Bentley believes its upcoming SUV, confirmed to go on sale in 2016, will create a new class in the segment and have Range Rover-matching off-road capability.
Speaking to industry journal Automotive News Europe at last week's Frankfurt motor show, Bentley global head of sales and marketing Kevin Rose said its upcoming model "will be the world's most expensive and luxurious SUV".
Reportedly set to cost around 180,000 euros ($257,000), the Bentley, in Europe, will be priced higher than the flagship supercharged V8-powered Range Rover Autobiography.
To be offered in four-, five- and seven-seat configurations, Rose admits, "There is not a lot of evidence that a lot of customers will go for the seven."
Openly targeting the Range Rover – Rose says nearly 30 per cent of Bentley customers own one – the Volkswagen-owned British brand is confident its high-riding luxury SUV "will be as capable off-road as the Range Rover".
"This really is an SUV,” Rose said.
“In the Middle East it has to go up and down sand dunes, and in Europe it has to be able to tow stuff in the wet field."
Rose said Bentley expects the US to make up a third of its SUV’s yearly sales, targeted at 3000 to 4000 units annually.
Earlier this year, Bentley confirmed it would build the SUV – previewed by the 2012 Bentley EXP 9F concept pictured – at its Crewe headquarters in England ahead of landing in very expensive driveways from 2016.