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.
The new Bentley Bentayga reveals an advanced design combined with cutting-edge manufacturing technologies, like using lightweight aluminum, and innovative engineering. This has resulted in a weight versus the usual body construction by 236 kilograms. The front section shows the grille being bordered by four unique floating headlamps, all of which use purely LED.
These lights are positioned on the same level within the superformed and seamless aluminum front fenders. Helping put focus on the amount of attention paid to the detail are different innovative design features.
A good example of this is the discreet headlamp washers that have been placed with the body-colored center of the outer lamp. Being a Bentley, the Bentayga has a panoramic glass roof fitted as standard. The glass has an area of 1.35 square meters and make up 60% of the entire roof surface. Further, the glass has been divided into two different panes with the front panel being able to slide and tilt.
The whole glass surface though can be hidden using a full-length roller blind that is electronically controlled. On either side of this glass roof, one can see roof rails that are made of aluminum. There is the bright anodized top section with the base in high-gloss black. The wheel arches of the new Bentayga, along with the bonnet and the fenders, are able to offer an exceptional balance between SUV presence and athleticism.
Meanwhile a combination of the muscular haunch display on the rear and the ultra-sharp Bentley power line gives the side profile that tight tension. It also displays this region as the automotive industry’s single-piece and largest aluminum pressing.
A number of signature features Bentley is known for can be seen in the new Bentayga like the B-shaped wing vents and the large matrix grille. This gives this new model a dynamic and more contemporary elegance. In order to highlight the fact that the Bentayga has that go-anywhere quality, the design team at Bentley made sure that on the front bumper’s lower section, a stylish skid plate would be integrated to it.
This is just under the floating wing motif. On the rear section and within the model’s segmented tail lights, there is the B-shaped illumination graphic. It allows this new model to have an excellent night-time signature which is also immediately recognizable. Fitted to the new Bentayga is a wide range of bespoke alloy wheels measuring between 20 inches and 22 inches.