LOS ANGELES --There's a new vehicle wearing a Bentley badge and other styling cues, but in a very different kind of shape. It's Bentley's first-ever SUV called the Bentayga.
"The demand is for performance luxury vehicles that can go anywhere and do anything, and the Bentayga can do just that," said Erin Bronner, communications manager for Bentley Motors.
Yes after building luxury cars with a performance theme over the decades, Bentley is entering the SUV market with an upscale offering for its upscale clientele.
"Our customers have, on average, between six and eight vehicles. We know that one of those vehicles is an SUV, so why not make it a Bentley SUV," added Bronner.
This isn't just a generic sport utility with a Bentley grille thrown on, it's a real Bentley underneath.
Inside, a rich, plush interior that nobody does quite like the British. Under the hood, six liters of 12-cylinder power to take you down the road, and up to 21" tires to keep you stuck to it. All wheel drive is standard on the Bentayga.
There is a growing number of buyers who are seeking out upscale SUVs these days. They want a luxury car driving experience, but with a useful cargo area in the back.
And it's not just Bentley catering to these buyers. Plenty of upmarket names are adding SUV models. Soon you'll be able to get a Jaguar model called the F-pace. And later this year, Italian exotic brand Maserati will be rolling out its new SUV called the Levante.
A Lamborghini sport utility vehicle will be showrooms in a couple of years based on a concept car called the Urus.
Bentley is topping them all price-wise so far at a base of $229,100. You can get close to that price already with the most expensive Range Rover in top-level Autobiography trim at $199,000, or Mercedes-Benz's G-class with V-12 AMG power in the G63 model at $217,000.
But the Bentayga can be custom ordered with things like a folding leather "event seat" in the back, and a picnic hamper with fine china and silverware, for an ultimate tailgate party. You can even select a high-end Breitling clock with diamonds on its face for the dashboard.
"It can get upwards of close to $400,000, and beyond," noted Bronner.