Wolfgang Durheimer’s first tenure as CEO of Bentley and Bugatti gave rise to discussions of a possible Bentley SUV. Now that he’s back with the luxury automaker after a stint as the research and development head of Audi, Durheimer is once again thinking brand expansion for Bentley. The first model on his list? The long-awaited Bentley SUV.

Automobile Mag is reporting that Bentley plans to build at least 3,000 units of the new SUV in 2016. The model, tentatively called the Falcon, is poised to have a shared platform with the next Porsche Cayenne. Meanwhile, the body of the SUV will come from Volkswagen, with assembly happening in the UK. The SUV is also reportedly set to get different engine options, including a 4.0-liter, twin-turbo V-8 that will combine with a plug-in hybrid system to produce 500 horsepower and deliver a 30-mile, electric-only range. Also on the docket is a turbo-diesel variant that has 408 horsepower. A 6.0-liter, W-12 engine with a 48-volt electrical system is also reportedly being planned, as well as a 5.0-liter, V-10 turbo-diesel that churns out 544 horsepower and 737 pound-feet of torque.

As far as the design of the SUV goes, Durheimer (thankfully!) said that it won’t be similar to the much-maligned EXP 9 F Concept that the company showcased at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show. According to the CEO, the production version of the SUV will have a different front and rear section, although the company will retain the “rear haunch line, the classic grille, the Bentley headlamp theme, and the proportions.”

Click past the jump to read more about the Bentley SUV.

Why It Matters

The Bentley Falcon has been talked about and discussed for so long it’s becoming increasingly difficult to say when the SUV is coming out. But with Durheimer’s return to the fold as Bentley’s CEO, that picture could become a lot clearer sooner than later.

Hopefully, there’s more than a grain of truth to reports of the SUV’s arrival in 2016.

Bentley SUV

2017 Bentley Bentayga Exterior Spyshots
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Bentley is going to build an SUV; that’s a certainty at this point. But other than that important detail, the British automaker has done a great job keeping details about the model under wraps. It’s been caught numerous times testing on public roads recently, which suggests that Bentley’s working hard on working out the bugs before production.

Power is tipped to come in a multitude of engines, including twin-turbocharged V-8 and V-10 engines, as well as a massive W-12 engine that could turn the SUV into the most powerful of its kind.

There’s still no word on how much the Bentley SUV is going to retail once it’s out. Given the company’s reputation as one of the most luxurious auto brands in the world, we’re expecting the Bentley SUV to become one of the most expensive SUVs in the world.

Maybe somewhere in the range of $180,000 to $200,000? Those aren’t far-fetched numbers, right? Hopefully, it’ll fall somewhere under $200,000, as it might be difficult to justify an SUV that costs a fifth-of-a-million dollars.

Source: Automobilemag

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