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A Bentley hybrid SUV? Don’t look so shocked; it’s coming in 2017

A Bentley plug-in hybrid? I know it sounds weird, but apparently it’s going to happen. Though the hybrid won’t be out for its 2015 debut, Bentley has confirmed that its new 4×4 will feature a plug-in hybrid drivetrain by 2017.

This marks the beginning of an effort by Bentley to eventually produce hybrid versions of all of its cars. For the time being though, as Bentley Chairman Wolfgang Schreiber explained to Auto Express: ” The SUV will be the first Bentley hybrid because it’s based on a new platform with new technology. You need space for batteries and the technology, so we probably won’t do that for existing models. We will see hybrid versions of all of our cars, though.”

While Schreiber, wily executive that he is, would not confirm that the new SUV would be getting a plug-in system, though he strongly hinted that it would. I would be shocked if that weren’t the case, given that by 2017 I expect most hybrids sold to have a plug-in capacity.

Schreiber also took the time to dispel earlier rumors that he SUV would be built in Slovakia, stating that it would be built in Crewe, England. 

It is good to see Bentley pushing the design in such a forward thinking direction. Especially after the first concept they debuted was widely panned for its styling.

As Schreiber said “We learnt a lot from that car. The exterior was not liked by everybody so we reacted and modified the design completely. It’s now a true Bentley.”

And with all of the resources of the massive VW group at its disposal; not to mention more than 200 preorders for a car that doesn’t exist yet, I suppose Bentley has some freedom to take risks.

While it remains to be seen just what it will produce, Bentley has all of the pieces to make quite simply the best luxury SUV on the market. Given that luxury buyers are increasingly turning to SUVs over the more traditional sedan, that is very good news for Bentley. 

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