AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
More than a month later, the luxury automaker is revealing engine details including possibilities that might come as a surprise. As might be expected, a 4.0-liter V8 version is being discusses, as is a 6.0-liter V12 to top the range, but the shocker here is that Bentley says it is considering a plug-in hybrid powertrain.
All three engine options are tentative to date, but the two traditional Bentley powerhouses are likely to live into production. If the automaker decides to roll out the third variant it would represent an entirely new direction for the company: an SUV, and a hybrid — both items that would be newcomers in the British marque’s line.
According to the company, the efficiency-minded powertrain would be based around a V6. We know that the V12 would offer 600 hp and 500 hp from the V8, but estimated horsepower figures for the hybrid system were absent. While there’s a chance the world could see such an EXP 9 F built, it seems more likely that the company is using its ostentatious and the attention it garners to signal possible future options across the board.
With tightening average fuel economy numbers becoming a greater issue for automakers like Bentley that have historically relied on gas-guzzling powerplants, it might make sense to start thinking of alternatives. Then again, it may very well be considering a hybrid SUV for China, it’s largest market.
We all know hindsight is 20/20, and we can’t help but wonder if Bentley had the opportunity to do it all over again if they would have chosen a different path.
In an interview with Motor Trend, CEO Wolfgang Durheimer explained that Bentley had a few options when he decided to expand the model range. Besides the SUV that we see here today, Bentley strongly considered another sports car – one that would be smaller and more pure than the Continental GT. Durheimer didn’t elaborate on the other options, but did say that the sports car even has a model sitting outside the office of Dirk van Braeckel, the company’s head of design.
As for how Durheimer feels with the SUV option? “In the end the SUV was a better idea. It sits above all its competition. The sports car would have had the Porsche 911 Turbo as opposition.” We guess Durheimer doesn’t really see the Cayenne as competition to its upcoming SUV model.
Regardless, we are interested to see what Bentley does to change the design of their SUV around to make it more… palatable.
GALLERY: Bentley EXP 9 F Concept
[Source: Motor Trend]
America aside, Bentley’s new SUV concept is an ostentatious look at a future SUV from the prestigious British brand targeted specifically at “emerging markets.”
There’s an increasing demand for extra pricey SUVs from countries like China, Brazil and India, as well as some traditional SUV hot spots like Russia and the Middle East. That said, considering the outrageous success of the Porsche Cayenne, calling the EXP a concept is all but a formality.
With a 4+1 seating arrangement and plenty of stunning quilted leather, the EXP is certain to provide tremendous luxury even in countries where the roads aren’t the best. It will, however, take some serious Bentley comfort engineering to maintain a soft ride on those massive 23-inch wheels.
Powered by the brand’s impressive twin-turbo 6.0-liter W12 engine, Bentley says it could also use a plug-in hybrid engine mated to the new 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8.
Watch our EXP 9 F first look video below.
GALLERY: Bentley EXP 9 F SUV Concept
Dubbed the EXP 9 F, the all-wheel drive luxury SUV is being displayed in concept form at the show powered by a 6.0L, twin-turbocharged W12 engine mated to an eight-speed transmission. A 4.0L twin-turbocharged V8 and plug-in hybrid variant is also in development according to Bentley. The British automaker hopes to add the SUV as a third model line alongside the Mulsanne and Continental ranges.
“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. 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,” said Wolfgang Dürheimer, Chairman and Chief Executive of Bentley Motors.
The EXP 9 F Concept’s styling is unmistakably Bentley with plenty of Mulsanne-styling influences prevalent. The concept sports massive 23-inch wheels while the rear lights of the vehicle have been heavily influenced “by the forms and details of fighter jet engines.”
And as expected, the interior of the EXP 9 F SUV is packed with plenty of luxury and refinement. It will feature a 4 + 1 seating configuration with a rear armrest that can lift up to reveal a cooled compartment for champagne and glasses.
Bentley will be observing the customer and public reaction of the SUV concept at the Geneva Motor Show in hopes to refine the concept further and ultimately make a commitment to production. We’re a little bit on the fence on the SUV’s styling based on these images, but we’ll take a closer look once the cover comes off at the show.