The Bentley Bentayga SUV is a radical departure for one of the most traditional companies in the car business, but don’t expect it to be a fluke.
SUV sales are likely to boost Bentley in the U.S., as well as in growing markets like China, India, and Russia.
Maybe that’s why, even though the Bentayga isn’t here yet, there are already indications of a second Bentley SUV. Engineering boss Rolf Frech said this is “a possibility” in a recent interview with Autocar.
No decision has been made on the Bentayga’s potential sequel, though if it does get built, the second Bentley SUV is not likely to just be a smaller version of the first one.
Frech said the design process might result in a “different kind of car.” He did not elaborate, but Autocar speculated that this could mean an SUV-coupe chimera in the vein of the BMW X6, Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe, or the upcoming Audi Q6.
The Q6 and related Q7 are expected to share the Volkswagen Group MLB platform with the Bentayga, but the smaller SUV would reportedly use the MSB platform earmarked for the next Continental GT and a possible production version of the EXP 10 Speed 6 concept.
The availability of the MSB platform is one of the reasons why Bentley bosses believe another SUV is a good idea. A second reason likely has to do with dollar signs.
Although the Bentayga won’t go on sale until next year, it’s already generating significant interest from customers. Bentley CEO Wolfgang Dürheimer recently said original projections of 3,000 sales per year for the SUV “could be conservative.”
He said Bentley has already received 4,000 serious “expressions of interest” from buyers. Dürheimer hopes to increase Bentley production to 20,000 units per year by 2020, so he’d better hope that interest doesn’t waver.
In addition to being the brand’s first SUV, the Bentayga is expected to be Bentley’s first production plug-in hybrid. It’s unclear whether it would offer a similar powertrain in a smaller SUV.
The Bentayga will be unveiled later this year, and that’s probably when we’ll get a better idea of whether Bentley will be pursuing a second SUV project.