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Bentley Releases First Image of its First SUV

“It will create a completely new segment.”

by on Mar.19, 2014

Bentley offers a hint of the SUV to come in 2016.

When you set an all-time sales record you have plenty of reason to celebrate, but Bentley is giving fans of the British ultra-luxury brand their own reason to celebrate with the release of the first images of the maker’s upcoming SUV.

Originally teased in concept form as the Bentley EXP 9F, the production version has been given no official name yet, but we do know at least a few things about it, starting with a production date of sometime in 2016.

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“It will create a completely new segment in the SUV market, hints the brand’s chairman and CEO Wolfgang Schreiber, who also promises the new model will be “the most luxurious and powerful SUV on the market.”

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Bentley Confirms Plans for Plug-in Hybrid SUV

System to debut sometime after 2015.

by on Mar.07, 2013

The Bentley EXP 9F prototype during its 2012 unveiling.

Those who think batteries are for pint-sized electric vehicles and hybrids need to visit this year’s Geneva Motor Show where “electrification” has become the buzz word among high-line makers like Ferrari, Porsche, McLaren – and Bentley.

In an exclusive conversation with TheDetroitBureau.com, the British marque’s technology chief confirmed that Bentley will go into production with a long-rumored gas-electric driveline.

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“The SUV will get a plug-in,” declared tech chief Rold Frech, during a discussion at the Geneva Motor Show. But he stressed that a number of details have yet to be locked down, including the layout of the plug-in package and the precise introduction date.

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From Bentley to Audi, Durheimer Has Big Plans

Luxury SUV, due in 2015, to serve as his legacy.

by on Aug.23, 2012

Bentley CEO Woflgang Durheimer prepares to move on for a new job at Audi.

In the scheme of things, Wolfgang Durheimer wasn’t at Bentley all that long but he will be leaving a legacy that will see the ultra-luxury maker continue to undergo major changes for years to come. That includes its controversial entry into the SUV segment.

Now, Durheimer sets off for Audi, another premium brand in the Volkswagen AG empire – where observers expect him to again leave an indelible stamp.

As the result of an unexpected, corporate-wide management shake-up , Durheimer will leave Bentley next month to become the R&D chief at Audi – a job similar to what he’d previously held with Porsche.  His hope, he said during an interview, is to have “made Bentley sustainable for the future.”

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The key to that, he contends, is the launch of the British maker’s third product line, an all-new sport-utility vehicle, which Durheimer promises will be, “the most expensive SUV in the world,” with an expected base price of between 170,000 and 200,000 Euros, or roughly $220,000 to $260,000 at current exchange rates.

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Bentley Working Up Mulsanne Drop-Top

Could reach production about same time as Bentley SUV.

by on Aug.20, 2012

Convertibles are "intrinsic" to the brand, says Bentley, as it releases a sketch of its Mulsanne Vision Concept.

Bentley is weighing its options to add a drop-top version of its flagship Mulsanne sedan, testing the waters with a concept that could translate into production by mid-decade.

Like its most direct rival, Rolls-Royce, Bentley has traditionally offered a convertible version of its biggest, most expensive model.  But with the loss of the old Azure two years ago there’s been no ragtop option for the big Mulsanne.

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That could change, depending on reaction to the Bentley Mulsanne Vision Concept quietly unveiled at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance over the weekend.  The full-sized model was kept under strict guard – those invited in for a look even had to surrender their cellphones to ensure no pictures leaked out, though Bentley has now provided a rough, early sketch.

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Rolls Pulls Plug on Battery-Powered Phantom

What if you build a car nobody wants?

by on May.21, 2012

Rolls-Royce buyers say "no" to battery power.

Don’t go looking for a production version of the battery-powered 102 EX concept vehicle at your local Rolls-Royce dealer anytime soon.  The project has quite literally come unplugged.

The British ultra-luxury maker rolled out the prototype at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show hoping to test market interest in electric propulsion but has apparently received a “thanks-but-no-thanks” response from potential buyers.

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No surprise, really.  Company officials were clearly more than a little skeptical themselves when they first revealed the Phantom-based prototype in February of last year, but with so many competitors also exploring the potential of electric drive – including Rolls’ parent BMW – it was clear that the British marque had to at least test the waters.

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First Look: Lamborghini Urus Super-Ute

Expect to see Lambo take the LB736 racing.

by on Apr.23, 2012

Lamborghini is going off-road with the Urus.

Four years after hinting it had an SUV in mind with the Estoque concept vehicle, Lamborghini is indeed getting into the game.  After a few feints and dodges, the maker has officially confirmed that its oft-discussed third model line will be a sport-ute known internally as the LB736.

But eager buyers will get to know the new offering – which debuted today at the Beijing Motor Show – as the Lamborghini Urus.  And, yes, that’s in form with Lambo naming tradition, Urus a type of bull.  No, not that kind, it’s the ursine equivalent of a draft horse.  And the Italian maker is deadly serious about the launch of the new SUV.

Lambo styling chief Filippo Perini has come up with a design that’s distinctly different from the other SUV offerings from the other Volkswagen AG luxury brands, notably the Audi Q7 and the, er, controversial EXP 9 F concept from Bentley revealed at the Geneva Motor Show last month.

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“The Urus is a very concrete idea for the future of Lamborghini – as a third model line and as the perfect complement to our super sports cars,” said Stephan Winkelmann, President and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini. “SUVs stand for freedom and emotion. SUVs make up one of the most successful market segments worldwide. The Urus is the most extreme interpretation of the SUV idea; it is the Lamborghini of the SUVs.”

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Bentley Reveals EXP 9 F Luxury SUV

Continental GTC V8 Convertible also debuts in Geneva.

by on Mar.06, 2012

Bentley rolls the EXP 9 F SUV concept into Geneva.

Luxury makers normally dribble out new products from an eyedropper, but Bentley’s got a big year going, as it demonstrated today with the launch of two new offerings at the Geneva Motor Show – notably including the maker’s first-ever sport-utility vehicle.

Technically, the Bentley EXP 9 F is a concept vehicle, but don’t let that fool you.  The British maker’s CEO Wolfgang Durheimer has made it abundantly clear that this project is his top priority and will come to market before the down-market sedan that had been favored by his predecessor.

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And with the apparent support of Bentley’s German parent, Volkswagen AG, it is expected to offer a production version of the EXP 9 F with an assortment of drivetrains that could include the marque’s familiar W12, its new V-8 and even a plug-in hybrid.

That new V8, incidentally, is also playing a starring role in Geneva this year – here under the hood of Bentley’s new GTC convertible.  The 8-banger is a key part of the luxury brand’s bid to drive up its less than stellar fuel economy.

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