Bentley’s got a difficult decision to make: should its next addition to the lineup be a sports car or a small SUV?

The answer to that question would seem to be obvious, especially with the 2015 Bentley EXP10 Speed 6 Concept already generating a lot of excitement. In spite of that, however, the company is also considering the business case for a small SUV to slot into the lineup below the upcoming 2016 Bentley Bentayga.

These plans are fairly far out; we’re talking about vehicles that won’t go into production until 2020 or 2021. Bentley doesn’t anticipate being able to produce both vehicles, as the company’s development budget can only be stretched so far. And while a sports coupe would be in keeping with Bentley’s legend, a compact SUV might boost the bottom line and enable future gentlemen’s sports cars bearing the winged B.

In an interview with Autocar, Wolfgang Durheimer, Bentley’s CEO, said, "We can’t do both those cars at the same time, because Bentley is still a small company and our resources are very stretched. We are doing the studies for both those models and then we will decide on the fifth model."

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Why it matters

A car based on the EXP10 Speed 6 Concept would be intended to compete with the Ferrari F12, in the $280,000 neighborhood. Overlap with the Continental coupe is expected to be minimal, thanks to the much different characters of the two cars. "We have asked our customers and they have said about the Speed 6 ‘just build it!’" Durheimer said, adding that some customers even suggested they’d buy one of each.

On the other hand, a clean-sheet smaller SUV would be likely to come in as a larger-volume vehicle, at a low (for Bentley, anyway) price. Its fortunes could depend on the success of the Bentayga, which goes on sale next year. If Bentley’s SUV manages even a fraction of the success of the Porsche Cayenne and Macan, the proposed SUV might bump the EXP10 Speed 6 Concept-based coupe from the running. The good news for proponents of a sports coupe is that the increased capital might help Bentley to eventually produce a new sports car as well.

With the decision so far out, it could go either way. What do you think Bentley should do?

2015 Bentley EXP10 Speed 6 concept

2015 Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6 High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Source: AutoCar

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