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Auto blogFri, 16 May 2014 20:02:00 EST
Bentley Director of Design Luc Donckerwolke certainly thinks highly of the vehicles he creates. "We are the only ones that offer performance compatible with luxury," he says in Intelligent Details, a new short documentary commissioned by the brand. While that might be a bit hyperbolic (the Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG says hello), the company does have a long history of blending elegant interiors, sophisticated exteriors and powerful engines. The film examines how crafting that works in the modern world.
Intelligent Details stars Donckerwolke and his colleague Head of Exterior Design Sang Yup Lee as they ride in two contrasting Bentley Mulsannes through New York City. They talk about what makes a Bentley special, but their biggest focus is their belief that automotive interiors can no longer by "a closed cocoon," according to Donckerwolke. It has to transform into a living space thanks to the brand's interior infotainment technology.
The message might be self-aggrandizing, but the short film itself is beautifully shot and edited with some loving looks at the city. The way it was actually made could be the most surprising part of all. We don't want to spoil it here, but scroll down and watch the whole video to see.
There's no shock in finding out that a new Bentley is going to be expensive; it kind of goes with the territory. However, company boss Wolfgang Dürheimer is indicating that its upcoming SUV could create a whole new rung of pricing for luxury utility vehicles.
While speaking with Autocar at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, Dürheimer let slip that the company's forthcoming SUV would have a price of 130,000 pounds or more ($220,000 at current US exchange rates). Thankfully, the Bentley boss further clarified the reason for such a high cost of entry. He said that the elite players in the field like the Porsche Cayenne or Land Rover Range Rover have prices that hit the European equivalent of about $220,000 for top-trim, fully-optioned models. "We aim to solve this problem," said Dürheimer to Autocar. While it's exceedingly rare for converted foreign MSRPs to equal the actual expense in the US, it looks to be at the very top end of the class.
That is a stratospheric figure, but the Bentley SUV already has some big rumors to live up to. The company is reportedly aiming for a 200-mile-per-hour top speed and may possibly offer a plug-in hybrid powertrain, as well. It's being pretty flagrant in evaluating the new vehicle too by plastering a promotional URL on its test mules (see above). They show the model with the brand's trademark circular headlights up front, and interior photos indicate a digital instrument panel. If Dürheimer is serious about that price, the company better pack the car with every bell and whistle it can find to justify it.
Bentley keeps itself busy and on our minds with ever-faster versions of the Continental family and even, most recently, of the Mulsanne. While a new coupe is said to be around the corner, the biggest project Crewe has going on at the moment is its new SUV. And this is our clearest look at it yet.
Spied with less camouflage than ever before while undergoing testing near the Nürburgring, Bentley's as-yet unnamed sport-ute is being based on the same new platform that will underpins the next Volkswagen Touareg, Audi Q7, Porsche Cayenne and - if finally approved - the production version of the Lamborghini Urus concept.
Bentley's is sure to be one of the higher-end models to be based on that platform, opening up a new segment soon to be populated as well by the upcoming Maserati Levante, Range Rover Sport SVR and other potential ultra-high-end SUVs and crossovers from the likes of Land Rover, Aston Martin Lagonda and Daimler's restrategized Maybach.