2011 Bentley Continental GT live photosEnlarge Photo
Rolls-Royce recently introduced its newest model, the Ghost, to wide acclaim, despite it being the smallest and least expensive model currently offered by the hyperlux manufacturer. Bentley could easily have followed suit--but it doesn't look like it's going to.
Instead, Bentley is eyeing a vehicle more closely priced to its existing lineup, the Mulsanne, Brooklands, and several Continental variants, which spans the range of about $230,000 to $375,000 in its home country. But that vehicle might just be an SUV.
An SUV would differentiate the marque from Rolls-Royce considerably, and with the Cayenne platform in the corporate family via the VW Group, it makes sense, too. It makes even more sense when you consider the Range Rover sits essentially alone as the most luxurious, expensive, and capable off-roader available--yes, the Porsche Cayenne and BMW's X5/X6 get close on occasion, but neither offers the Range Rover's over-the-top off-road worthiness with the same grade of luxury, instead focusing more on paved-road performance.
Ironically, or perhaps appropriately, the last time Bentley made an SUV, called the Dominator--a special-order run of just six vehicles for the Sultan of Brunei--it was based on none other than the Range Rover. A new Bentley SUV would come full circle.
There are other options on the table, however, including a car targeted at the all-wheel drive touring capability of the Ferrari FF, if not so highly focused on performance. As for a time line on the third Bentley entry, that remains unknown, though we wouldn't expect to see it before 2013.