 30 years ago, and has driven many cars and interviewed many people in half a century in the business. 

Cropley, who regards himself as the magazine’s “long stop”, has seen many changes since Autocar was a print-only affair, but claims that in such a fast moving environment he has little appetite for looking back. 

He has been surprised and delighted by the generous reception afforded the My Week In Cars podcast he makes with long suffering colleague Matt Prior, and calls it the most enjoyable part of his working week.

Join the debate

Add a comment…
Moparman 17 November 2015

And Bentley and their former partner...

As it was mentioned Rolls Royce and Bentley did not go segment chasing but both have subsequently been sold on. I remember reading a back issue of Car from 1983 and in it there was one article that said that Rolls Royce and Bentley could only stay independent for about 15 more years. Fast forward to 1998 and I can only someone on your staff had some crystal balls!
Moparman 17 November 2015


I meant Autocar not Car.
Moparman wrote:

As it was mentioned Rolls Royce and Bentley did not go segment chasing but both have subsequently been sold on. I remember reading a back issue of Car from 1983 and in it there was one article that said that Rolls Royce and Bentley could only stay independent for about 15 more years. Fast forward to 1998 and I can only someone on your staff had some crystal balls!

wmb 17 November 2015

This makes no sense???

Sure, financially, this will definitely line the pockets of VW Groups coffers, but isn't Bentley suppose to be a small company so that they can give their costumers the best and remain exclusive?!? Yes they and their former partner could have entered into every market segment and offered expensive version of what was currently on the road. They purposely, though, chose not to and remained focus on the vehicles they have done so well. VW Groups ownership is only proving they that they want their 'Gold Goose' to lay as many gold eggs as she can! What makes even less sense to me is that, while they want to get as much as they can out of Bentley, VW is satisfied with Bugatti only producing ONE vehicle??? This makes no sense!
pauld101 17 November 2015

It's plug and play...

Yep, plug in the Volkswagen bits and play at pretending it's a Bentley...