An entry-level Bentley smaller than the Continental GT is being investigated as one of several options that could make production as a fifth model line for the firm after the upcoming SUV is launched in 2016.
Company chief Wolfgang Durheimer revealed at the Paris motor show that he has "a small group of core people investigating the next big idea. We have some quite nice arrows in our bag and are deciding which to shoot".
He said the firm was at full engineering capacity and did not want to distract Bentley staff from launching the SUV, hence the reason the project is in the background at the moment.
But Durheimer added that the firm will immediately turn its attention to the new model once the SUV is engineered: "I want to keep momentum when the engineering ramps down from the SUV.
"A smaller car is a very powerful idea in parallel to the Continental and is one of our areas of search. There is also room for derivatives of models we have; the Mulsanne could get brothers and sisters, the Continental also. I also look at competitors and see that an SUV opens up more ideas."
Sales and marketing chief Kevin Rose said a smaller Bentley wouldn't harm the brand's luxurious standing: "A bigger risk is the car not being a true Bentley regardless of size or price. The point is we want to keep going. We can't go back or stand still and that means more models. There are plenty of ideas."
Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below: