Bentley's first SUV looks set for production with design close to the firm's original design sketches, as this latest test mule was spotted wearing production bodywork.
Bentley's new SUV almost ready
The SUV, which is said to be targetting a 321kph top speed when it goes on sale in 2016 in the international market, has only previously been seen disguised under the Audi Q7 bodywork. Previous mules have been testing the car's electrical system, running gear and powertrain. The electric system will feature more than 50 ECU 'brains'.
The main feature of the new SUV is its large, prominent mesh front grille. Oval headlight clusters can also be seen alongside large dual air vents, lower down on the front bumper. Those air intakes will be vitally important in keeping the SUV's twin-turbocharged W12 engine cool.
Large light clusters can also be seen at the rear, alongside prominent rear-end styling and large oval-shaped dual exhausts. The design stays relatively true to the original EXP 9 F concept car, which made its debut at the Geneva motor show in 2012.
Also seen for the first time is the new car's interior, which features a large digital dashboard similar to that seen on the new Audi TT. Along with the main digital instrument display, a large central infotainment screen should also be offered running bespoke navigation software.
One of the major engineering jobs on the new Bentley will be evaluating aerodynamic performance, engine cooling and tyre longevity at the planned 321kph top speed, which Autocar UK, our sister publication, understands was written into the technical specification last year. The air suspension, for example, will have to be controlled electrically to lower itself automatically as speed increases.
Among the big rivals for the Bentley's 4x4 will be Rolls-Royce's new SUV, which is planned to launch a year later in 2017.