Bentley has gone to great lengths to ensure the final design of the Bentayga, its first-ever utility vehicle, remains under wraps until the beginning of the Frankfurt Motor Show. The company almost succeeded — Frankfurt opens its doors in a little over a month, but low-resolution pictures of a 1/18-scale model taken in China have thwarted its efforts.
The model depicted in the pictures appears to be officially licensed by Bentley so it gives us a good idea of what we can expect from the full-size Bentayga. While the controversial EXP 9 F concept featured a design inspired by the Mulsanne, the production model gets a much sportier-looking front end that is characterized by four oval headlights and a big grille with mesh inserts. All told, the Bentayga’s front end is markedly inspired by the Flying Spur and the Continental GT.
A healthy dose of chrome accents adds a premium touch to the overall look, while a panoramic roof gives the passengers a scenic view of the outside world. Out back, the Bentayga’s muscular haunches and rectangular tail lamps create yet another visual link with the Continental GT.
At launch, the Bentayga will exclusively be offered with a brand new 6.0-liter W12 engine rated at 600 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and about 663 lb-ft. of torque from 1,500 to 4,500 rpm in its most basic state of tune. Designed by parent company Volkswagen, the W12 will also be available in other Bentley models, in a handful of Audis, and in the next-gen Volkswagen Phaeton.
Later on in the production run, Bentley is expected to offer the off-roader with a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 engine and its first-ever gasoline-electric plug-in hybrid drivetrain.
A full reveal is scheduled in the coming weeks, and we’ll see the Bentley Bentayga in the metal for the first time on September 15th. It is scheduled to go on sale early next year as a 2017 model with a base price of over $200,000, a figure that will make it one of the most expensive SUVs on the planet.