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Bentley designing SUV to reach 200 mph?

Mon, 24 Mar 2014 08:46:00 EST

The 200 MPH Club was once populated entirely by exotic sports cars. These days it has expanded to include convertibles, sedans and even station wagons. But an SUV? Unthinkable, what with their aerodynamic profile approaching that of a barn door. Bentley, however, is out to change that with its forthcoming new sport ute.

Not only is the British automaker aiming to make its first SUV fully capable off road, it's also engineering it to be one of the fastest on the road as well. According to emerging reports coming in from the UK, Bentley is streamlining the SUV's shape with a lower roofline and reprofiled rear end and fitting it with advanced underbody aerodynamic aids in order to compensate for its over-six-foot width and get it up to the magic 200-mph mark.

Reaching out to Bentley for comment, its communications office wouldn't divulge such performance targets: "The SUV is in the engineering development stage, so unfortunately it's too soon to discuss performance figures," we were told via email. "It will of course have all the power and performance that one would expect from a Bentley!" If the information proves correct, however, at that speed, it would be able to keep pace with the faster members of the Continental family, but leave the Mulsanne flagship sedan (which is already approaching the size of an SUV) and its 185-mph top speed in the dust – not to mention the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S that is quoted at "only" 175 mph.

Of course it'll take more than just clever aero to get the SUV up to those speeds, which makes us think that, while there has been talk of V8, diesel and even hybrid power, Bentley will, in the end, offer the vehicle with the most powerful version of its W12 engine as well. And when it does, it will fulfill Ettore Bugatti's suddenly prophetic characterization of Bentley as producing "the world's fastest lorries."

By Noah Joseph

See also: Porsche to develop new line of engines for next Panamera, Bentley shifting W12 engine production to UK, Bentley teases restyled production SUV.