FRANKFURT -- Bentley expects its ultra-luxury SUV to create a new segment when it begins sales in 2016.
The model, reported to cost about 180,000 euros based on previous comments by company executives, is priced higher than the most expensive Range Rover and will establish a new class of SUV, the automaker said.
"It will be the world's most expensive and luxurious SUV," Kevin Rose, Bentley's global head of sales and marketing, said at the Frankfurt auto show last week.
Bentley is targeting the Range Rover because nearly 30 percent of its customers own one, Rose said. The Bentley SUV will have a 12-cylinder engine that produces 575 hp to 650 hp and will share its architecture with Audi and Porsche all-wheel-drive vehicles, he said.
The SUV will be available with four, five or seven seats, but "there is not a lot of evidence that a lot of customers will go for the seven," Rose said.
The vehicle will have high ground clearance and "will be as capable off-road as the Range Rover," he said. "This really is an SUV. In the Middle East it has to go up and down sand dunes, and in Europe it has to be able to tow stuff in the wet field."
As Bentley looks to expand its range, Rose says other body styles may be possible in the brand's Continental range, such as a four-door coupe. But Bentley isn't likely to offer a lower-priced car.
He said: "I would not see us coming into Jaguar territory."
Bentley expects that a third of the 3,000 to 4,000 annual sales of the SUV will be in the United States, Rose added.