Bentley to build coupe-SUV... and convertible SUV?
Bentley could follow its upcoming Bentayga 4x4 with a coupe-SUV, or even a convertible SUV spun from the same platform.
That's according to no less a source than Bentley CEO Wolfgang Dürheimer, talking exclusively to Top Gear at the Shanghai show.
Asked whether Bentley might consider a coupe version of the Bentayga, rather as BMW transformed its X5 into the X6, Dürheimer's response was overwhelmingly positive.
"I could imagine we go in a similar direction," he agreed. "The SUV segment offers a lot of possibilities for derivatives. They go from long-wheelbase versions to two-door SUVs... or convertibles."
A convertible Bentley SUV? Though there's nothing currently out there of the same ilk - Nissan Murano Cross Cabriolet honourably excepted - Dürheimer reckons it's a segment waiting to explode. "I know what I'm talking about," he smiled, "because I built an SUV convertible in the past, in another company." Which company he wouldn't confirm, but Dürheimer has previously worked for Porsche and Audi. We'd bet on it being the former.
"We drove it at night-time only," he continued. "It was pretty cool - in both senses - but we didn't decide to make it. I think this what we see next, because the SUV segment has so much potential worldwide. People are looking for new ideas, eyecatchers."
Dürheimer admits that a Bentley SUV-coupe would have the potential to raise a few eyebrows as well as catch eyes.
"We all were shocked when we saw the BMW X6. Personally, I saw that car and said, 'what the hell is this? But this car sells really well, worldwide. The whole thing is on a move right now, the SUV segment."
Dürheimer also confirmed to Top Gear that, following an overwhelmingly positive response to its Geneva unveil, Bentley will decide by the end of the year whether to bring the lovely Speed 6 concept to production. "With this show car, we scored ten out of ten [for feedback]. The customers and the dealers are giving the same message: don't goof around, just do it. Build the car."
The Bentley boss also suggested that the Speed 6's design cues could even find their way onto a Bentayga variant.
"I think we can have a crossover made out of a Bentley SUV that will be very attractive, and incorporate the usability of a Bentagya... and the styling of a EXP 10 Speed 6," he revealed. "Quite a good idea, eh? I like this one as well..."