The long-awaited Bentley SUV is finally revealed as the EXP 9 F Concept. And yes, it does look a bit weird.
Unveiled at the 2012 Geneva show, the concept car is powered by Bentley’s W12 engine, not the lesser V8, and features an 8 speed transmission. But none of that matters for now, because it’s just an experimental vehicle previewing the design of the new car.
Bentley is still not sure of what they want to do with it, and cautiously say the EXP 9 might herald a new model-line. They also say the design of the SUV is bold and dynamic, but we’re not really sure about the latter. It looks like a cathedral on wheels.
It does have character though. You instantly recognize this car as a Bentley, and probably think of the Mulsanne the moment you look at it. Key Bentley cues such as the matrix grille, round lamps and the strong power-line and haunch along each flank are reinterpreted for EXP 9 F. It is a refreshingly different prospect. We like it.
We also like the 23-inch alloy wheels with turbine design. There is actually a story behind them: “The multiple spokes are reminiscent of the shape of turbine fan blades while the centrally mounted wheel nut is a visual reference both to Bentley’s Le Mans racers of the 1920s with centre-lock spinner and to the single nut found on the modern-day Speed 8’s high-tech racing alloys.“
Bentley remains loyal to its traditional qualities inside the cabin as well. The lavish interior is made of handcrafted elements such as wood, leather and polished metals such as aluminium, bronze and gunmetal. It’s very luxurious, and it’s very British. We like its exquisite details such as the full-width, one-piece wood veneer on the dashboard, the two-piece tailgate like the Range Rover, and the bespoke picnic hampers.
It’s not all traditional stuff though, the EXP 9 also gets its fair share of modern features. For instance, it has a system that places key driver information such as 3D navigation in a central TFT panel, and it has selectable driving modes.
It’s a lovley car, but it does look weird!