The single teaser image shows the new Bentley SUV poking its redesigned nose out from a cloud of sand – the desert background likely symbolic of the wealthy Arab region where the brand expects the new model to sell in big numbers.
The new front end appears far more conservative than the controversial Bentley EXP 9F concept (below) that first previewed the crossover model at the 2012 Geneva motor show.
Unlike the concept, the production version mirrors the Bentley Continental GT sports car’s twin-headlamp design, with larger circular lamps flanked by smaller raised round lights.
Bentley’s signature prominent, upright grille is broader on the production car, spanning more of the front end to take the place of the concept’s awkward vertical intakes.
Sand obscures most of the rest of the car, though it’s clear the front bumper has also been revised, featuring a reshaped central intake and almost certainly new circular fog lights.
The press release attached to the image reiterates the company’s plan to launch the all-new model in 2016, at which time Bentley Motors chairman and CEO Dr Wolfgang Schreiber says it will “create a completely new segment in the SUV market”.
Billed as the “most luxurious and powerful SUV” in the world, Bentley says it will live up to the brand’s hallmarks of “luxury, performance, quality and craftsmanship”.
Set to share its underpinnings with the new-generation Audi Q7 and Porsche Cayenne, Bentley’s SUV is tipped to be powered by a twin-turbocharged W12 engine producing in excess of 450kW.
The brand anticipates sales of at least 3000 SUVs every year after the new model begins rolling off the production line in Crewe, UK, in 2016.
The Bentley SUV forms part of the brand’s £800 million ($1.5 billion) investment in new model and facility development over the next three years.
The SUV will become the fourth model line in Bentley’s range, joining the Continental GT coupe and convertible, Flying Spur sedan, and Mulsanne limousine.