Bentley is proving that its Bentayga SUV can take on Range Rover and Mercedes

Bentley’s Bentayga SUV coming soon.

Prior to its arrival in showrooms next year, the British luxury auto maker is putting its Bentayga prototypes through the ringer on a variety off road surfaces.

After all, if Bentley wants its SUV to be taken seriously by Range Rover and Mercedes G-Wagon buyers, it’s got to establish some off-roading “street” cred.

Recently, the VW Group brand released a series of videos chronicling the Bentayga’s development process — including off-road testing in Northern Spain, cold-weather testing in Sweden, and extreme-desert testing in Dubai.

In Sweden, Bentley exposed the SUV to ice-covered roads and temperatures as low as 1.75° F.

On Dubai’s Big Red Dunes, engineers put the Bentayga through its paces in 113° F temperatures.

Admittedly, much of the testing documented in these videos is a far cry from the extremes of the Dakar Rally, considered by many to be the toughest race in the world.

However, it should be noted that the most of these vehicles will never encounter terrain more strenuous than a grassy lawn or rush hour on pothole-strewn roads.

Regardless of off-road ability, the Bentley Bentayga is already looking like a hot seller, even though the company has not actually reveled the final design of the SUV.

According to Chairman Wolfgang Durheimer, prospective buyers may have to wait to get their hands on one. And they may have to wait a while.

We are building 3,600 Bentaygas in the first year, and there’s more demand than that for the vehicle just in America,” Durheimer told Business Insider earlier this year at the New York Auto Show.

According to Bentley, power for the SUV will come from a VW-Group-sourced W12 engine, similar to the ones found under the hood of the Continental GT and Flying Spur limo.

The Bentayga — named after a rock formation in the Canary Islands — will be Bentley’s entry into the new hyper-luxury SUV segment. In addition to the Bentley, Rolls-Royce is enterting the market with its — as yet unnamed — “high-sided, all-terrain motor car.” Although, it’s known as “Project Cullinan” within the company.

Lamborghini will soon introduce its Italian-built Urus SUV while Jaguar is currently road testing prototypes of its own luxury SUV — the F-PACE.

At the end of the day, this shouldn’t really be a surprise. SUVs — especially luxury SUVs — offer some of the highest margins in the auto business. It’s worth it for a brand to develop one, even if it sells just a few.

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