The Bentayga Is Actually Bentley's First Mass-Market Car, Created to Expand the Brand

Bentley is talking the talk when it comes to the upcoming Bentayga, their first ever SUV. However, that's just the job of the marketing team. If you want to play in the same league as Porsche and Mercedes-Benz, millions need to be spent on marketing many months before a car is even revealed.
The general vibe given off by the Bentayga is that of the ultimate SUV. It packs the most cylinders under the bonnet if you ignore the rare G65 AMG and claims to be the fastest SUV in the world, thanks to a top speed of 301 km/h.

There's no doubt Volkswagen probably invested at least a billion euros into the development of the Bentayga and its all-new twin-turbo W12 engine. However, I believe the SUV is something completely different to what it claims. In my honest and somewhat unfounded opinion, we are dealing with the first mass-production car from the Brits.

Going as far as to call this a "budget car" might seem like a stretch of the imagination, but we are talking about a brand associated with the several generations of British royalty. For them and tens of other nobles around the country, any £150,000 purchase is about as noticeable as a light breeze.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think mass production is a bad thing for Bentley. In fact, it's the exact opposite. The company has been struggling for many years and without VW support would not have survived. If a butterfly flaps its wings in China, sales of their ultra-luxury chariots fall sharply. But everybody from the USA to the UAE wants a Porsche Cayenne and BMW X5, so the Bentayga should sell no matter the economic conditions.

There are other clues to the Bentayga's "affordability". For instance, the platform is shared with the Audi Q7, and fabrication of the body-in-white will take place in Slovakia. Bratislava is hardly the capital of luxury and opulence, but I guess that won't matter in the long run.

The marque is also working on a sportscar that slots under the Continental GT, as previewed by the EXP 10 Speed 6 concept car revealed at the beginning of the year. You have to remember that before the Cayenne and the Boxster, Porsche was also a relatively small operation, so with a couple of well-placed strikes the Brits could emulate their success.

If the Bentayga sells 5,000 units per year (that's their estimate, and I find it conservative), there could be a smaller, cheaper SUV launching within a decade. When/if that happens, Bentley could become a mainstream brand.

From what've been able to find out, the W12 version of the Bentayga will sell from £140,000. That's extremely expensive, but it's only about 18% more than a Porsche Cayenne Turbo S, so the Brits aren't asking for much.

A cheaper version powered by a twin-turbo V8 will come along any day now, costing around £120,000. You don't need to understand how much those British pounds mean in dollars and euros, only that it's cheaper even that the Continental GT V8.

A car company that was founded on the principle of fabricating each component by hand will never compete with Ford and Skoda. But by somewhat perverting its core principles, Porsche became a much stronger, financially stable operation that won Le Mans this year. I can easily forgive the people in Crewe for doing the same thing.
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About the author: Mihnea Radu
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Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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