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Bentley aims to sell 3K SUVs annually... including plug-in hybrid version

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  • Bentley aims to sell 3K SUVs annually... including plug-in hybrid version

    If you want a top-of-the-line SUV with serious performance capabilities, look no further than the Volkswagen Group. Its Porsche unit has had tremendous success with the Cayenne, a vehicle that has doubled its sales all on its own and that's not even accounting for the Volkswagen Touareg or Audi Q7 that share some of its underpinnings. Keen to capitalize on that success, the German auto giant is overseeing the application of the same formula to two of its other divisions: Lamborghini, which just unveiled its new Urus concept, and Bentley, which is working on an SUV of its own.

    The British marque has been showcasing the EXP 9 F concept to preview what it has in store. It only hinted at powertrain possibilities upon its unveiling at the Geneva Motor Show, but at the Beijing Motor Show, it got ever so slightly more specific. Like the Continental range, the production version of the Bentley sport-ute would pack a 600-horsepower, 6.0-liter twin-turbo W12, but offer the (relatively) more sensible 500hp, 4.0L twin-turbo V8 as well. The bigger news, however, is the V6 plug-in hybrid option which Bentley is planning for its SUV, enabling it to travel up to 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) on electric-only mode, while rocketing to 100 km/h (62 mph) in less than five seconds.

    Bentley projects the variety of powertrain options will help it sell 3,000 units of the vehicle once it enters production in 2015 the same figures sister-company Lamborghini is projecting for the Urus. To put that into context, consider that Bentley sold just over 7,000 vehicles (from its current Continental and Mulsanne lines) around the world last year. That's still a far cry from the number of Cayennes that Porsche churns out it delivered nearly 13,000 of them in the United States alone last year but then the EXP 9 F is expected to carry a price tag north of $200,000 (double the price of even the most expensive Cayenne Turbo) while sharing common components to make its first entrance into SUV market a lucrative one for the Flying B brand.

    Scope out the fresh high-resolution images we've added to the gallery above for another look at the EXP 9 F (which is still expected to look different by the time it comes to production), and scroll down for the press release containing powertrain information.