Bentley’s new boss Wolfgang Durheimer is very much involved in a design and engineering project that will culminate in the launch of a super-luxury SUV by 2014.
At Crewe, design chief Dirk van Braeckel and engineering boss Uli Eichhorn are working on the project with Durheimer, who prides himself for making the launch of the Porsche Cayenne possible when he worked at Weissach. Durheimer said that he thinks the SUV market “is here to stay.”
Bentley’s trademark styling will be used in the £150,000 SUV. It features a luxury wood and leather interior that will place it higher than the Range Rover when it comes to perceived quality. It’s somewhat of a coincidence that the market launch may overlap with that of Aston Martin’s Lagonda 4x4.
What platform this new SUV will use hasn’t been decided yet but it’s likely that it will use a version of VW Group’s new MLB modular underpinning for its in-line mounted engines and may share some parts with the next-gen Audi Q7.
Notably, when Durheimer was still with Porsche, he was a prominent figure in the early platform engineering of the MLB. Durheimer, who has been supporting Bentley, has adopted a diesel for the first time.
It’s possible that this new SUV will receive a version of the immense Audi V12 TDi. Durheimer estimated that 1000Nm (738lb ft) is the appropriate torque figure for the grand and luxurious SUV, a figure that would guarantee a flawless performance similar to that of the Bentley’s saloons and coupes. In the places where diesels are not very popular, a W12 petrol would also be offered.