America’s favorite workhorse auto, the SUV, is going seriously uptown. Thursday, Bentley previewed its Bentley Bentayga at Braman Motors in Miami, one of Bentley’s top three U.S. markets. At $225,000, it will be the world’s most expensive and fastest SUV, topping out at 187 miles, the company says. Other luxury brands offering SUVs include Porsche, Land Rover, Audi, BMW, Mercedes and Tesla. Jaguar previewed its new SUV this week in Europe, and Lamborghini has announced it will introduce an SUV in 2018.
“The SUV segment is still the fastest growing category across the industry,” said Bentley Motors President and CEO Michael Winkler in a phone interview. The average Bentley owner currently has six or eight cars in the garage, he said; in most cases, two of those cars are premium SUVs. “It makes sense for those with an affinity to our brand to replace one of those with our SUV,” he said.
The company’s customer is typically a self-made business person who is “a little bit of a maverick,” he said, “with the self-confidence to express themselves.” That’s perhaps even more the case in Miami, which as he noted, “is even less conservative than other parts of the country.”
The Bentayga will be available in Europe — where you can actually drive it at top speed — early next year and in the U.S. next May or June.