The idea of a Bentley SUV didn’t seem all that popular with automotive journalists, following the unveiling of the questionably-styled EXP 9 F concept at the 2012 Geneva motor show, but even the people who are most familiar with the scene cannot in complete accuracy predict which models will sell and which won’t.
However, this time the tepid opinions of the journalists came in contrast with reality as Bentley confirmed that it will proceed with the development of the SUV, which will reach showrooms across the world in 2016.
That reality has it boasting 2,000 advance orders, and reportedly, two plants were in view for production: one in the UK (Crewe), and one in Slovakia (Bratislava), with Bentley opting for the former.
It’s definitely saying something, considering its not-yet-finalized styling (which will thankfully be different to that of the concept) and other important details that need to be solved, one of which is the preservation of the Bentley character in this unusual type of vehicle for the brand, but not for parent brand VW, where most of the SUV-building know-how will be coming from.
Now that they’ve officially announced the model is coming, and we will probably be inundated with teasers, spy shots and speculation the closer we get to the 2016 deadline.
The decision to build it has been made in the proper place, the Crewe factory, where it will bring about the creation of 1,000 new jobs, through an in investment in excess of $1.23 billion (£800/€931 million). It seems to please everybody, even the company’s chairman, Dr. Wolfgang Schreiber.
"This is excellent news for Bentley and for the UK. Bentley is increasingly successful and this new fourth model line will leverage the success of the global SUV market," said Schreiber in a statement. "The support of everyone involved with the Company has been fundamental to this decision, which will ensure sustainable growth for the company."
Regarding the actual vehicle, as usual, not a lot is revealed, but what they are saying is that it will be “a thoroughbred Bentley true to the brand hallmarks of luxury, performance, quality and craftsmanship. The styling will set it apart from any other SUV on the road and will be true to the Bentley design DNA. It will be the most luxurious and most powerful SUV in the market.”
By Andrei Nedelea