No one was expecting a styling miracle from Bentley when the company revealed its intentions to build an over-the-top SUV, but the awkwardly named EXP 9 F study that will be displayed at the Geneva Motor Show might be seen as some as having an even more awkward looking appearance.
The full-size luxury SUV concept, which looks very close to production in these images, infuses Bentley's traditional styling cues such as the Mulsanne's bold fascia and the heavily arched rear fenders to a shape that closely resembles the Range Rover. Of course, this isn't something you'll hear from Bentley's design team.
"The EXP 9 F had to represent the absolute pinnacle of the sport utility sector, setting a new benchmark for this type of vehicle," says Dirk van Braeckel, Director of Design at Bentley. "The style had to reflect Bentley’s sporting character despite its radically different package and purpose together with sculptured, flowing surfaces in keeping with the Bentley tradition.”
As you would expect, the prototype's interior, which features a 4+1 seating layout with a rear armrest lifting to reveal a cooled compartment for champagne and glasses, is sumptuous, to say the least.
“The challenge for the interior design team was to create a cabin which provides a blend of luxury and utility," Braeckel explains. "The result is a light and airy environment with a commanding view of the road and a versatile layout which showcases Bentley’s craft and design language in an innovative and contemporary way."
Bentley doesn't provide any information on the EXP 9 F's underpinnings, but the chassis will most likely be shared with either the current or the next generation of the Porsche Cayenne, Audi Q7 and VW Touareg triplets.
What Bentley did reveal today is that the study is based around its 6.0-liter, twin-turbocharged W12 engine with an 8-speed transmission, which it says could produce 600bhp and 800Nm (590 lb-ft) of torque in this application.
Bentley added that the company’s recently launched 4.0-liter, twin-turbocharged V8 or a hybrid drivetrain could also be offered on the production model.