Leaks are notoriously difficult to plug in the motor industry these days, especially when there’s a big release around the corner. For manufacturers, it’s not so much a question of not letting the cat out of the bag but rather keeping the press hounds from sniffing their noses in it. Whether lurking in the background of an innocuous photo posted on twitter or spied piggybacking from factory to showroom on a car transporter, there are a million a one ways for a top secret new model to prematurely blow its cover. All the better for us of course!
With countless highly anticipated new releases scheduled for the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show, we and the rest of the keyboard-tapping petrol-head population have been keeping our eyes peeled for the sort of tell-tale sneaky snaps that big name manufacturers would rather you didn’t see. And we’ve struck gold!
A Chinese media outlet recently laid its hands on a very intriguing little gem in the shape of a 1:18 scale model of the upcoming 2016 Bentley Bentayga SUV. With Frankfurt on the horizon, Chinese toy manufacturers are often tasked with turning out the kind of miniature models that are presented to journalists, dealers and VIP guests at the big launch. On this occasion it appears that somebody in the factory has thrown their toys out of the pram, so to speak, with the result being that we now have a very accurate idea of what the production Bentayga will look like weeks before its official public debut.
The Bentayga story really began all the way back at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show when Bentley went against the grain by unveiling an outlandish and polarising SUV concept, the EXP 9 F. This hulking great 4X4 luxury dreadnaught may have had the critics divided but unquestionably represented a ‘no going back’ moment in the British marque’s quest to produce its first ever SUV model.
The leaked images intimate that Bentley designers have not downsized their ambitions and as expected the Bentayga will mirror fellow VW-based large SUVs such as the Audi Q7 and the Porsche Cayenne in terms of proportions. Of course, with a price tag anticipated to be north of £130,000 it’ll be super-luxury SUVs in the mould of the Range Rover SV Autobiography and Lamborghini’s upcoming Urus that provide the Bentayga with its main competition. Over-the-top styling cues have been toned down somewhat giving the Bentayga a more conventional Bentley appearance. The distinctive circular front headlamps are more sensibly proportioned although the huge Bentley front grille still dominates the nose of the car. A generous helping of chrome trim outlines the windows, door sills and rear bumper.
A quick reminder of just what all the fuss is about. The Bentley Bentayga will be available at launch with a choice of at least three engines of which the 521bhp 4.0 litre unit and the 385bhp 4.2 litre from Audi are both turbocharged V8s. However, it’s the 6.0 litre W12 that’s grabbing all the headlines as this 567bhp beast is set to make the Bentayga the fastest SUV on the planet.
Very much a case of the Bentley Boys and their toys. Well, it had to be said.