BENTLEY HAS FINALLY taken the wraps off its long awaited SUV concept at the Geneva Motorshow.
Reaction has been mixed but Bentley has described the styling of the EXP 9 F as a “bold reinterpretation of Bentley design cues”.
Dirk van Braeckel, Director of Design, said, “EXP 9 F had to represent the absolute pinnacle of the sport utility sector, setting a new benchmark for this type of vehicle. The style had to reflect Bentley’s sporting character despite its radically different package and purpose together with sculptured, flowing surfaces in keeping with the Bentley tradition.”
Design cues include the new large circular headlights and matrix grille, as intoroduced on the Mulsanne saloon and now on the updated Continental GT. The large daytime running lights in the bottom corners of the front bumper were inspired by the famous Blower Bentleys and also act as air intakes for the 6.0 litre, twin turbocharged W12 engine, which Bentley say could produce 600bhp, 590lb ft torque and would set new SUV benchmarks for 0-60mph times and top speed.
The W12 would not be the only engine option come production, with the company’s newly launched 4.0 litre V8 and an unspecified hybrid drivetrain possibilities for the SUV.
The interior is typical Bentley, with lots of wood, leather and polished metals. The tradaitional styling is teamed with analogue dials and bezels and a ‘virtual’ TFT instrumentation panel.
The roof features a panoramic glass panel but the shape and design are supposedly inspired by the roll cages of rally cars, which express both strength and lightness.
Rear seat passengers have options for how they travel, with the ability to choose between business mode, which provides generous legroom, a fold-down keyboard and full internet connectivity via a tablet, or a recliner position which features a powered footrest, drinks table and infotainment screens.
Three different driving modes ensure the EXP 9 F can cope with all situations, with the TFT screen changing depending on the mode selected. For example, in Comfort or Sport it would show the satellite navigation, whereas in Off-Road it would show the display from the ‘sump-cam’.
Bentley will be listening closely to public reaction from Geneva before refining the concept and making a decision on production. But with the likes of the Porsche Cayenne and Range Rover proving such big successes, you can be pretty sure that a Bentley SUV in one form or another will be hitting streets soon.