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Bentley Motors confirmed yesterday that it will proceed with the development of the on-again, off-again Bentley SUV, the company’s fourth model line.
The SUV will be made in Crewe and will go on sale in 2016 and will create over 1,000 jobs in the UK. Over the next three years Bentley will invest more than £800 million ($1.23 billion) in its headquarters at Crewe and the development of new models.
“The Volkswagen Group believes in the UK as a competitive location for industrial production,” said Dr Winterkorn Chairman of the Board of Volkswagen Group. “Bentley fans all around the world are looking forward to the brand’s first SUV. Together we will make this new Bentley another true Bentley – powerful, exclusive and successful.”
The company said the SUV will be a thoroughbred Bentley true to the brand hallmarks of luxury, performance, quality and craftsmanship. The styling will set it apart from any other SUV on the road and will be true to the Bentley design DNA. It will be the most luxurious and most powerful SUV in the market.
According to Bentley, the response from customers to a Bentley SUV has been extremely positive in the last 16 months.
Bentley’s Chairman and Chief Executive, Dr Wolfgang Schreiber, added: “This is excellent news for Bentley and for the UK. Bentley is increasingly successful and this new fourth model line will leverage the success of the global SUV market. The support of everyone involved with the Company has been fundamental to this decision, which will ensure sustainable growth for the company.”
Bentley had presented its EXP 9 F concept SUV at various automotive shows, powered by a hybrid powertrain. The plug-in hybrid concept was said to offer 0-62 mph times below five seconds, yet also be capable of 18.6 miles in all-electric range with CO2 emissions said to be 130g/km.
At the time, the EXP 9 F was considered to also be one of the most powerful production SUVs when equipped with non-hybrid powerplants. The concept’s W12 was rated around 591 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque, and the V8 turbo is estimated at around 500 horsepower. A diesel engine option was also being considered.
Bentley has not yet confirmed which powerplants have been set for production.