The luxury SUV market continues to heat up. A market niche once owned by Range Rover is becoming mainstream. The success of the Porsche Cayenne, which among its awards is the Motor Trend 2011 SUV of the Year, and other models such as the BMW X5, have helped spur on other automakers and brands to introduce their own models, bringing forth new vehicle segments – ultra-performance and ultra-luxury SUVs.
SUVs Going Upscale
NewSUV.org previously previewed the forthcoming Maserati SUV, which will be known as the Kubang. There is also talk that Jaguar and Lamborghini also have models in the works. In fact, Lamborghini is unveiling its SUV concept at the 2012 Beijing Auto Show, which highlights the importance of the market for the Italian automaker.
Now British automaker Bentley has unveiled one of their own. A Bentley SUV, a concept called the EXP 9 F made its debut at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show. Volkswagen owns both Bentley and Lamborghini and the two models are expected to share parts. Watch the Bentley SUV’s debut below:
Serious Luxury, Serious Power
…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.”
-Wolfgang Dürheimer, Chairman and Chief Executive, Bentley Motors.
The Bentley SUV concept will be powered by the same 6.0-liter 553 horsepower twin-turbo charged Bentley Continental. A 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 and hybrid engines are being considered for the model.
The model also inherits the company’s styling cues, albeit in a much larger form and will sport 23” wheels. The EXP 9 F has three different driving modes: Comfort, Sport, and Off-Road, as an SUV costing over $200,000 will certainly be driven off-road.
Bentley will measure public reaction to the luxury all-wheel drive concept and determine whether or not to add an SUV model to its product lineup. The intent of the model is to blend the power, advanced technology, and hand crafted luxury of a Bentley with the space and versatility of an SUV.
An Ultra-Luxury SUV
The concept uses Bentley traditional handcrafted elements such as leather, wood, and polished materials. But this is not Grandpa’s SUV. The concept sports a bold appearance with a matrix grille and twin exhaust tailpipes. For the ultimate floor mat, the Bentley SUV’s are made of silk wool.
The EXP 9 F has a 4+1 seating arrangement with a rear armrest cooling compartment for champagne and glasses. The rear seats recline and have generous legroom. When not in use, the power rear seats can be moved forward for more rear cargo room.
Bentley will closely monitor customer and public reaction to its Bentley SUV concept. Based on its debut, this model needs a lot of work to meet the type of styling Bentley customers expect. A decision on whether or not to move into production will likely be made soon. If produced, the Bentley SUV’s release date would be no earlier than 2014.