Bentley Motors today announced that it has received permission from parent company Volkswagen to begin making its first-ever SUV. First displayed at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, the SUV concept has polarized fans of the revered British marque, with most criticism being leveled at the design. However, there was also an equal number of enthusiastic responses from potential customers who wanted the badge and luxury of a Bentley in an off-road vehicle or crossover. Never mind the fact that most cars of its ilk – and that include the Lamborghini Urus and Maserati Levante – will never encounter dirt or mud in its lifetime. It also makes perfect business sense, judging by the staggering success of the Porsche Cayenne.
According to Bentley, the production SUV will look substantially different to the prototype from Geneva. The SUV will be in markets only in 2016 but that hasn’t deterred them from putting up a short video teaser for the fans.
In true teaser tradition, there’s little that we can discern from the video but it appears that the SUV will look very much like a traditional Bentley shot full of steroids and testosterone. There’s the gleaming Bentley grille, twin circular headlights, and dignified, swooping bodywork, but now it all sits tall above other plebeians like all other SUVs. And gone are those atrocious multi-spoked wheels that drew comparisons with wire-wheeled classics from the past. In their place are much more palatable five-spoked alloys.
Bentley Motors’ chief Wolfgang Schreiber famously stated at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show that this will be the first proper luxury SUV in the market. “If you look at the different SUVs on the market today, you don’t really see a luxury SUV, you see high options. Premium SUVs like Porsche or maybe Range Rover are there, but a real luxury SUV you can’t buy.” He also said that it will be the most luxurious and powerful SUV in the market when it is launched.