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Bentley SUV will look ‘completely different’

Bentley’s SUV will land in 2016 with ‘completely different’ looks to 2012’s EXP 9 F concept (pictured), company bosses today revealed.

Bentley chairman and CEO confirmed Wolfgang Schreiber confirmed that, following a less-than-positive reaction to the EXP’s styling, the big SUV’s design has been heavily revised for production.

“We listened a lot, and we listened enough. The exterior design was not liked by everyone,” said Schreiber. “We got the message, and we’ve reacted on that. We’ve modified the styling of the car completely.”

When asked which elements had been changed, Schreiber replied: “All. Front, rear, sides, roof… it is a true Bentley. Everyone will see, even 100 metres away, that it’s a Bentley.”

Schreiber confirmed that the as-yet-unnamed SUV will be the first Bentley to get a hybrid powertrain - likely a plug-in - and will compete with ‘the top end of Range Rover’. The recently announced long-wheelbase Range Rover Autobiography Black costs around £140,000, which should give you some idea where Bentley is pitching its five-seat behemoth.

However, Schreiber says the SUV - expected to shift ‘at least’ 3000 units each year - could find its own niche in the market. “We believe we can really create a new segment,” he said. “The pure luxury SUV.”

And it seems the EXP 9 F’s controversial styling didn’t deter potential buyers. “We had 2000 pre-orders [after the 2012 Geneva concept unveil],” revealed Schreiber. “Two thousand people who had no idea about the final design or the price, and said, ‘I’ll have one’.”

Schreiber confirmed 2013 was the best year in Bentley’s 95-year history, the Crewe marque delivering 10,120 cars, up 19 per cent year on year. Bentley says it sells more cars costing above 150,000 Euro (£124,000) than any other manufacturer in the world.

But there’s more to come. With the SUV boosting sales, Bentley predicts it will shift 15,000 a year by 2018, and will hire an extra 400 workers in Crewe to meet projected demand.

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