The Bentley EXP 9F can do anything — it can tame lions, break hearts and apparently take on the world’s toughest off-road race: the Dakar Rally.
You’re reading right, at least for the racing part. The posh, prissy luxury SUV not meant for ordinary folk will be getting down and dirty with the off-roaders. Given any knowledge of the Dakar that idea probably seems ridiculous, but it’s true.
Despite not being green lit for production and being years from showrooms, Bentley seems eager to prove that its newest shrine to wealth has off-road cred. So just like a young kid proving his way into a street gang, the fledgling SUV will brave real-world danger — but before it’s ready?
No, probably not, but then again this isn’t likely to be much more than a stunt to fool rich fools into buying one later down the road. Nobody who spends money on an EXP 9F is taking it to Moab, that’s for sure, but it’s still nice to know they could if they ever completely lost it.
According to CAR, Bentley is already making moves to buy old Race Touregs from private teams. That, or the obvious link to VW’s modular architecture and the fact that tough trucks like the Amarok already handle the race would suggest that any such Bentley would just be a masquerading Volkswagen.
Expect to see new front and rear ends tacked on to what will probably look a little like the car we saw in Geneva, but not much. It isn’t clear if the Race Toureg’s 2.5-liter twin-turbo diesel engine will remain with 296 hp or if there will be something else worked in. The version shown in March had a 6.0-liter W12 engine, though a long list of others are being considered, including a hybrid and diesel powertrain.