Bentley plans to make an off-roader, according to this week's Autocar. The report reckons that the secret project will be powered by a 450bhp, 6.0-litre W12 engine.
It's all part of a dastardly plan by Bentley's parent company, VW, to expand the marque into new areas, following a surge in sales of the GT Continental. As brand extensions go, this is a doozy.
Sales volume is the commercial driver for the move. If Bentley can get to 10,000 units annually, it can be self-sustaining, is the thinking at VW's HQ.
Audi's upcoming off-roader, Q7 and VW's luxury brand's answer to BMW's X5 and the Merc M-class, provides the basis for the new Bentley, codenamed BY616. The platform is a joint development between VW and Porsche -- one of a long line of such projects stretching back to their common, pre-WWII parentage. The project will get a five-seat interior, unlike the Audi's seven seat arrangement.
The 4x4 will be revealed at the Frankfurt motor show in September.