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The Bentley EXP 9 F Concept SUV - What were they thinking?

By Rigval on 15 Mar 2012

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Bentley has decided to try jump onto the SUV bandwagon with the Bentley EXP 9 F Concept. The SUV concept vehicle was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show and boasts a 6.0liter W12 engine coupled with Bentley's all-wheel drivetrain, a 300km/h top speed and an estimated £150,000 price tag if and when it goes into production.

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Bentley is aiming to position the EXP 9 F at the very top of the luxury SUV market. It wants it to be the most prestigious, fastest and the most expensive SUV money can buy. This basically means that it will be more expensive than the Range Rover, the Porsche Cayenne Turbo and the Audi Q7. But I have to add that if Bentley does bring the EXP 9 F into production, it is going to be the ugliest luxury SUV that money can buy.

Bentley CEO Wolfgang Dürheimer was the chap who pushed the Porsche Cayenne SUV into production when he was at Porsche about ten years ago. That time, he proved right as the Porsche Cayenne is Porsche’s best-selling model to date. This time, he aims to do the same thing with Bentley, bringing the luxury car brand into uncharted waters. This is a very reasonable step as most of us can see people buying luxury SUVs left, right and center. The project hasn't met with the Bentley board approval as yet but there is a high chance they will do so, if the response towards the vehicle is positive.

But in my opinion the SUV is quite horrid. This is especially when viewed from the front. It marries the Bentley Mulsanne's front end with a rear hatchback and a raised platform. The SUV looks like a Range Rover with the rear arches from the Continental GT when viewed from the rear three-quarter angle. I personally think EXP 9 F looks like a London Taxi running on big wheels and a Bentley grille instead of looking all posh and grand. The horizontal front grille seems out of place with the car. If the designers actually took the design cues from the Bentley Continental Flying Spur as a starting point it would look like a better Bentley SUV.

Now Bentley claims the EXP 9 F was a rush programme and that they actually chose the 'sportier' version to be built. I agree that this must have been a rush programme as it does look like they plonked on a Bentley grille and the rear arches on a Range Rover (or a London Taxi). And if this was the sportier version, I wonder how the less sporty version actually looked like. It must have been truly scary. One that would make children cry after taking a glance at it.

What are the designers at Bentley thinking?

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Written by Rigval
Born in 1972. Married with a kid. Loves B-road drives and have driven cars from the 1950s to date.

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