The Range Rover Autobiography is about to have some seriously upscale
SUV competition. Bentley has officially confirmed development of an SUV
model that will be built in Crewe and go on sale in 2016. A report from Automobile magazine
suggests the SUV may be called the Bentley Falcon. UPDATE: A Bentley
spokeswoman tells us that Falcon will not, in fact, be the SUV’s name.
The announcement ends years of “will they or won’t they” speculation
and, judging by the wild success of the Porsche Cayenne, should help
Bentley’s bottom line. More than 1000 jobs will be created, the
automaker says, and at least £800 million (about $1.2 billion U.S.)
invested in the Crewe headquarters. The Bentley EXP 9 F concept is shown below along with an official Bentley SUV sketch.
Bentley fans all around the world are looking forward to the brand’s
first SUV. Together we will make this new Bentley another true Bentley –
powerful, exclusive and successful,” said Martin Winterkorn, Volkswagen
That, of course, is the question: Will Bentley
fans accept the upcoming SUV as an authentic Bentley? Based on the
upcoming Audi Q7, the Bentley could use the Continental GT’s 500-hp
twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 with an eight-speed automatic, and the
6.0-liter W-12 may survive for use under the hood of the long-wheelbase
SUV, too. We hear that a plug-in hybrid variant may have been put on the
back burner, for now. Considering the Bentley Continental GT lineup
starts just under $200,000, expect the Bentley’s base price to be at
least that much, given how much of a premium many are willing to pay for
Bentley is not likely to be the only luxury automaker in the
super-luxury SUV segment: we’ve heard Land Rover is preparing a special,
high-end Range Rover while Automobile reports Mercedes-Benz remains interested in a more premium variant of the GL-Class SUV. And, of course, Lamborghini will soon join the SUV party, as well.
What do you think about the idea of Bentley making an SUV? Despite
the profit potential of a super-luxury SUV, should Bentley stick to
making coupes, sedans, and convertibles? Give us your thoughts in the
comments section below.