Twenty years ago, the terms "high-performance” and “SUV" might never have been connected, as in the early days, high speed was definitely not a high priority for the vehicles. But with the introduction of the Porsche Cayenne, the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8, the Mercedes-Benz AMG-tuned models, and the latest Range Rover Sport, it's clear the two terms are no longer mutually exclusive. But, in a paraphrase of the line from Spinal Tap, "This one goes to 11," British automotive publication Autocar is reporting Bentley is aiming for a heady 200-mph top speed target for its as-yet unnamed SUV.
Why would Bentley be targeting such an ambitious top speed for its SUV? Certainly bragging rights, as it would likely take the title for being the world's fastest production SUV, although several models from Mercedes-Benz and Porsche can top 170 with special-performance packages.
An additional challenge to achieving the magic double-century benchmark is the necessity for SUVs to balance both on and off-road performance, as well as the inherently poorer aerodynamic qualities of SUVs. Autocar reports the design of the Bentley SUV is being revised with greater emphasis on aerodynamic performance, with a reduced frontal area and smoother underbody. Another engineering challenge is sourcing tires that are capable of a 200-mph top speed, as well as being tough enough for off-road use.