Bentley says its controversial 2012 Geneva motor show concept, the Bentley EXP 9F, will evolve its design before being confirmed for production.
The Bentley EXP 9F SUV has been one of the big talking points of Europe’s first major motor show of the year, but the British luxury brand’s head of design, Dirk van Braeckel, says the concept is designed to create a reaction.
“[This concept] is our first hit at [creating a Bentley SUV],” the Belgian designer (pictured below with the concept) told CarAdvice in an exclusive interview. “I’m sure people will like it, [but] people will [also] find it controversial in certain areas. “And that’s a reason why the vehicle has already been a success.
We hope Bentley goes a bit further and just starts from scratch, dumping the sedan-ified SUV look entirely. If Bentley is bound and determined to sell an SUV, it should come up with something distinctive for the brand that doesn't just ape the classic look of its car line.
Naturally, the 9F comes with a 12-cylinder engine, although Bentley’s Peter Guest was quick to note a plug-in hybrid would be an option, were the behemoth to make it into production. Bentley is currently gauging reception from the few hundred people in the world who a.) would want a Bentley SUV and b.) could afford it.
The 9F feels terribly wrong on all levels until you sit in on a few press conferences with luxury automakers who say the United States remains their largest market, but China isn’t far behind. Maserati, for instance, already sells half as many Maserati GranTurismos in China as they do in the states. And Bentley, which saw a banner year in 2011, enjoys particularly brisk sales in China.
So from that perspective, the 9F makes a ton of sense (more like four tons, given the car’s dimensions). It’s perfect for a violently nouveaux riche market. It’s big, it’s brash and it’s completely obvious, a Continental GT on steroids.source:autoblog.com,caradvice.com.au,wired.com