It appears that Bentley has big plans with its upcoming SUV as Car magazine reports that the British manufacturer is planning to enter the 2013 Dakar with a production version of the EXP 9 F Concept. As expected, this move will be made to give its EXP 9 F a 4x4 motorsport pedigree in order to smoothe its arrival.
Same sources said that Volkswagen is currently buying back the Race Touaregs used in the Dakar and these vehicles will be updated in order to be ready for competition in early 2013. Although Bentley admitted that the upcoming SUV will not be as good as the Range Rover off-road, the Dakar will definitely help to promote the EXP 9 F.
The new vehicles which will be used in the 2013 Dakar will not reveal the final design of the upcoming SUV but will definitely drop hints of how the vehicle will look like. For those who don’t know, the Race Touaregs were powered by a 2.5-liter twin-turbo diesel engines delivering around 300 hp, while the Bentley SUV will run a twin-turbo 6.0-liter E12 delivering around 600 hp.
The production version will also use a twin-turbo V8 engine with 500 hp, as well as a plug-in hybrid version powered by a V6 engine. A V8 TDI engine is also under consideration.
From a designer's point of view, the EXP 9 F was a pet project and is a prime opportunity to make a totally different type of Bentley. From the very start, the group of designers already had a distinct vision for the latest SUV for the Bentley, as Director of Design Dirk Braeckel elaborates that the EXP 9 F had to stand for the best of all automobiles in the sport utility class, setting a new standard for this type of car. The style had to mirror Bentley's athletic style in spite of its totally different look and functionality along with a flowing body surface that keeps up with Bentley tradition.
A new series of Bentley made way for the design team to create a more advanced design approach. The body is a strong and dynamic statement, putting together a neat, masculine surface with character lines that are identifiable to a Bentley. But it still has kept its powerful and luxurious qualities.
Signature Bentley features like the round lamps, matrix grille and the sturdy power-line and haunch along every flank are redesigned for EXP 9 F. The 'hewn from solid' style language and advanced detailing, mark the strong identity of this elegant SUV.
The architects were encouraged not just by the more useful nature of the EXP 9 F but also by the 'unmistakable built' of the popular Blower Bentleys. For instance, the daytime running lights also function as the charge cooler air intakes for the two-turbo W12 engine, each one with an emotional, mesh-covered turbine fan style and 'rifled' surface finish inside.