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07 March 2012

EXP 9 F: Bentley's SUV concept exposed at Geneva

Words by Niky Tamayo | Photos courtesy of Bentley Motors Limited
Global recession and gas prices may still be on everyone's mind, but apparently not on Bentley’s. Unveiling at the 2012 Geneva Auto Show, the EXP 9 F SUV concept is the company's way of exploring “new terrain.” (Their words, not mine.) Of course, this being a Bentley, it can't very well stoop to using twin-turbo V8s like the proletariat. The Concept features a 6.0L W12 engine that "could" develop 600 hp and 800 Nm... if his eminence so desires.
To remind you that this thing has a twin-turbocharged engine, the 23-inch wheels are designed to look like turbines. So are the air intakes around the daytime running lights. And even though the headlights are not much different from those on current production Bentleys, gosh-darn-it, they look kind of turbo-fanny, too.
While the styling isn't all quite there yet, the EXP 9 F certainly does look like a Bentley - hewn from a solid ingot of precious metal and slathered in luxurious leather, alloys, and wood on the inside. Seating is 4+1, that plus one needing to scoot over so the boss can reach the champagne cooler located in the rear center armrest. The driver's seat is typical Bentley, with a minimum of info-tainment clutter and the trademark analog clock.
Bentley sees no disconnect in the product move, as they believe an SUV can play the part of a luxurious grand tourer just as well as an all-wheel drive sedan. And for those who want to balance excessive opulence with environmental responsibility, a V8 hybrid version is a distinct possibility... reducing your carbon-footprint from humongous down to merely huge.
The company will gauge customer response at Geneva before deciding on production. In other words, production is pretty much assured.