The Fact that Bentley has decided to create an SUV should have been no surprise to anyone out there as we have seen this trend multiple times over the past 10 years. The most surprising would have to have been when Porsche decided create the Cayenne, which has turned out very well for them and has resulted in the Brand as many SUVs as sports cars.
According to the press release what Bentley has tried to do with the EXP 9 F concept SUV is to infuses their traditional luxury car styling cues. In this respect they have been successful however what they have ended up with is a Range Rover Sized Bentley Mulsanne that has been stretched sky wards and looks no more sexy or sleek then someone on Rodeo Drive who has decided to remove their forehead wrinkles by raising their hair line by an inch. When you see them walking down the street your mind tells you that something is odd and not right and after about 30 seconds of staring directly at them you finally can pin point the problem.
The same is with the EXP 9 F concept as you walk up to it and think hmmm what a strange looking Bentley. You can pop the hood and see the expected 6.0-liter W12 twin turbocharged engine that feeds its power through and 8-speed transmission to all four wheels. You then pier into the cabin and see the all of the high end leathers and upholstery, combined with the real wood inlays and rifled metallic knobs and switches. If you close your eyes at this point after seeing these classic Bentley traits you will be impressed with the EXP 9 F, however if you don’t close your eyes and take 4 steps backwards to view the exterior design you will be left with more questions than answers.
Questions like who designed those rims and why are there so many little aluminum spokes? Did the C & C machine breakdown while they were being made? Why are the tail pipes 5 inches wide with rifle marks? And why have they been molded right into the bumper in one large strip of metal? If you manage to make it around to the front of this concept SUV you may ask when did Bentley start producing cars with vertical headlights? It may also lead you to ask why is the Center wire mesh grill then flanked by two smaller wire mesh air intakes? Isn’t that where the second set of lights should be placed? We could ask about the side inlets that precede the front doors or the roof spoiler, however we will spare you all since I think we have made our point.
These are all questions that were not answered at the Geneva Auto Show or in Bentley press release however they are floating around in our minds and we have a burning desire to seek out the answers. One question that was answered was that the company’s recently launched 4.0-liter, twin-turbocharged V8 or a hybrid drivetrain could also be developed to be included in the SUV if the model makes it into production. Strangely Bentley didn’t provide any information on the EXP 9 F’s platform/underpinnings or which components will be borrowed from its brand stalemates who would be the Porsche Cayenne, Audi Q7 and VW Touareg triplets.
So back to our original question; should they build this Monster and toss their hat into the luxury SUV segment? We think not but we also think that Aston Martin should not be selling a city run about based off of a Toyota IQ and then do so really what do we know about the car biz? I can say that we do know that we would never buy a Cygnet or EXP 9 F, if Bentley ever decides to bring them to market.