Vijay Pattni23 July 2013

Official: Bentley will build an SUV

Fourth model in Bentley line-up confirmed, built in Crewe, on sale in 2016…

Bentley has today confirmed it will build an SUV, adding a fourth model to its current line-up. For those of you who regularly read our Internet pages, this will come as little surprise.

This is because when the concept Bentley SUV - the EXP 9 F - premiered at the Geneva motor show last year, we told you all about it. And then you told us, in your droves, that you weren't so keen on the big 4x4's, erm, ‘controversial' styling.

Undeterred, Crewe has pressed on with the project, presumably because a Bentley-badged Cayenne rival is as cast-iron a cash cow as cash cows go. Bentley says the new as-yet unnamed SUV (hopefully not called EXP 9 F) will arrive in 2016, will be built in Crewe and create an extra 1,000 jobs in Blighty. All Good News.

Click here for pics of the Bentley EXP 9 F SUV concept

We haven't been given any meat to flesh out the big bones, other than Bentley's confirmation that the SUV will be a "thoroughbred true to the brand hallmarks of luxury, performance, quality and craftsmanship". The concept EXP 9 F, don't forget, packed a 600bhp W12 turbo, 23in wheels, TFT screens inside, and a wheelbase 200mm longer than the outgoing Range Rover. It was big, bad and luxurious.

As, as we may have mentioned, a trifle controversial in the looks department. Bentley will only tell us that the production SUV's styling "will set it apart from any other SUV on the road and will be true to the Bentley design DNA". Uh oh. We've only been given the sketch you see above, so time will tell.

Saying that, the response from potential customers has apparently been "extremely positive" since it premiered at Geneva. And remember that the Cayenne's tearaway success has allowed Porsche to keep pouring funds into its 911 project, so the likely success of a Bentley SUV shouldn't be to the detriment of its sportier offerings.

Dr Martin Winterkorn, VW Group chairman, said: "Bentley fans all around the world are looking forward to the brand's first SUV. Together we will make this new Bentley another true Bentley - powerful, exclusive and successful."

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