Way back in 2004, Porsche made a decision that would completely change its place in the prestige car market, that decision being to put a luxury SUV into production, and the Stuttgart firm hasn’t looked back since.
Placing the Cayenne within its model range did wonders for Porsche and has resulted in over half its production being taken up by orders for the both the flagship SUV and the more recently released Macan. This strategy was influenced by the popularity of BMW’s X range and Audi’s Q cars, but Porsche’s move also inspired other firms down the line and we’re now anticipating a trio of new luxury SUVs from Bentley, Maserati and Jaguar at September’s Frankfurt motor show.
Perhaps not the catchiest name in the business, but many can’t wait to see what the firm from Crewe have up its sleeve. We’ve seen many spy photos of the Bentayga and Bentley itself has given us titbits of information and teaser images, while the British marque also released a video with the SUV displaying its capabilities.
Design wise, you could consider the Bentayga a swelled Continental GT at the front, while the body as a whole is more curvaceous than any previous Bentley. The Bentayga’s styling was actually revised following initial negative feedback from prospective customers and the SUV was given a more familiar face as a result.
Inside, the Bentayga is given all the usual Bentley interior cues, but with the addition of some new switchgear such as a rotary controller that can be used to select the mode for the pioneering all-wheel drive system on the car. Meanwhile, there’s also a head-up display and external night-vision cameras.
Under the bonnet you can expect Bentley’s flagship 6.0-litre W12 engine straight from the Continental GT to feature, while the smaller twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 is also expected to be available. The Bentayga will be built at the company’s base in Crewe, despite sharing the platform with Audi Q7 which is built in Bratislava, Slovakia. There’s also speculation that the Bentayga could share many components with the Porsche Cayenne itself.
Following its decision to go diesel, it’s not too surprising to see an SUV being readied for a 2016 release; it was even less of a surprise when the Modena-based firm announced a 30% drop in profits in the second quarter of 2015.
Maserati sees the Levante as a sort of saving grace to increase its sales figures - especially in China – to around 75,000 units and is likely to take influence from its Kubang concept of four years ago. From looking at spy shots and leaked drawings, the Levante looks to be based on a raised and modified Ghibli body but with design cues from the 2011 show car.
Its high-riding stance and flared bodywork gives the Levante a very rugged and tough appearance, while the car will take on a version of the ‘Q4’ all-wheel drive system from the Ghibli and Quattroporte models. Expect the Levante to carry some weight, however, with the Ghibli coming in at 1810kg already.
Maserati’s current range of engines will all feature on the Levante, including the new twin-turbocharged 410bhp 3.0-litre petrol V6. An engine key to the Levante’s success will likely be the 271bhp V6 turbodiesel that is aimed at the European market; Maserati has also confirmed a plug-in hybrid will also be available at some point. Power for all powerplants will go through an eight-speed automatic transmission.
We’ve already taken a good look at Jaguar’s new player in the SUV market and is one that could very well spawn an entire family of new SUVs. However, it’s interesting to place the F-Pace within this company of luxury SUVs that will be used predominantly to be wafted around in complete comfort in the city and countryside, while the Jaguar will be set up to be a proper driver’s car.
The Midlands firm has made a conscious effort to use knowledge gained from developing the F-Type sports car on the F-Pace’s platform and suspension set-up. In using these underpinnings, the F-Pace’s ride and handling capabilities will be much more akin to those of Porsche’s SUVs, while elements such as ensuring the F-Pace’s steering can provide as much feedback as possible have also been key in producing a standout model in the sector.
Jaguar’s range of exciting engines will also bring the F-Pace to life, including its potent 3.0-litre V6 straight from the F-Type; there may also be room for an SVR model that would utilise the flagship 5.0-litre V8 from the F-Type R rolling its 2016 launch.
All three models will be revealed to us in full production form at September’s Frankfurt motor show, where hopefully the full details will be spilled on each.