Bentley has started its project for a redesigned version of its EXP 9 F, which had debuted at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show. A Bentley insider talked to What Car? and described the styling of the Exp 9 F as ‘a little heavy handed’. There was also some talk about an alternative design. The source said that the redesigned EXP 9 F features were ‘more traditional SUV proportions and less retro surfacing’.
Bentley will keep the large round headlights and foglights but the headlights will seem to be slightly smaller and will be set even farther inward. Of course, the EXP 9 F isn’t officially a concept car, but company boss Wolfgang Durheimer told What Car? that a production version is expected to start selling in 2015.
Bentley believes that this SUV is targeted at its markets in China, Russia and the Middle East in mind, with a long wheelbase so that it could acquire a limousine-like rear legroom. This is based on a platform that is expected to be used on numerous VW Group’s bigger SUVs, including the next Audi Q7 and Porsche Cayenne. The EXP 9 F show car is powered by Bentley’s W12 petrol engine, delivering about 600bhp, also comes with an eight-speed automatic gearbox. [source: What Car?]
For the members of the design team, being part of the EXP 9 F project can be likened to a dream come true. This was because it allowed them to make a new Bentley. Because of this, the team was able to implement a design approach that can be termed as radical. Thus, the exterior brings with it a dynamic and strong statement, mixed in with the trademarked character lines of the brand and the powerful and clean surfaces.
All of these contribute to the qualities Bentley is known for, like power and luxury. The exterior reveals a number of cues associated with the brand including the round lamps and the matrix grille. Then there are the haunches on each side and the strong power-line. One difference though is that all of these have been reinterpreted especially for the EXP 9 F.
Highlighting the fact that this luxurious SUV has that strong personality are the novel detailing and hewn from solid design DNA. The design team through did not limit itself to making the EXP 9 F more functional but also gave it the visible engineering that the Blower Bentleys are renowned for. Take the daytime running lamps, for example. Its openings mean that it helps the cooler air intakes equipped for the twin-turbocharged W12 engine. Each of the apertures has the turbine fan mesh-covered design having a rifled finish on the inner surface.
This same turbine theme can be seen on the alloy 23-inch wheels and complements how the coachwork has been sculptured. Specifically, the wheels have multiple spokes that bring to mind how the fan blades of the turbine are shaped. Meanwhile the wheel nut that has been centrally mounted serves as a throwback the center-lock spinners of the Le Mans racers during the 1920s.
It even references the single nut seen on many of today’s advanced racing alloys from the Speed 8. According to Director of Design Dirk van Braeckel, this was possible since the design team knew what it wanted to happen for the new SUV for Bentley. He added that the EXP 9 F symbolizes the best when it comes to the sport utility class as it manages to bring in new standards for its segment.
Commenting further, van Braeckel said that even with a different purpose and package, the design had to show the sporting quality of the Brand. This is why it has those flowing and sculptured surfaces that Bentley is celebrated for.