Bentley’s EXP 9 F, Again

Bentley, the vehicle manufacturer that provides cars with a taut voluptuousness like the Continental GT. . . . . . took the opportunity early last week to provide roll out still again the EXP 9 F, its sport utility vehicle concept, at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Bentley, the vehicle manufacturer that provides cars with a taut voluptuousness like the Continental GT. . .

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. . . took the opportunity early last week to provide roll out still again the EXP 9 F, its sport utility vehicle concept, at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Given that it is powered by a twin-turbo W12 engine—which, the company says, “could develop 600 bhp and 800 Nm of torque”—the vehicle would undoubtedly be fast. For a massive SUV.

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At its unveiling at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year, Bentley design director Dirk van Braeckel said of the EXP 9 F, “The style had to reflect Bentley’s sporting character despite its radically different package and purpose together with sculptured, flowing surfaces in keeping with the Bentley tradition.”

With all due respect, that brings to mind lipstick and a particular farm animal.

Just because you have a design language that works exceedingly well with coupes and sedans doesn’t mean that it translates into other vehicle architectures.

The real reason behind what will undoubtedly become a production vehicle (i.e., you don’t keep flogging a product that you have no intention of bringing to market) can be discerned from a comment from Wolfgang Dürheimer, Bentley chairman and chief executive, also at Geneva: “We know that many Bentley customers already own SUVs. . . .”

Of course. These customers are buying something from Land Rover or Mercedes or Lexus or someone other than Bentley. So the solution is to extend the brand. Or so it might seem.

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Here’s hoping that the company invests in low-cost tooling, because it is hard to imagine that something that looks like this is going to have much of a run beyond the market consisting of those who want to have bragging rights that they have something that few others have.

Or maybe that’s the strategy.