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Smaller Bentley SUV and production Speed 6 in the works

Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6 concept.

Two smaller new models, an SUV and a quick coupe, are racing to join the Bentley family.

As the historic British brand works through the final start-up for its full-sized Bentayga SUV, which will be ready for the road - and bush - in the final months of this year, Bentley confirms a competition between a smaller SUV and a production version of its EXP 10 Speed 6 concept.

The two models are likely to be twinned for development over a common mechanical platform, with the Speed 6 slightly ahead in the betting for production sometime in 2017 or beyond.

"It is a head-to-head race. It's not a question of which one we do, but which one we do first," the CEO of Bentley, Wolfgang Durheimer, reveals to Carsguide at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this week.

"November 27 is start of production for Bentayga. There comes a next step and we are evaluating two. One is an SUV derivative and the other is Speed 6.

"I think Speed 6 is a good idea and this is also the opinion of our customers. We are experiencing stunning results from this market research."

"We had a lot of customers who said ‘I want that now'," confirms Bentley's sales chief, Kevin Rose.

"With these two cars we approach 20,000 cars. This means our company doubles its size with Speed 6. We are spending 840 million pounds on new production, a engineering centre and a new design centre. A lot of new products are in the pipeline to be developed in the future.

"The best years of Bentley are still to come. We think we can be a very serious player in the future in this luxury segment."

You can never have enough power in a Bentley

Among the product developments are a plug-in hybrid version of each model, both to cut emissions and fuel use and to boost performance by using an electric motor as a type of supercharging system.

"You can never have enough power in a Bentley. We will use it for both. Because it's available, also, as a booster," says Durheimer.

"It's not a secret to say we are working on plug-in hybrids to apply where it is necessary. We are taking our burden in order to sort this problem around the world. We need to comply with international rules."

Despite the introduction of plug-ins, starting with the Bentayga SUV, Durheimer says speed still comes before green power at Bentley.

"We are sticking to our philosophy that we will have big engines in the future. Every car that comes into the market has more power and less CO2. That's a written rule in Bentley."
But he rejects any suggestion of a pure electric Bentley.

"If you look at these plug-in hybrid cars, it is the best of two worlds. You can play with driving electric where it is necessary, then on the other side to have the combustion engine in the background.

"Our customers in the world have between six and eight cars (in the garage). If they need an electric car to commute, they will find one in our Volkswagen group."