Bentley EXP 9 F sport utility concept debuts at Geneva Motor Show

Andross Moonah - CAP staff
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In the automotive industry, manufacturers often feel the need to stray from tradition and build different kinds of vehicles in order to increase their market share. BMW did this by introducing the X5 sport utility vehicle and Porsche did the same when introducing its own sport utility, the Cayenne. Now Bentley Motors Limited, the world-renowned manufacturer of luxury sedans, coupes and convertibles, is considering building a sport utility vehicle as well. In order to garner public reaction from such an offering, Bentley has created the EXP 9 F concept vehicle, which is on display at this year's Geneva Motor Show.

"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." Said Wolfgang Dürheimer, chairman and chief executive officer of Bentley Motors."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."

Like Bentley's Mulsanne and various Continental models, the EXP 9 F is an imposing automobile. The concept sits on giant 23-inch alloy wheels and features Bentley's prominent matrix grille at the front end, while the rear features twin exhaust pipes and taillights inspired by fighter jet engines.

The interior offers opulent luxury with wood, leather and polished aluminum, bronze and gunmetal surfaces. These conventional luxury features are complemented by 3D navigation, a central touchscreen and a panoramic glass panel in the roof that was inspired by the roll cages of rally cars.

Amenities for rear seat passengers include full internet connectivity via tablet PC as well as a champagne compartment, drinks table and rear-facing monitors for watching movies. The rear seats also feature power-operated footrests and can be powered forward to allow for more cargo space in the rear.

Power for the EXP 9 F is supplied by a 6.0-litre, twin-turbocharged W12 engine that generates 600 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque, and comes mated to an 8-speed transmission. While this makes the EXP 9 F concept an immensely powerful machine, Bentley says that a production sport utility vehicle could use its 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 or even a hybrid powertrain instead.

With the EXP 9 F on display at the Geneva Motor Show, Bentley will be paying close attention to the reaction from potential customers before committing to a production sport utility vehicle. Bentley also plans to refine the concept in the future.

"A Bentley Grand Tourer doesn't necessarily have to be a coupé, a convertible or a saloon - it could equally well be an SUV. What's important is that it should be true to Bentley's brand values and in line with the desires and needs of our customers," said Alasdair Stewart, member of the board for Bentley.

©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: SUV, Bentley, 2012, EXP 9 F Concept,

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