2012 Geneva Auto ShowJust the Facts:
- Bentley is testing the waters with its luxury SUV concept, the EXP 9 F.
- The EXP 9 F is described by the company as "the Grand Touring Bentley."
- The EXP 9 F is designed to accommodate a wide range of power plants, from a hybrid gas-electric drivetrain to a twin-turbo 600-horsepower 6.0-liter W12.
GENEVA — Bentley is testing the waters at the 2012 Geneva Auto Show with its luxury SUV concept, the EXP 9 F, which is designed to accommodate a wide range of power plants, from a hybrid gas-electric drivetrain to a twin-turbo 600-horsepower 6.0-liter W12 with eight-speed automatic transmission.
Bentley CEO Wolfgang Dürheimer, in a statement, said: "We are very excited by the potential of a high-performance, ultra-luxury Bentley SUV. We know that many Bentley customers already own SUVs, admiring their style, luxury, performance and versatility. With EXP 9 F, Bentley is making a clear statement of intent that we have both the expertise and desire to meet and exceed their expectations."
Design boss Dirk van Braeckel and his team have lifted a number of styling cues from the Continental and the Mulsanne, so that the EXP 9 F looks like a Bentley — albeit an ungainly Bentley — from nearly every viewing angle.
The big SUV rides on massive 23-inch wheels and tires and features a panoramic glass roof, twin elliptical exhaust pipes and a split two-piece tailgate.
Inside, the EXP 9 F is all business — or leisure, depending on your taste. The 4+1 cabin is trimmed in both soft-touch and saddle leather, wood veneers and polished aluminum, bronze and gunmetal. Bentley also has combined traditional analog dials with reconfigurable "virtual" instrumentation and advanced features such as 3D navigation.
The rear-seat occupants are treated to such amenities as a fold-down keyboard and full Internet connectivity via an iPad, a powered footrest, a drinks table and an infotainment screen for movies, as well as a rear armrest that lifts to reveal a cooled compartment for champagne and glasses.
Want to take your luxury off-roader on a shooting party in the country? Bentley has thoughtfully designed the lower section of the two-piece tailgate to serve as either a picnic table or viewing bench, with bespoke picnic hampers and umbrellas stowed on rails on either side, plus a retractable awning that extends over the tailgate.
The company said the EXP 9 F "represents the chance to take Bentley values of design, craftsmanship and engineering excellence into what would be — literally — new terrain for the brand," adding that it will be "listening carefully to the reaction of potential customers throughout the world, prior to making any definitive commitment to production."
Edmunds.com says: Isn't Bentley a few years late to this party?