The design studios of Bentley have created a production-ready sports car that’s smaller and purer than the Continental GT. One of Wolfgang Durheimer’s first moves when he became Bentley CEO in February 2011 was to expand the range from its existing pair of platforms back then -- the Mulsanne and the Continental/Flying Spur.
The executives looked at numerous options, such as the high-end SUV that became the EXP 9 F Concept and a sports car. Durheimer told Motor Trend that there were two other options being considered but he declined to name those. He explained that designers were excited to build the sports car. He said that the model could still be seen outside of the office of Dirk van Braeckel, Bentley’s head of design.
He said that they later concluded that the SUV would be better since it would be better than all of its rivals. Building the sports car would have meant that it will go up against the Porsche 911 Turbo.
Durheimer would certainly know how formidable this opponent is since he had served as Porsche’s R&D chief until 2011. Nevertheless, he thinks that if ever Bentley decides to add to its range again, it’s possible that the next model would be a sports car.
EXP 9 F is a new type of Bentley. For this dream project, the design team had a clear vision in mind right from the very beginning. Director of Design Dirk Van Braeckel said that the EXP 9 F should represent the sport utility sector. The style was intended to be on the sporty side, which is a trademark of Bentley.
New Bentley enables the styling team to come up with a more progressive approach in designing. The exterior detail is a combination of a clean and muscular surfaces. It still has the signature character lines and other qualities that exude luxury and power, a trademark of Bentley. Other classic details retained for the EXP 9 F include the matrix grille, round lamps, and the power-line and haunch in each flank. With these innovative details and solid design, this new Bentley is expected to make waves as a high luxury SUV.
The functional nature of the EXP 9 F, including its visible engineering, has inspired the designers. An example is the day-time running lamp apertures that at the same time act as a charge cooler air intakes for the twin turbo W12 engine. Each comes with a mesh covered turbine fan and a rifled inner surface.
The turbine theme has 23-inch alloy wheels, multiple spokes that resemble the shape of the turbine fan blades, a central mounted wheel nut that looks the same as the 1920s Bentley’s Le Mans racers, and a single nut common on the modern-day Speed 8’s high-tech racing alloy.