Bentley is putting the finishing touches to its new SUV, loosely referred to as Falcon internally in Crewe, and it’ll be the first Bentley to be offered with a plug-in hybrid option, CAR has learned.
Crewe’s SUV is based on the Volkswagen group’s latest MLBevo platform, which means the Falcon will be related to the next-generation Audi Q7 and Q8 coming in 2015.
The MLBevo architecture is scalable and, unsurprisingly, the platform will be in extended, long-wheelbase format for the Bentley and Audi SUVs.
And don’t worry if you’re still frightened of the prospect of a Bentley 4×4. New design chief Luc Donckerwolke has confirmed that the new SUV is ‘completely different’ from the controversial EXP9 F, which has been banished to storage and will never see the light of day again.
Bentley SUV: available with plug-in hybrid
The planned Bentley plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) brings the promise of whisper-quiet travel around town. CAR understands the electric-assisted Bentley will have a range of 30 miles on silent EV mode before the internal combustion engine kicks in to take over.
And the Bentley PHEV could be available as both a petrol and diesel. The VW group is planning to mate the system to both 3.0-litre V6 engines, pitching the derv at Europe and the petrol to the rest of the world.
At a stroke, it’s a clever way of introducing the first-ever diesel Bentley – by wrapping it up in clever hybrid guise.
The Bentley SUV has been approved for sale in 2016.
Bentley SUV: twinned with Audi Q7 and Q8
The follow-up to the Q7 looks a bit like a downsized Kenworth truck which has been treated by a Bavarian make-up artist, according to CAR’s sources.
The next Q7, and sportier, lower-slung Q8, benefit from aluminium technology, which is due to bring the weight down by up to 350 kilos – despite the length and wheelbase increasing.
We hear there is more than enough brightwork to win any bling contest, the proportions are in-yer-face imposing and the Q7’s cabin is now big enough to simultaneously swing several cats.
On the credit side, we are led to believe that the newly found lightness will transform the handling and the more economical engines are bound to have a strong impact on the CO2 footprint.
Audi SQ7 and SQ8 and V10 TDIs are coming
And it doesn’t end there. Audi, in its quest to reach ever new niches, will launch SQ7 and SQ8 bahnstormers powered by a brawny 408bhp/664lb ft V8, while a brand-new 5.0-litre V10 TDI is also under development.
Volkswagen overlord Ferdinand Piech has reportedly taken a personal interest in this new diesel. We’d wager it’ll also make an appearance in the new Bentley Falcon SUV.
Click here to read more on our scoop on the Bentley SUV.