We won’t see the new Bemtley Bentayga in production form until the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, or be able to buy one until early 2016, but Bentley is already dropping hints that a smaller SUV derivative is on the way.
Speaking exclusively with Auto Express at the Shanghai Motor Show, Bentley CEO Wolfgang Durheimer said: “We are a fairly small company and can’t have too many balls in the air at the same time. I think the balls in the air are very well defined right now – it’s a fifth model line that’s very well defined here (with the EXP 10 Speed 6 concept) and it’s further SUV derivatives – they are our main two search criteria.”
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When we pushed him on whether “further SUV derivatives” meant different shapes or different versions, and whether Bentley could have a smaller version of Bentayga, he replied “yes”.
That Durheimer is interested in a smaller SUV shouldn’t really come as a surprise, the segment for Audi Q5, Jaguar F-Pace and Porsche Macan-sized SUVs is the fastest growing division of a booming global SUV segment. And while customers looking for something sporty are well catered for, there’s a gap in the market for an SUV that’s compact and luxurious.
While the Bentayga will be based on the same MLB architecture as the new Audi Q7, it’s believed that this smaller SUV, and the Speed 6, could both be based on a new rear and four-wheel drive lightweight MSB platform. Currently under development for the new 2016 Porsche Panamera and the 2017 Bentley Continental GT, building either of these models would help spread the development costs of the new platform.
Either way, it’s clear that Bentley has some touch choices to make. The EXP 10 Speed 6 concept has been universally well-received and if chosen to be Bentley’s fifth model line would do wonders for the high-performance DNA of the brand. However, the volumes in a second SUV are significantly higher.
With the Bentayga, the plan is to sell 3,000 to 4,000 SUVs a year, which would make the new model a crucial part of Bentley’s aim to boost annual sales from 8,510 last year to 15,000 cars by 2018. A second SUV could easily push that figure to over 20,000 by 2020.
Find out everything we know now about the new Bentley Bentayga SUV…