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Bentley CEO Says SUV Decision Coming Soon, Redesign Planned

 
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Bentley EXP 9 F Concept live photos, 2012 Geneva Motor Show

Though there have been reports that preparations for the production of Bentley’s new SUV based on the EXP 9 F concept are already underway, the automaker’s CEO Wolfgang Schreiber has now revealed that the decision on the SUV is yet to be made, though it’s close.

Schreiber has also revealed that the styling of any SUV launched by Bentley will be closer to the tasteful lines of its existing models, rather than the polarizing look of the EXP 9 F.

“The main intention was not to show the final styling but to get feedback from the market," Schreiber explained during an interview with Automotive News (subscription required).

An updated concept is expected to be revealed soon, while the production version, if approved, should be on sale within the next three years.

This relatively short gestation period is due to the Bentley SUV sharing a platform with the next-generation Audi Q7. This platform will also be used for future versions of the Porsche Cayenne and Volkswagen Touareg. 

As for engines, Schreiber said Bentley’s new twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 will likely be standard, with the twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter W-12 remaining an option. This range-topping engine is expected to be updated soon for improved performance and efficiency.

As previously confirmed by Bentley, a plug-in hybrid option may also feature on its SUV. Based on the Volkswagen Group’s next-generation hybrid technology, the plug-in hybrid system likely employed in Bentley’s SUV will feature a V-6 engine and offer an electric-only driving range of 18 miles and 0-60 acceleration in less than 5 seconds.

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