News : Bentley EXP 9 F Concept shown at Geneva

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

Octane magazine

Striking isn’t it? Bentley’s EXP 9 F concept is clear proof that SUV owners looking for an upgrade will soon be able to walk into their Bentley showrooms and get what is – currently – the ultimate example of the breed. As for who Bentley is building this car for – one only needs to look to the USA and Middle East, where the success over the past decade of the Porsche Cayenne is clar evidence that in this day and age, manufacturers are unafraid to do something completely different.

And Bentley’s aim for the inevitable production version (assuming post show clinics are a success) is to build the world’s fastest (in terms of maximum top speed) SUV, and sell it for around £150,000 in today’s money.

As for the car itself, it’s powered by a twin-turbo 6.0 W12 engine producing 592bhp and 590lb ft, and rides on immense 23in alloys. What they successfully do is mask the size of the car – it’s larger than a Range Rover – and soften the car’s boxy proportions.

inside it’s as you would expect for any car wearing the Bentley badge – so it’s packed with high grade wood and top quality leather. Even the flooring is covered with the stuff instead of the more traditional Wilton carpeting. It’s also huge, and has as much rear legroom as the larger Mulsanne – for considerably less outlay.

[Source: Octane magazine]

 

And here’s one they made earlier: Bentley Dominator

The Bentley Dominator was a four-wheel drive SUV, commissioned in 1994 by the Sultan of Brunei. Bentley would eventually produce six Dominators for the Sultan, each with identical specification but different colour schemes. Exact details of the car are very sketchy – but we do know that Bentley borrowed heavily from the Range Rover for the four-wheel drive hardware, and that one Dominator was finished in bright Royal Yellow, with two others in metallic grey and bright red.

The Dominator is one of a host of specials which the Sultan ordered in the early-1990s to essentially keep Bentley from bankruptcy. The cost of the project was estimated at £3,000,000 per car. Knowledge of the Dominator only entered into the public domain after Autocar published a story using scoop photographs of two Dominators being loaded onto a jet destined for Brunei.

Read more: Bentley Dominator – Wikicars

Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

58 Comments

  1. the first picture EXP9f looks suspiciusly Audi-ish, the red car in the second picture looks like a VDP Allegro has been dropped onto a land cruiser.alex

  2. Will this be based on the new Q7 platform? I need to see it from other angles – I have no problem with it conceptually, it will be among the ‘fastest lorries in the world’ after all; but I do have a problem if it doesn’t look ‘right’. The Dominator shows it can be done.

    Who’s going to be the first to track one of the latter down for a two test then….?

  3. a kind of upmarket Nissan Murano – not much Bentley tradition in this, unlike the Mulsanne or the Continental. It will sell, though.

  4. Why wouldn’t you just buy a top spec Range Rover? This is positively awful and just as the Cayenne will never be seen as a real Porsche rather than a chavved up bling wagon, this Bentley will be short lived and rarely seen.

  5. Oh great, yet another usless posing pouch for those with far too much money. It will be just like all the other German 4X4s, totally useless off road and just a way of saying ‘I’ve more money than sence’

  6. I’m sure it will be a success, as there are enough super rich people out there. I hate to imagine the fuel consumption though…

  7. Truly hideous. I like the styling of the Mulsanne and Continental, but this is just embarrassing.

    Also, what’s the point of this when VAG already have the Q7, the Cayenne and (allegedly) a new Lamborghini SUV in development? Chrysler has a new Jeep Grand Wagoneer in development and JLR is set to launch a new Range Rover. Does this monstrosity have a hope in hell against the SUV leaders?

    Thank God BMW isn’t frittering away the Rolls-Royce brand equity like VAG is doing with Bentley. And to think, the Veyron could have been a Bentley…

  8. Gaw, I think I did a little sick in my mouth. This challenges the Ford Scorpio and the Allegro Vanden Plas as being the most ugly ever car ever ever.

    The interior looks utterly lovely, however. Leather carpets. It’s like Skin 2 all over again!

  9. Should be a criminal offence to own one.

    I’m not anti-gas guzzler. Every day I see a Lamborghini I smile. This thing has no earthly purpose.

    “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should”

  10. I can see Swiss Tony in that.
    I’m surprised, it still looks Bentley-like. I was expecting them to put a slanting nose on it like the Conti GT. It’s not that bad. It could have been a LOT more ostentatious than that. 150 grand seems reasonable when you think how much Rolls charge for their products…don’t like the leather carpets either though, Jon R.
    I’ll be getting one…in ten years time when it’s worth 50p 😉
    I’d still rather have a Rover 800 though!

  11. This should go down well in Singapore, where they wrap mattresses in leather (I guess, to keep insects out).
    I never thought I’d say this about a Slow Unwieldy Vehicle, but it’s actually quite elegant.
    Probably big enough to warrant its own doorbell and satnav dish, mind.
    If there are mugs out there who want to spend the value of my house on a device to eliminate petrol, we (GBplc) should take their money. And buy oil company shares.

  12. If the Range Rover is going even further upmarket, will anyone, even the ultra-rich, want it?

    Question of the day: this or the Lagonda SUV from a few years ago?

  13. Style v Taste …. it’s a 2-faced pug if you ask me ….. a bad day at Picnic Rock …. Bentley have outdone that er’ Lagonda ‘masterpiece’

  14. Christ on a bike.

    That thing is Vulgar, with a capital V.

    A chavvy blingy gangsta premiership football special.

    It’ll sell like hotcakes.

  15. … I actually think it’s kinda good looking from the back.. and the profiles kinda cool with the haunches to the back.. but the face? I’d kinda hoped the Mulsanne ugliness was a one off.. not so lucky, it seems..

    I still like it… And I think the “it’s not a traditional Bentley” comments are a bit harsh.. Car manufactories move on.. It’s still a high class luxury car.. not like they’ve made a Defender rival, is it…. Bentley make luxury cars that their customers want.. And they still are with this.. is anything, it’s very traditional.

  16. Being a fan of the Lagonda marque I was very disappointed with the SUV concept, but regardless of better or worse looks, I’d say that exercise was less brand-violating than this one. And considering the previously mentioned Volkswagen Group stablemates, I don’t really see the point financially.

  17. “the Porsche Cayenne is clar evidence that in this day and age, manufacturers are unafraid to do something completely different.”

    Well this is hardly different, being as it IS just a Porsche Cayenne/Audi Q7/VW Toureg with (another) facelift and badge.

    Oddly the Toureg platform seems to get increasingly ugly the more you pay for it.

  18. On second thought “violating” might be a bit strong, but I still think it’s brand-compromising. Some of the detailing I actually like, mostly interior-wise and the picnic boot, but my spontaneous reaction to its presence took me straight back to the horror of the Jaguar SUV rumours.

  19. This is a good idea. I personally would not but one if I could afford to but there is a global market for this car.

    Bentley are in business to make money and are catering for market demands.

    Often in the past British car companies would build a car and then see if anyone actually wanted to buy it. Look where that ended!

  20. Was this based on a drawing someone did 1989? Looks horribly old-hat, crude, vulgar and American. It’ll probably do very well.

  21. I find it quite funny that people think this is brand compromising. Bentley were originally the fastest truck maker in the world (bugatti’s words), but were changed to make slightly less ostenatgous versions of the Rolls, then transported into becoming the bling machines of the rich and not so terriably famous! Car manufacturers are looking for more ways to get bucks out of a product. This is is just a touran with a hand assembled interior, and helps spread the cost. This will attract peope who originally bought the vile modified versions of the Range Rover and Cayenne (yes they are even more disgusting) and won’t probaby distract from their normal Q8 and Porsche sales!.

  22. Wouldnt be seen dead in one, but its a no brainer for Bentley. Inevitably there will be a ready market for this car and it will cost buttons to develop using an Audi/Porsche platform. Remember the sort of people who will buy this car will be very rich, probably wont have beards and wont go anywhere near this website!

  23. A truly dreadful car that does nothing to enrich the desirability of the Bentley brand beyond footballers and chavvy celebrities. What a shame.

    I would personally stick with the Range Rover any day, should funds permit one to endulge in such an expensive extravagance. Sorry, Bentley, just scrap the idea and instead concentrate on producng luxury saloons that still exude a certain ‘Britishness’ rather than being increasingly seen as blinged up Volkswagens. I have driven a Bentley (for half a day only) and loved it, but don’t want to see that special character diluted in the quest to follow fads.

  24. “I find it quite funny that people think this is brand compromising. Bentley were originally the fastest truck maker in the world (bugatti’s words), but were changed to make slightly less ostenatgous versions of the Rolls, then transported into becoming the bling machines of the rich and not so terriably famous!”

    I’m not sure they were less ostentatious, they were just more sporting versions of the Rolls-Royce. Bentley’s original sales mantra was “the silent sports car”.

    nb. Personally i prefer to use the name Rolls-Royce, rather than Rolls, we shouldn’t forget the legend that was Henry Royce, the engineer that designed and gifted the PV-12 Merlin engine to the nation (out of his own pocket).

  25. @ Dennis:

    I guess that is how the Bentley brand has evolved, rightly or wrongly.

    I personally find the more understated appeal of the Rover 75 and the simplicity of the current Range Rover’s lines more my thing these days.

  26. @ Big H:

    Land Rover currently does make a “high performance car” in the form of the Range Rover Sport 5-litre Supercharged Autobiography and the Range Rover 5-litre Supercharged Autobiography, both of which produce approximately 510Ps. Do they currently need to better this?

  27. It’s not my cup of tea…

    But the world has moved on, and while demand for subtle luxury saloons is fairly stagnant – the new XJ hasn’t been a great success for Jaguar – the demand for blingy SUVs is massive, and if that’s what customers are demanding, then you can hardly blame Bentley/VW for trying to serve this market.

  28. I wonder what JC will say about it – bearing in mind his thoughts on the way that Range Rover has been going…

  29. @ Dennis – I said Rolls as an abbreviation of the RR. Henry was the genius behind the company! The less ostentatis bit was a quote that both Quentin Wilson and Jeremy Clarkson said. That Bentleys were the silent sports car was a bit of a joke other than the original Continetal and the mad turbo charging in the 80’s.

  30. Ghastly of course, but inevitable.

    Unlike the Lagonda SUV, I don’t expect the forces of good taste to prevail and the EXP 9F to be withdrawn from the stand before the masses are allowed into the Geneva Salon.

    Nobody seems to have mentioned the rather interesting Infiniti Emerg-e hybrid supercar concept also being shown at Geneva. Almost entirely British in design and construction (unlike the Bentley, I’d reckon), with that Lotus range extender triple making another appearance.

  31. “That Bentleys were the silent sports car was a bit of a joke other than the original Continetal and the mad turbo charging in the 80′s.”

    I’m not sure what you mean by a joke? After all in the 1930’s Bentley won Le Mans, they were clearly sports cars. When Rolls-Royce took them over they did gradually become simply rebadged Rolls-Royce models, i mean i would hardly call the Bentley S3 (Silver Cloud) sporting, they did go back to their sports roots from the 1980’s onwards though.

  32. “I said Rolls as an abbreviation of the RR. Henry was the genius behind the company!”

    I wasn’t having a go, although Rolls is actually longer than the already abbreviated R.R. I agree Sir Henry was the genius and founded a whole new doctrine in engineering.

  33. It’s a no brainer for the global markets but this concept is hideous. Have tried all angles and, admittedly am no designer, but hell’s teeth and heavens to Betsy please god no!

  34. I was looking at it on a motoring tabloid website out of curiosity (like a car crash, can’t help but stare), and it hit me what the inspiration was.

    The FX4 taxi.

    The tall stance, the round headlights and formal grille.

    The bonnet lines that flow back and especially that rear wheelarch line is from the classic London cab.

  35. In the flesh it’s worse! The man from Pym’s lane said it was built for the emerging Chinese market, and thinks the Russians will lap it up too. Beautifull inside, truly fabulous.

  36. Oh dear, I think my digestive system just reversed direction.

    The top photo has clearly taken its styling cues from PC gamer’s loudly modded computer cases- no doubt those ‘fan inlets’ below the headlights emit customisable LED illumination…

    As for the Sultan of Brunei’s unhappily ‘blinged up’ London taxis- the less said the better.

    No doubt the interor was smeared with glue and attacked with a gatling gun loaded with Svarofski crystals (this always guarantees that a dubious offering can be presented by fawning toadies to the ‘discerning rich’).

    If you have to ask ‘how much’? then you probably wouldn’t want it anyway…

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