Bentley plots EV SUV
Bentley is set to add two new SUVs to its line-up - and one is likely to be electric.
The British brand is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2019 and, while looking back on its storied history it is also focused on its future with plans to offer plug-in hybrid versions of its entire range by 2025.
Speaking to Drive on a recent visit to Australia that coincided with the launch of the new Continental GT Convertible at the Bathurst 12-Hour, Bentley’s board member for engineering, Dr. Werner Tietz, said the brand is preparing to unwrap a present to itself later this year.
“We still have something to show this year, another model,” Tietz said. “And we’ll have a special centenary car which shows what we see as our future.”
Pressed on the brands plans for electric vehicles, given the Volkswagen Group’s heavy investment in the technology, Tietz revealed a decision on Bentley’s future will be taken in 2019. He also confirmed it would be “a specific model” not simply a battery-powered version of an existing member of the range.
“There are a lot of electric platforms in the group that give us the opportunity to use parts and even whole platforms but it’s not yet decided which platform we use,” he said. “We have three or four different concepts and we will decide this year which one we will choose.”
While officially no decision has been made, Tietz appeared to indicate the most likely candidate for an electric powertrain is a new SUV that would sit underneath the current Bentayga. That could allow Bentley to utilise the same underpinnings as the upcoming Audi e-tron, which is a fully-electric SUV that sits alongside the Q7 in the German brand’s range.
“This will be a more urban car, not a small one… It will be a more open concept, it could be an SUV. It’s not decided,” he explained.
But Tietz added that a larger SUV is also likely due to customer demand, giving the British luxury brand a three-pronged SUV line-up and an uber-luxury off-roader to rival the Rolls-Royce Cullinan.
“First of all we have a request for a bigger version of the Bentayga and this could make sense for us,” he said. “So for the electric car we have enough room to make a smaller car, not small but smaller. Smaller than a large Bentayga.”