Bentley lines up for new model offensive
Bentley may be a brand renowned for its conservative values, but even the historic British marque can't ignore the allure of having an SUV in its lineup. This is only the start of the company's model offensive though, as several other new vehicles are in the pipeline, along with updates for Bentley's core models, reports Automobile Mag.
With luxury car sales rocketing and the number of Bentleys sold in the UK jumping from 692 for the first half of last year to 943 this year, the time to act is now. Consequently, the company is planning a new 4x4 model, along with a new four-door coupe and an entry-level model, to tap into moneyed customers' desire to drive a premium machine.
The new off-roader, which should arrive in 2016, will become Bentley's first SUV, with the company planning to build more than 3,000 examples. The brand has already shown a concept car at the Geneva Motor Show previewing what the new model could look like.
This new SUV us expected to share a platform with the next Porsche Cayenne which will be supplied by VW from Slovakia with final assembly happening in the UK. Bentley has referred to its new model as "the world's most powerful and luxurious SUV". Helping to achieve this, the 4x4 is likely to be available with a 6.0-litre W12 powerhouse, along with several 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 engines.
Other new Bentley projects include reviving the Azure convertible along with the Brooklands coupe. However, Bentley CEO, Wolfgang Durheimer, said: "A fifth car line is my top priority. Right now, we're looking at two options. One is a two-seater sports car below the Continental GT, the other is a new model positioned between the Flying Spur and the Mulsanne." A 2+2 version of the next-generation Porsche Panamera is also a possibility, though this could turn out to be a larger coupe version of the Flying Spur.
The entry-level sports car would go up against the Aston Martin Vantage, with a front-mounted V8 motor sending power to the rear wheels. A coupe is definitely on the cards, though a roadster version is also likely, as are hardcore all-wheel-drive GT3 and rear-wheel-drive GTR3 versions.
Existing Bentley models will also be replaced over the next five years, with a Mulsanne update in 2016, an all-new and significantly lighter Continental GT in early 2017 along with a new GTC for 2018 and Flying Spur arriving in 2019.