Bentley SUV features coupe-like design

DAVID MCCOWEN
Last updated 08:47 29/05/2014
Drive.com.au

British brand's SUV will have a dramatically different body shape to other models.

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Bentley's upcoming SUV will look dramatically different to the polarising concept it displayed at the 2012 Geneva motor show.

The luxury marque has released a cryptic teaser video of its new model that provides a few clues to its overall shape, with one darkened image hinting that it has ditched the concept's boxy back-end for a more svelte - and fashionable - coupe-like roofline similar to its Continental GT coupe.

The swooping body style brings it more in line with other Bentley models but also rival cars such as the BMW X6 and Mercedes-Benz MLC that blend SUV practicality with swooping rooflines. Audi has also flirted with the notion of an SUV coupe, with its recent TT off-road concept .

Full-bodied, sweeping lines will help Bentley carve out its own niche among the other models from within the Volkswagen group that set to share the same lightweight architecture, including the next-generation Audi Q7, Volkswagen Touareg and Porsche Cayenne as well as Lamborghini's angular Urus SUV.

The revised Bentley SUV represents a significant departure from the brand's bluff concept of 2012.

The British manufacturer unveiled its vision for a luxury SUV at the Geneva motor show, where the EXP 9 F sparked controversy through bold styling.

Its massive grille was flanked by huge round headlights mounted above illuminated oval "warp drive" vents in the bumper that polarized potential buyers.

The brand went back to the drawing board, returning with what appears to be a seductively shaped SUV with more conventional details.

The warp drives are gone, as are the concept's fussy multi-spoked rims that drew parallels with wire-wheeled classics of the past.

Bentley product head Paul Jones told Fairfax Media in 2013 that although the concept's interior was well received, its exterior look divided opinions.

"The focus has been on re-working that exterior design," Jones said.

"It wasn't just the front of the vehicle, it was a range of inputs we received from customer clinics after we revealed it.

"We've taken on board the feedback and going forward we have incorporated that."

If Bentley follows a similar pattern set out by Porsche and its Cayenne, the new SUV could prove to be its most popular model.

As a member of the Volkswagen Group, Bentley's all-wheel-drive wagon will share underpinnings with the next-generation Audi Q7, Volkswagen Touareg and Porsche Cayenne.

The car will be offered with a range of engines that promise exotic levels of performance, and a hybrid driveline will also be available after the car goes on sale in 2016.

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- Sydney Morning Herald

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