More Ultra-lux SUVs From Bentley? Don't Hold Your Breath

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
more ultra lux suvs from bentley dont hold your breath

It should come as no surprise to anyone that Bentley is not Chevrolet. The British luxury automaker’s executive suite does not spend its time searching for the thinnest sliver of white space in the brand’s lineup, eager to find a home for a new utility model.

Thus, the Bentayga — an SUV boasting questionable styling that debuted in 2016 — will continue on as the brand’s sole utility vehicle, its CEO says. For now, at least, Bentley has no interest in fleshing out its go-anywhere-in-style lineup.

Speaking to Down Under publication Car Sales, Bentley CEO Adrian Hallmark claims the Bentayga’s lofty sales and potential for additional variants makes talk of a new SUV — perhaps a smaller, cheaper offering — a pointless exercise.

“Direct answer? We are not looking at that,” Hallmark said at the marque’s 100th birthday bash in Crewe, England. “Is there an imminent, or very near, [Bentayga] coupe? No.”

Having said that, Hallmark admitted that the future could bring new models; however, no one’s working on it at the moment.

“Are we looking at it right now? No,” the CEO said. “Could we imagine doing different twists on SUVs in the future? Yes.”

Despite its soaring price (maybe because of it) and non pin-up styling, the Bentayga has been a huge hit for the reserved luxury brand. It’s the company’s best-selling model to date, Hallmark said, with Bentayga sales making up nearly half of Bentley’s volume.

With such a money maker on board, development dollars will flow to the breadwinner before Bentley looks in another direction. We’ve already seen the introduction of the potent Bentayga Speed, and a plug-in hybrid variant arrives on these shores later this year. There’s still untapped potential in the brand’s lone SUV, Hallmark said.

“We’ll improve it through technology. We haven’t even scratched the surface of its potential,” he said, adding that the brand’s recent profitability didn’t “happen by luck.”

[Images: Volkswagen Group]

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  • Conundrum Conundrum on Jul 29, 2019

    "adding that the brand’s recent profitability didn’t “happen by luck."” How recent is recent? Last month? This Hallmark fellow is supposed to be CEO but seems out of the loop based on that remark. Bentley has been losing money badly for several years. There have been several business articles on the matter recently, but without digging deep to find one because I couldn't care less about Bentley, here's an article from Jan 2019: $19K loss per vehicle. There won't be any super luxe vehicle from Bentley for some time for obvious reasons.

    • See 1 previous
    • Kyree Kyree on Jul 31, 2019

      @MBella There isn't an A8-based Bentley. The old (2004-2018/19) Continental GT and Flying Spur were related to the Volkswagen Phaeton on an over-engineered and expensive platform that utilized Audi's traditional longitude-FWD setup, but with rear-biased AWD. The new Continental GT and Flying Spur utilize the MSB platform, which is a traditional front-engine, RWD-based architecture designed by Porsche. As the cheapest (and only other) car on that platform is the Panamera, I wouldn't call it cheap, either. The Mulsanne is a unique effort, in the vein of the classic, pre-Volkswagen-era Bentleys. Though it is chock-full of Audi electronics, it's a unique car built completely in-house by Bentley, and it uses the heritage Bentley/Rolls-Royce L-Series V8 (in twin-turbo 6.75-liter form), which dates back to the 50s. Finally, this new Bentayga is on the MLB architecture. MLB was led by Audi and is the modern incarnation of their longitude-FWD layout, although again the Bentley gets a standard rear-biased AWD system that acts much like Quattro. MLB spans a wide number of products, most of them Audi and Porsche offerings, but the Bentayga has little in common with, say, an A4. It is, obviously, a closer relative to the new Touareg, Q7, Q8, Cayenne, and Cayenne Coupe.

  • OliverTwist78 OliverTwist78 on Jul 30, 2019

    I guess Bentley would rather allocate more funding and engineering work toward the Mulsanne replacement. The current Mulsanne is getting longer and longer in the tooth after ten years in production with minor cosmetic upgrades and small performance addition (Mulsanne Speed).

    • Kyree Kyree on Jul 31, 2019

      I'd be curious whether there's going to *be* a Mulsanne replacement. As I said in my above comment, the Mulsanne is a unique, hand-built offering by Bentley, and isn't like the other Bentley models that use corporate platforms and powertrains, and that are half-assembled in Germany. It must cost a *whole* lot of money to develop, and to make. But, the new wave of Bentleys is much nicer and more special than they ever were, most notably the 2020 Flying Spur. No more key fobs that look just like Volkswagens, and dated electronics. So, the question is whether Bentley can get away with having the Flying Spur as its sole luxury limo...or if it would piss off enough buyers by not replacing the bigger, more-traditional Mulsanne. What's more, the Mulsanne actually did get some noticeable front fascia surgery for the 2017 model year. And even though it's getting older, it's mainly in terms of the interior tech, which is Audi circa 2011 (since that's exactly where the electronics came from). So I'd expect a major interior refresh in another year or two to bring it more in line with the other Bentley cars.It wouldn't be dissimilar to the 2013 refresh the Rolls-Royce Phantom got, when previously it had been about the same as it had during its 2003 introduction. Still, I think the Mulsanne has a built-in expiration date, and that's the moment when Bentley is no longer able to get its heritage 6.75-liter twin-turbo V8 through the ever-more-stringent Euro emissions standards.

  • SCE to AUX I charge at home 99% of the time, on a Level 2 charger I installed myself in 2012 for my Leaf. My house is 1967, 150-Amp service, gas dryer and furnace; everything else is electric with no problems. I switched from gas HW to electric HW last year, when my 18-year-old tank finally failed.I charge at a for-pay station maybe a couple times a year.I don't travel more than an hour each way in my Ioniq 1 EV, so I don't deal much with public chargers. Despite a big electric rate increase this year, my car remains ridiculously cheap to operate.
  • ToolGuy 38:25 to 45:40 -- Let's all wait around for the stupid ugly helicopter. 😉The wheels and tires are cool, as in a) carbon fiber is a structural element not decoration and b) they have some sidewall.Also like the automatic fuel adjustment (gasoline vs. ethanol).(Anyone know why it's more powerful on E85? Huh? Huh?)
  • Ja-GTI So, seems like you have to own a house before you can own a BEV.
  • Kwik_Shift Good thing for fossil fuels to keep the EVs going.
  • Carlson Fan Meh, never cared for this car because I was never a big fan of the Gen 1 Camaro. The Gen 1 Firebird looked better inside and out and you could get it with the 400.The Gen 2 for my eyes was peak Camaro as far as styling w/those sexy split bumpers! They should have modeled the 6th Gen after that.