W.O. Bentley insisted that any car made by the company that bore his name should be “a good car, a fast car, and the best in its class”. This led to the creation, in 1919, of the first EXP (short for Experimental) concept that “embody the spirit of innovation that has guided the company ever since”.
Though we doubt that Bentley's founder had an SUV in mind, the British luxury carmaker, which now belongs to the VW Group's empire, has revealed exactly that in the form of the EXP 9 F that made its debut at the Geneva Motor Show today.
Chairman and CEO of Bentley Motors, Wolfgang Duerheimer, said at the press conference: “This is truly a historic moment for Bentley. In Geneva we are adding another chapter to this amazing story with the launch of the EXP 9 F with which we are moving in new territory for Bentley, just as we did in 2002 with the Continental GT.”
Under the approving eyes of none other than VW Group mastermind Ferdinand Piech, Duerheimer added that his company’s vision is to establish a “pinnacle” in the rapidly expanding SUV segment.
He also stated that Bentley’s designers and engineers have created a car that “feels equally at home in America or China, the sand dunes of the Middle East or the left lane of the Autobahn”, pointing out the new model’s main markets.
Since most of the brand’s customers already have an SUV parked alongside their Bentley(s) in their garages, Duerheimer feels confident that for many of them a Bentley SUV would be “a natural choice”.
Purists may whine all they want, but rich customers may already be lining up in Bentley dealerships to sign on the dotted line.