Talk about a major about-face

As if being one of the fastest and most powerful SUVs in the market isn’t enough, Bentley is now considering giving its rivals even more reason to be worried about the Bentayga’s rising stock in the premium SUV segment. That or the company is simply looking to stay ahead of the curve as rival SUVs from Lamborghini and Rolls-Royce hit the market soon. Either way, the British luxury brand is looking at diversifying the Bentayga lineup by adding more variety to it with new variants that can bolster the company’s existing offerings.

Word of this development comes directly from the top of Bentley’s management chain as no less than CEO Wolfgang Durheimer told Autocar that derivatives of the Bentayga are important in ensuring that the company continues to offer a wide variety of models for its clientele ahead of the respective arrivals of the Lamborghini Urus and the Rolls-Royce Cullinan. Among the variants being discussed is a coupe SUV version of the Bentayga, which could position itself as a more premium alternative to the BMW X6 and the Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe. A more powerful GT3 R version is also reportedly being considered to beef up the company’s GT family that’s currently being occupied by the Continental. If these variants do get the green light, don’t expect them to hit the market anytime soon. A likely timetable would be 2022 before we see these new Bentayga variants.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

It’s a smart move for Bentley

At this point, we already know how competitive the SUV market can be. Bentley knows that maintaining the status quo as far as its Bentayga offerings could be a bad thing for the SUV, especially with the looming arrivals of the Lamborghini Urus and the Rolls-Royce Cullinan and the continued push of Porsche to diversify its own Cayenne SUV lineup.

The smart play here is to start thinking about diversifying the Bentayga while it’s still ahead of the curve. The prospect of seeing a coupe SUV version of the Bentayga shouldn’t come as a surprise to us too. Those variants, whether you like them or not, are popular items in the market in part because they provide customers the best of both coupe and SUV worlds. The same can be said for the Bentayga GT3 R, if it also gets the thumbs-up from Bentley exec. It may not have as big of a sales potential as a coupe SUV variant because of the likelihood of it becoming one of the most expensive versions of the Bentayga. But there’s still a market for the variant and as far as Bentley is concerned, that’s going to play a big part in determining its fate.

For now, though, interested Bentayga customers will have to settle for the 600-horsepower, $229,000 "base" version. A plug-in hybrid version is expected to arrive in 2018 to bolster the lineup. Only then will we likely know if a coupe SUV and/or a GT3 R variant of the Bentayga is in the cards. It’s a reasonable timetable that allows Bentley the opportunity to see how the Urus and Cullinan reshape the trends of the premium SUV market. If it becomes imperative for Bentley to expand its range in the face of stiff competition from Lamborghini and Rolls-Royce, having the plans for possible new variants in its back pocket is a good advantage to have over the competition.

I know a coupe SUV Bentley Bentayga is a bitter pill to swallow for purists of the British automaker, but times have changed and the buying preferences of customers have changed with it.

2017 Bentley Bentayga High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the Bentley Bentayga here.

Source: Autocar

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