Contrary to reports made by most other motoring websites, Bentley is well underway in developing a SUV for the prestige market. Though management at Bentley headquarters in Crewe, England, still adamantly deny production of such a vehicle, we’re still hearing whispers that the vehicle is coming.
Not developing this vehicle would be a huge mistake for Bentley. Currently, there’s only one true prestige SUV in the form of the Range Rover, and Land Rover can’t build them fast enough to meet demand. Just look at the success Porsche is having with its Cayenne, which is having such strong sales despite being one of the less attractive cars on the market.
The Volkswagen Group doesn’t have to worry about sales of a new Bentley SUV cannibalizing its other SUV models because the Bentley brand sits in a league above them; even the Cayenne. Further, cost of development can be minimized due to parts sharing opportunities across the group.
Most likely adopting the Cross Continental moniker, the new SUV will combine exhilarating performance with serious comfort. Although based on the same platform as the Cayenne and Touareg, Bentley’s SUV will be significantly larger than the German vehicles. Performance will be taken care of thanks to the W12 engine from the Continental GT, which is good for 560hp. The transmission is expected to be a 6-sp auto with tiptronic paddle shifters and it’ll be a constant four-wheel drive.
Don’t be surprised if the Bentley Cross Continental makes an appearance at next years’ Frankfurt Auto Show, with sales to start sometime in 2008.