Bentley is offering a dramatic new Sport Utility Vehicle concept, EXP 9 F, at the Geneva International Motor Show. The Company’s designers and engineers have created a compelling new take on the Grand Touring Bentley – a vehicle that feels equally at home at an opera gala performance, on the sand dunes and the overtaking lane of the autobahn.
From a designer’s perspective, EXP 9 F was a dream project, the chance to create a completely new type of Bentley. A new class of Bentley allowed the styling team to adopt a more progressive design approach. The exterior is a bold, dynamic statement, combining clean, muscular surfaces with signature character lines, while retaining the qualities of luxury and power.
The interior of EXP 9 F expresses the resolution of apparent opposites in its use of materials, techniques and technology. Traditional handcrafted elements such as wood, leather and polished metals are used to create a sense of British luxury, yet the way they are used sets a fresh and contemporary interior ambience. Soft-touch leather contrasts with highly durable surfaces with the concept car design experimenting with the use of saddle leather for the seat backs, top roll and loadspace – while analogue bezels and dials are paired with TFT ‘virtual’ instrumentation. The upright dashboard design features a full-width, one-piece wood veneer with a subtly negative surface and instruments with a configurable display. The flowing roof design with a panoramic glass panel is inspired by the roll cages of rally cars, expressing both strength and lightness.
The EXP 9 F seating is 4+1, with a rear armrest lifting to reveal a cooled compartment for champagne and glasses. Rear seat passengers can chose between business mode, with generous legroom complete with fold-down keyboard and full internet connectivity via an iPad or tablet or a more reclined position with powered footrest, drinks table and an infotainment screen for movies. When the rear seats are not in use, they can be powered forward to create a larger loadspace for sports equipment or luggage. At the rear, the lower section of the two-piece tailgate may be used as a viewing bench or picnic table. Bespoke picnic hampers are stowed neatly to either side of the loadspace when not in use, but are located on rails for easy access. An awning extends over the tailgate to protect those seated there; two umbrellas fit either side of the rear luggage area for when the rain clouds sweep in.
The EXP 9 F concept is based around the Bentley 6.0 litre, twin-turbocharged W12 engine with an 8-speed transmission. The W12 6.0 litre powertrain could develop 600bhp and 800Nm of torque with key performance indicators like the top speed and 0-60mph sprint time all setting new benchmarks for the SUV sector. Three different driving modes – Comfort, Sport and Off-Road – are selectable according to the road conditions.
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. Bentley’s experience with the all-wheel drive Continental range makes the concept of an SUV a natural progression for the company. Customer and public reaction will be analysed following the unveiling of EXP 9 F at Geneva Motor Show, with the aim of refining the concept further.