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Bentley names its SUV ‘Bentayga’

Well, we’ve got a name: ladies and gentlemen, the upcoming Bentley SUV will be called the Bentayga.

If you’ve never heard the name Bentayga, it comes from ‘Roque Bentayga’, a rugged peak in the Canary Islands. And, come 2016, we suspect you’ll have heard it a great many more times.

That’s because Bentley is targeting 2016 as the Bentayga’s on-sale date, following a full worldwide debut at some point later this year.

Wolfgang Dürheimer, Bentley chief, said of the upcoming ‘sector-defining’ SUV: “Bentayga is a name that reflects what we know our SUV will do better than any other car in the world - combine the best automotive luxury with outstanding performance to take the Bentley experience to new environments.”

And now that the Bentley Bentayga name is out there, CEO Duerheimer has been opening up to Top Gear about what the car is and what it will do.

For the first year or more it will sell exclusively as a W12. “We want to mark the peak of the SUV segment,” says Duerheimer. “It will be the fastest, the most powerful, the most exclusive.” As to that “fastest” claim, he must have seen that in-house rival Porsche has just announced a 176mph Cayenne Turbo S.

After that, he speaks of a V8 diesel and a plug-in hybrid. The diesel is the existing VW Group engine, albeit calibrated for Bentley use.

I mention the, er, tricky reception given to the looks of the EXP 9 F concept that preceded the production Bentayga (picture two, above). “We were able to optimise the front of the vehicle to meet the requirements of people who didn’t fall in love at the beginning,” he acknowledges carefully. But he insists the sides and rear of the concept were fine. So we can assume they won’t change much.

And everyone loved the concept’s cabin. Does it carry across to the Bentayga? “It’s very close to the concept. And it has Bentleyness in the craftsmanship. Even blindfolded, people will tell that it’s a Bentley.” Although the bodies will come to Crewe from the joint Group SUV factory in Slovakia, they will be painted and trimmed in Crewe. The body uses some aluminium to save weight.

On the subject of the Group SUVs (the new Audi Q7 unveiled on the same day is the first of them), how different is the Bentayga? “It’s about tuning a car that already has very good genetics.” Apart from the entire design and cabin, he lists the powertrain and driving position. Plus, among other things, the setup of the different modes (road, sport, gravel, snow), and the suspension tune. “In this segment, I want the smoothest run over sleeping policemen.” Air suspension will be standard.

Bentley also released a new video of the Bentayga steaming over sand dunes (above). Duerheimer acknowledges that not many buyers will actually go off-road, but he insists the car will be great at that job anyway. The clip might be frustratingly arty and non-specific, but Duerheimer says emphatically, “The engine sound isn’t disguised.”

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