2016 Bentley Bentayga spy shots

SOMEWHERE under this bloated-looking skin hides the fine lines of Bentley's first-ever SUV.

Expected to give the likes of Range Rover, Mercedes-Benz Maybach, BMW and even Rolls-Royce a mud-plugging run for their money, the genuine off-roader is slowly taking form, as our spy images show.

Although it is early days in the Bentayga's development cycle, we can already see that the luxury SUV will wear a similar face to the Bentley Continental range, defined by the prominent mesh grille framed inside circular headlights, and set in front of a long, stepped bonnet.

Meanwhile, the rear of the Bentayga could adopt the same big-hipped design as the Continental, and feature twin exhausts and a tailgate-mounted spoiler to enhance its on-road prowess.

Inside, the Bentayga appears to feature a digital instrument cluster – a big step away from the traditional twin-dial analogue one used in the current Continental – as well as circular air vents that rise from the top of the dash rather than recessed into the facia.

Under the bonnet, the high-riding Bentley is expected to use the marque's twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 that's shared with a number of high-end products in sister brand Audi's stable of performance cars, with the traditional W12 offered as an option.

While development of the Bentayga appears to be progressing, uberluxury rival Rolls-Royce has a bit of catching up to do after annoucing it, too, would turn down Bentley's path and roll out a vehicle just as comfortable on a muddy polo field as it is in the executive car park.

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