2011 Bentley Continental GT

2011 Bentley Continental GT

Bentley. Dakar. For generations those two names have stood at opposite ends of the automotive spectrum. One is synonymous with comfort and luxury that few get to see. The other equates to dirty, gritty off-roading that appeals to a somewhat different element.

These two may soon merge, though, as Bentley is reportedly considering entry in the off-road endurance race.

Bentley chief Wolfgang Durheimer has already admitted that Bentley is working on its first SUV. But building a cushy, ultra-premium SUV is a long way from fielding a team in an off-road rally race on some of the world's least hospitable terrain.

According to Autoblog Spain, a slot for Bentley will open up with the defection of Volkswagen. Though it's had a successful history in the race, Volkswagen is bringing its resume to the World Rally Championship, and rumors indicate it won't make a return to Dakar as a result.

So Bentley could snag VW's place and compete with sibling brands Audi and Porsche in the iconic race, though Lamborghini, another Volkswagen brand with a possible SUV on the horizon, seems like a more natural choice, especially when we allow visions of the LM002 to dance around in our heads.

While the production Bentley SUV may be far from a hardcore, off-road machine, it will pack plenty of power. Bentley has confirmed that its SUV will be one of the only models on the market to have a gas-powered twelve cylinder engine.