EXP 9 F Concept could become Bentley’s third model lineup

Article by Christian Andrei, on March 9, 2012

The SUV concept -- the all-wheel-drive EXP 9 F prototype -- that Bentley brought to the 2012 Geneva Auto Show could be in its third model lineup. What powers it is the 6.0-liter, W-12 gasoline engine that comes from the Volkswagen Group subsidiary.

However, Bentley is thinking about offering hybrid power for the first time. He explained that since many Bentley customers already own SUVs, he said that Bentley has the expertise and the motivation to reach targets. In a statement, Bentley CEO Wolfgang Duerheimer said that with the EXP 9 F, Bentley is making a “clear statement of intent” to meet expectations.

In an interview with Automotive News Europe, Duerheimer said that Bentley’s strategy is centered on widening its product portfolio by adding an SUV. He added that the concept features the trademark matrix grille and round headlights. It also gets details such as the central wheel nuts for the 23-inch alloy wheels, reminiscent of the Bentley Le Mans racecars in the 1920s. The cabin materials used for the vehicle ange from wood to gunmetal combine "luxury with utility." It has as 4+1 eating.

It has reclining rear seats and its seats slid forward to offer more trunk space. The lower half of the split tailgate is designed as an impromptu picnic bench. Two hampers slide out on rails while an awning offers weather protection.

Earlier this year, Duerheimer old Automotive News Europe that sales of a Bentley SUV could hit the 25,00-mark with a total of 25,0000 in total. It has "conservative" annual predictions of 3,500 to 5,000. He estimated the car could be on sale within three years. The high emand for SUVs in China is behind the creation of superluxury crossovers.

Bentley’s EXP 9 F, from the designers’ perspective, was a dream project. It was a chance for them to create a new type of Bentley. They had a clear vision for the carmaker’s new SUV from the very beginning.

According to Dirk van Braeckel, Bentley Director of Design, the EXP 9 F was envisioned to represent the pinnacle of the SUV sector as well as to establish a new benchmark for sports utility vehicles. Its style, he added, had to reflect the carmaker’s athletic character despite its dramatically different package and to convey its purpose with its sculptured and fluid surfaces, keeping with the tradition of the Bentley.

A new class of vehicles from Bentley allowed the company’s styling team to employ a more progressive approach to its design. The exterior of the EXP 9 F is a dynamic and bold statement, combining clean and muscular surfaces with character lines, while also retaining the luxury and power – both qualities possessed only by a pure Bentley.

What’s more, the ECP 9 F reinterpreted key Bentley characteristics such as its matrix grille, its round lamps, and its strong power line as well as a haunch along each flank. Moreover, the luxury SUV’s hewn-from-solid design language as well as its innovative detailing underscores its robust character.

Bentley designers were also inspired not just by the EXP 9 F’s more functional nature but also by the famous Blower Bentleys’ 'visible engineering.' For instance, the SUV’s day-time running lamp apertures act as the twin-turbo W12 engine’s charge cooler air intakes, each with a mesh-covered turbine fan design as well as 'rifled' inner surface finish.

Additionally, the SUV’s turbine theme continues with its striking 23-inch alloy wheels, which were designed to complement the sculptured coachwork. Moreover, its multiple spokes bear a resemblance to the turbine fan blades’ shape. Its centrally mounted wheel nut, on the other hand, represents a visual reference to Bentley's 1920s Le Mans racers with center-lock spinner and to the single nut on the Speed 8's high-tech racing alloys.

Topics: bentley, suv, lineup

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