Super-luxury British carmaker Bentley announced Tuesday it is going ahead with plans to build an SUV.
The Volkswagen AG subsidiary presented a concept SUV at last year's Geneva Auto Show to mixed reviews but healthy media attention. At the time, Bentley promised to build "the fastest and most expensive SUV in the world."
Although the wagon-like styling proved predictably controversial for the premium automaker's first foray beyond the traditional automobile, the UK-based investment could be a boon for the already expanding British segment.
The still-unnamed vehicle will be built at Bentley's Crewe headquarters and released in 2016, with the company investing $800 million and promising to create 1,000 new jobs.
The only clue as to the SUV's looks is a sketch that Bentley made available to the public with the announcement. While the drawing's volumes seem similar to those of the Geneva concept car, the fast strokes suggest sportier details.
Details about drivetrain and interiors were not made available, but considering the marque's history, they are sure to be powerful and lavish. The concept car sported a 600bhp W12 turbo engine.
Rival British luxury carmakers Jaguar Land Rover and BMW AG owned Rolls Royce are unlikely to compete directly with Bentley's move into the SUV market. Land Rover's flagship Range Rover model starts around $110,000, while the Bentley is more likely to set off from the $140,000-$180,000 price range.
Rolls Royce has not announced plans to enter the segment, but is riding a three-year sales hot streak with its existing models.