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 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.
UPDATE 02/03/2013: Volkswagen Group has finally given the green light to the EXP 9 F super-luxury SUV unveiled at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show. The production version is internally known as the "Falcon" and is expected to be unveiled in the upcoming three years. The good news is that reports are pointing toward that the production version likely dropping the controversial design of the EXP 9F concept and will adopt a more conventional Bentley look. When put on sale in will be priced at about 200,000 euro - about $271,000 at the current exchange rates. Additionally, Bentley plans to sell about 5,000 units of its new SUV per year. (Automotive News)