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Bentley planning 500-hp all-electric coupe, second SUV

by Ronan Glon

The production version of the EXP 10 Speed 6 concept will also be offered with a V8 engine.

Bentley has confirmed it will expand its lineup with a smaller SUV and a new sport-focused coupe.

Speaking to British magazine Autocar, company boss Wolfgang Dürheimer explained the coupe will essentially be a toned-down version of the well-received EXP 10 Speed 6 concept (pictured) that was shown earlier this year at the Geneva Motor Show. While most models will roll off the assembly line with an Audi-derived V8 in the engine bay, the range-topping version will use an all-electric drivetrain made up of two electric motors and three-stepped automatic gearboxes.

Bentley's first-ever regular-production EV will offer all-wheel drive and anywhere between 400 and 500 horsepower, enough to reach a top speed of 200 mph while boasting a level of performance that Dürheimer qualifies as "stunning." New battery technology will give the 4,400-pound coupe a 300-mile range.

The still nameless coupe won't launch until a second SUV has arrived. Designed to lure new, younger buyers into showrooms, the SUV will be bigger than a Porsche Macan but smaller than a Cayenne. Bentley insiders predict it will be relatively cost-efficient to build because it will share many of its mechanical components -- including its chassis and its eight- and twelve-cylinder engines -- with the bigger Bentayga.

"It'll be a matter of plug and play," explained Dürheimer. The executive stresses that neither model has been approved by parent company's Volkswagen's top brass, but he's confident both will be given the green light for production because they're high-volume, high-profit cars.

Bentley's baby SUV is tentatively scheduled to land in 2018, meaning the coupe could conceivably arrive in 2020. It's not too far-fetched to imagine both models will be previewed by close-to-production concepts a year or so before their official debut.

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