Bentley’s product strategy team has given the go signal for the Falcon, its new SUV model. It will get a totally new design by Luc Donckerwolke, who was recently given the task to head the Flying B. The VW Group has put on hold its other pending luxury-car projects for a minimum of 12 months.
The models that were delayed include the Bentley Azure convertible, the Lamborghini Urus SUV, and the Bugatti Galibier sedan. On the other hand, Audi gave the go-signal to the Q8 high-end SUV. The coupe-like crossover is based on the long-wheelbase edition of the MLB platform that underpins the next-generation Audi Q7/Porsche Cayenne/VW Touareg.
It had such a good performance in clinic surveys that the marketing people have become optimistic that it will be able to increase the annual production volume estimate to 25,000 units. What will be the future of the A8 sedan has yet to be finalized. It’s possible that it would be either a sportier standard-wheelbase car with a more luxurious long-wheelbase derivative or a long-wheelbase model accompanied with a four-seat A9 coupe.
Those who are planning the products at Ingolstadt prefer option no. 2. Even if the A9 would only have sales of 3000 to 5000 units annually, a halo car is expected to give the brand a much-needed boost. It would be somewhat more affordable to build and it would go well with the model offerings that obviously favor the long-wheelbase A8 over the standard-wheelbase car, which is very similar to the A6L available in major markets such as China.
Every auto design team dreams of being able to create an entirely new model. The team at Bentley was able to do just that with the EXP 9 project. In fact, when given the task, the design team had a plan from the start on how to go about this new SUV from Bentley. Since this would be a new Bentley class, it meant that the team would be able to use a more progressive approach with regards to the design.
Thus while the exterior does have the Bentley qualities of power and luxury, the styling team managed to give it a more dynamic and forward statement by using signature character lines and combining it with the powerful and clean surfaces. As such, many of the familiar cues Bentley is known for are still there like the round lamps and the matrix grille. The strong power-line, as well as the haunch on each of its sides, also remains.
The main difference is that the features have been reinterpreted for this new model. This high-luxury SUV has a tough character highlighted by the use of innovative detailing and a design language that appears to have been fashioned out of a solid form.
In addition, the EXP 9 not only has features that are functional but also display a visible engineering that Blower Bentleys were known for. Of the many features, a good example is the openings of the daytime running lamps. What they do is charge the cooler air intakes of the twin-turbocharged W12 engine. Each of the openings is covered with a mesh that has a fan design while having the inner surface rifled finish.
Director of Design Dirk van Braeckel says that the team knew that the EXP 9 F needed to symbolize the heights of which the sporty utility segment could go. This is why the EXP 9 is able to set new standards for its class, he adds. He says further that despite a clearly different purpose and package, the new model had to have a style that would best represent the sporting quality of the brand. These are then combined with the flowing and sculptured surfaces in honor of Bentley’s tradition.