At the turn of the millennium, it would have been unthinkable to imagine a name with the rich motorsport heritage and DNA of Porsche even considering the possibility of launching an SUV model, let alone bringing it to production. Yet, fast forward a decade and a half and the car Porsche once said it would never make is not only a reality but no less than the German sports car maker’s best seller. Such has been the unbridled success of the Porsche Cayenne that in 2014 it even spawned a little brother, the compact Macan crossover, confirming the notion that the historic manufacturer has not only dipped its toes in the SUV pool but positively dived into it. Since then, the floodgates have well and truly opened, with several other luxury marques unveiling their own production-ready SUV models, including the Maserati Levante and the Lamborghini Urus.
At the 2015 Detroit Auto Show, yet another luxury name has signalled its intention to take the plunge. To those in the motoring world with their ears firmly pinned to the ground, the announcement from luxury British-based brand Bentley will come as little surprise. As early as the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, Bentley was openly publicising its dabbling in the SUV market when it unveiled the rather cryptically named EXP9F, a fully-fledged SUV concept. A year later, the luxury name confirmed plans to bring an SUV model to production by 2016 and those blueprints have now been set in stone with the official announcement of the new Bentley Bentayga luxury SUV.
Details are understandably thin on the ground at present. What we do know is that the name Bentayga is derived from a mountainous region in the Canary Islands in Spain. Its identity is for now shrouded in mystery, with a solitary teaser image and a short video (available below) of the Bentayga undergoing hot whether testing all we currently have to go on. Bentley’s first ever production SUV will most likely be based on Volkswagen’s Touareg platform, also shared by the Porsche Cayenne and the Audi Q7. Though the EXP9F concept featured a re-engineered version of Bentley’s existing 6.0-litre petrol W12 engine, a V8 diesel or V6 petrol would be much more likely propositions for the Bentayga.
A full reveal is pencilled in for late 2015, with sales expected to start in 2016.