HEADED FOR GENEVA: The new Bentley Bentayga SUV could make its debut at the 2015 Geneva auto show in March. Image: Automedia
Bentley’s first SUV, called the Bentayga, has been spotted undergoing testing.
Set to debut later in 2015, Bentley’s says the wagon will be "sector-defining SUV" that will combine "modern British luxury with off-road performance".
Spy images reveal that the Bentayga has a Continental-inspired front with a prominent grille flanked by circular headlights. We can also expect front fender vents, a spoiler and a dual exhausts.
Its exterior styling won't win everybody over, especially considering its the first SUV by the luxury automaker and will rankle many purists as was the case with the Porsche Cayenne.
Inside, it will use a digital instrument cluster and circular air vents protruding from dashboard. Expect premium leather upholstery, wood trim and metallic accents.
IMAGE GALLERY: 2015 Bentley Bentayga
Bentley CEO Wolfgang Durheimer said: “Bentayga is a name that reflects what we know our SUV will do better than any other car in the world – combine the best automotive luxury with outstanding performance to take the Bentley experience to new environments.”
Duerheimer said the automaker's new SUV would be unveiled in 2015, possibly at the 2015 Geneva auto show in March.
WHAT’S IN A NAME
The natural world, along with the company’s founder, inspired its name. Crowning the northern hemisphere, to the north of Bentley’s birthplace in England, is the taiga, the world’s largest trans-continental snow forest.
To the south, the rugged peak of the Roque Bentayga in the sub-tropical Canary Islands also provides inspiration for Bentley's SUV moniker.
More than 4000 potential buyers have already expressed interest in the SUV without having seen it, Bentley said, leading sales chief Kevin Rose to forecast 3000 SUVs a year "could be conservative".
First deliveries of the new car will be made in 2016.
Bentley has been relatively quiet about specifications but the car will ride on parent VW Group's MLB Evo platform (to underpin the next Audi Q7 and VW Touareg as well) and is expected to be offered with a twin-turbo, four-litre, V8 and, possibly, the automaker’s six-litre W12.
The luxury brand has also confirmed plans for a plug-in hybrid variant in 2017. Bentley reports that 4000 SUV units are expected to roll off the production line at its factory in Crewe, England.