Bentley Continental Supersports Convertible ISR and Derek Bell, New York Auto Show, April 2011
With the Volkswagen Group's umbrella sheltering Audi and Porsche as well as Bentley, it a hyper-lux SUV might seem like a natural progression of platform sharing. The rumors that have circulated for the last five years or more have certainly indicated it's a possibility, but today it looks like Bentley's CEO may have come clean with plans to do exactly that.
According to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, Bentley chief Wolfgang Duerheimer admitted in an interview that Bentley is planning a competitor to the Land Rover, and, curiously, the Porsche Cayenne. It seems to our eye that a Bentley SUV would be priced well above either, at the pinnacle of the market. The decision to aim closer to the $100,000-mark could indicate a desire to increase Bentley's overall sales volume while mainting its stratospheric reputation in the sedan and coupe market.
Previous reports indicate the SUV could arrive at some point after 2013, and it would most likely be based on the same platform, though with unique modifications, as the Porsche Cayenne. Building an SUV to compete with the Cayenne from Cayenne underpinnings seems an odd strategy from the VW Group, but perhaps the Bentley would strike a different segment of the market and complement, rather than compete directly with, the Porsche.
Bentley has previously built just one SUV: the Dominator, based on a Land Rover, in a limited run of six vehicles for the Sultan of Brunei.
We'll keep our ears to the ground as the story develops.