Ultra-luxury brands beware, another one of your comrades is falling down the shame spiral and building a - gasp - SUV!
Sure that’s a little dramatic, but so are all of the people that are scoffing at the fact that Bentley has now confirmed a new SUV scheduled to hit their lineup sometime in 2015. If everyone remembers correctly, these are the same people that were horrified that Porsche decided to build the Cayenne and look how well that turned out for them.
Now, with a 37-percent increase in sales in 2011 (to 7,003 vehicles sold), Bentley is looking to double this number by the time this new SUV, rumored to have the name "Falcon" — comes out by making it "the world’s most luxurious 4x4" SUV and targeting growing SUV markets like the U.S. and China. The "luxurious" title will also match the price; rumors point to the starting price for this future SUV coming in at $271,000, making the $48,200 starting price of the Porsche Cayenne look like it belongs on a Kia Sportage .
So, what constitutes the jumbo price tag? Other than the supposedly tremendous amount of luxury built into the future SUV, rumors are swirling that a V-8 twin-turbocharged engine would be the standard powerplant and a W-12 engine is a possible option.
Bentley is taking a big step with its improving sales by giving an SUV a chance to flourish. Does the world need a strong competitor for the Porsche Cayenne? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean that high-end customers with deep pockets won’t be writing out checks for a chance to wallow in the luxurious nature promised by Bentley.
Updated 1/8/2014: During an interview with Auto Express, Bentley Chairman Dr. Wolfgang Schreiber confirmed that the upcoming Bentley SUV will be available as a hybrid model with a plug-in system similar to what we saw in the Panamera S E-Hybrid . Schrieber also confirmed that the standard SUV, which already has over 2,000 pre-orders, will arrive in 2015 as a 2016 model, and that the the hybrid will arrive a year after the standard Bentley SUV. (Auto Express)