For all those people who wear worsted jackets with leather patches on the elbows, here is the ultimate vehicle for you. The most expensive SUV you can buy.
If you thought that the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S was the pinnacle, think again. Volkswagen AG are threatening to build a V12 soft-roader priced “above everybody who is there already.” This is the mooted Bentley V12 SUV, which will also be available as a plug-in hybrid if hugging trees or saving the planet is high on the agenda. Legendary founder W.O. Bentley is revolving in his grave, I am sure.
The VW-owned brand’s chairman and CEO Wolfgang Durheimer has told US site Motor Trend that an SUV built to Bentley standards would change the way buyers think about soft-roaders.
“For all of the hundreds of thousands of SUV customers that are around the world and drive all kinds of vehicles, they would have a product to differentiate themselves,” Durheimer is quoted as saying. This is because the level of creature comforts will surpass everything currently available.
“In terms of price, it would be positioned above everybody who is there already. I think it’s a big chance for Bentley and for this reason, I am promoting this idea.” (Durheimer previously worked at Porsche and introduced the Cayenne SUV models.)
Durheimer expanded further saying, “If you imagine opening the door of an SUV that says hello to you the way we do in a Mulsanne or Continental – big leather, very nice wood sections, lambs’ wool floor mats and so on – and then have a body style that is British, that is uniquely Bentley – I think there is room for a super-luxury SUV.”
The proposed Bentley SUV will be built from VW’s parts bins as Durheimer says they have enough existing platforms, and gearboxes and suspension components currently used by other brands owned by VW, such as Porsche, Audi and Volkswagen itself.
“It will not be a completely new platform because in our group, one of the big advantages we have are shelves heavy with components and modules. The challenge is to make the right combination of what’s already there, together with what we want to achieve.
“I’m sure on the engine side we need to have our (Bentley) engines, but on the gearbox and suspension side we have perfect examples in-group that can be used for our purposes with our calibration in the future,” Durheimer told Motor Trend.
The new high-rider is likely to be powered by a new V12 engine, with Durheimer saying it is his target and objective “to position Bentley as the 12 cylinder company amongst manufacturers,” saying that for him at least, V12s are “very sexy”.
Durheimer also said having a hybrid version of the SUV would be “helpful”, stating that Bentley would “skip the first hybrid generation and immediately go into plug-in hybrids.”
The estimated date for release of this ‘super’ SUV is 2014, so you don’t have to rush down to the Bentley showrooms.