The Bentley EXP 9 F Concept SUV is making its round in the international motor show circuit. It first appeared at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show and has recently been unveiled at the 2012 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition.
China is now Bentley’s biggest market, ahead of the U.S. so it makes sense to bring the car to the country in order to gain public perception in the world’s fastest growing car market.
The EXP 9 F SUV will potential join Bentley’s current line up and will be the company’s first SUV. There are however a couple of hurdles for it to overcome before seeing the day of light. The biggest one is probably in the looks department. It is arguably the ugliest SUV we have ever come across.
In silhouette, the EXP 9 F seems to borrow its proportion from the Range Rover, which isn’t a bad thing as the lines are rather elegant. And then there is the face. It seems the guys at Bentley attached a human head to the body of a spider, which doesn’t seem to work on the SUV at all. The rear isn’t terribly successful either, with hardly any drama or excitement.
The second hurdle facing the EXP 9 F is gaining Volkswagen Group board approval for production. This is because the Bentley is competing against the just unveiled Lamborghini Urus, which is far better to look at and probably much faster.
Underneath the less than successful sheet metal lives Bentley’s 6.0-litre, twin-turbocharged W12 petrol engine, developing 600bhp (448kW) and 800Nm of torque. A range of other advanced powertrains is also under consideration, including a 500bhp (373kW), 4.0-litre V8 Twin Turbo and a V6 plug-in hybrid. Power is sent to all four wheels via an 8-speed close-ratio transmission.
Inside, Bentley’s exquisite craftsmanship is fused with the latest in-car technology. Traditional styling elements such as wood, leather and polished metals co-exist with a TFT ‘virtual’ instrumentation and another TFT screen on the centre of the dash for 3D navigation and various other functions.
There are even reversible luxurious silk wool floormats that are finished in durable, ribbed saddle leather on one side for use when the driver and passengers are dressed for the outdoors.
Rear seat passengers can chose between business mode, with generous legroom complete with fold-down keyboard and full internet connectivity via an iPad or tablet or a more reclined position with powered footrest, drinks table and an infotainment screen for movies. A removable Touch Pad located on the centre console controls the rear cabin climate control system and entertainment functions.
Since its debut in Geneva, and because of public reaction to the EXP 9 F’s styling, Bentley has promised to ‘refine’ the SUV’s design. So, watch this space for EXP 9 F Version 2.0.