Bentley Grille

Bentley Grille

It’s hard to believe that just a couple of years ago Bentley was worried about too many sales diluting its brand image, with sales numbers edging past the 10,000 mark. Fast forward to today and Bentley will be lucky to reach anything above the 6,000 mark.

This has got Bentley managers to think outside the box. One option would be to expand the lineup with new models and the latest reports indicate that a new shooting brake and a crossover could be in the works.

Importantly, the new models would be entry-level to the Bentley brand, somewhere around the $110,000 to $130,000 bracket. They would also weigh less than 5,000 pounds and feature V-8 powertrains.

The shooting brake is essentially a two-door hatchback with seating for four and a very sporty profile. This will be joined by five-seat crossover model designed along the lines of the Audi Allroad.

The likely engine option will be a 4.5-liter V-8 tuned for torque. A plug-in hybrid is a potential future option, too.

Codenamed New Compact Bentley (NCB), the project is closely related to sister brand Audi and its development of the aluminum-intensive Audi A6 and A7. Production of the new Bentleys are expected to start in 2014 and up to 7,500 units could be produced annually.