Some types of car make their own place in the market and, arguably, the SUV has been the sensation of the past twenty years. The USA has been a big market for such vehicles now for many years, and has embraced the genre in no small way. From the basic, fun and affordable SUV to the luxury version there is something for everyone; well, up until now, perhaps not everyone! The Bentley SUV intends to fill a gap in the market that it has possibly created by coming into existence – the Super Premium Crossover SUV has arrived.
Bentley CUV – Luxury and Performance
Bentley has always been the sportier of the most luxurious British marques – Rolls Royce playing a different role – and the CUV, as it will be known, is no exception to the rule. However, there is something superbly opulent about the concept of a luxury SUV and this model exemplifies why. The Range Rover line is the perfect example of a luxury crossover and the Porsche Cayenne – from the same family as the Bentley – another, but the CUV takes things to another level: specifically, to Bentley levels. The interior can be expected to display a sense of comfort that will not be matched – just yet – by other similar vehicles, and that could be absolutely essential in enticing the right buyers.
Who is it aimed at?
There is no getting away from the fact that a car such as this is intended to be seen in; it’s a big, stylish brute of a machine that will undoubtedly stand out for the crowd, and that is what buyers will be paying for. This is the sort of car that will be bought by the very rich, and by those who have come into money thanks to celebrity. Some will find the CUV a vulgar animal, while others will lust after the few they see on the roads. Whether anyone would consider taking such a vehicle off-road is another matter, but there is no doubt that Bentley has the capability to make sure the car is up to the job. This is a car for the Arab Sheik, the CEO of a Multinational, the retired oil tycoon or, perhaps, the wife of a super-rich businessman who needs to do the school run. It’s a step up from your Range Rover Evoque in no uncertain terms.
Power and Style
The Bentley CUV will come to the market powered by versions of the engines used in the Continental; that means either the mighty twin-turbocharged W12 or a V8 turbo. It will sit on a platform derived from the next generation Porsche Cayenne and VW Toured, except it will be necessarily longer to accommodate the bulk of the vehicle. Make no mistake, this is a very big car indeed, and one that will have massive road presence. All-wheel drive – proven from the VW family – will be a permanent fixture, as will a range of interior trim levels that offer almost unlimited choices. There is nothing left to chance where Bentley are concerned, and it shows in what is a bold and daring initiative.
How Will it Sell?
The problems that Bentley faces in introducing such a luxurious, big and brash car are many; everyone else is turning to hybrid power while this car deliberately flouts that with its enormous engines and prodigious power – let alone fuel consumption – yet for many people looking at this class of vehicle ‘going green’ is a distant afterthought. This is not a mass-production vehicle, but one that is likely to made bespoke, to order, with personalised trim levels and very expensive options. It will find buyers, and they are a very exclusive group indeed. However, there is one possible problem on the horizon: China, which accounts for a great proportion of luxury vehicle sales these days, is considering restrictions on driving vehicles of this type and size, while the economy in the USA is not at its best (and nor is the rest of the world). But, and it remains to be said, the sort of person who can afford $200,000 for what is, essentially, a somewhat frivolous purchase is not likely to be one of those affected by the economic downturn, hence the core market remains.
There have been some who expressed disdain at the very idea of a Bentley Crossover; this is a brand, after all, known for its sporting luxury sedans. The thing is, VW knows there are buyers waiting for such a vehicle and the purists will simply have to grin and bear it.