Geneva Motor Show: Bentley's shock SUV, the EXP 9 F

Bentley has claimed the first real shock of the Geneva Motor Show 2012 with the EXP 9 F SUV concept.

It's a shock for a couple of reasons: partly because Bentley did a great job keeping it under wraps in the build up to the show, but mostly because it's absolutely disgusting.
That view might mellow - and you might completely disagree - but conventionally pretty the EXP 9 F certainly isn't. Bentley says it's a "bold reinterpretation of Bentley design cues in a specious, versatile and high performance SUV."

In other words, it's a really quick, really massive box with a front end that's quite like the Mulsanne's. And a terrible name. That'll change, surely.

The EXP 9 F really is a mover, with a 6.0-litre, twin-turbo, twelve-cylinder petrol engine driving all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. Bentley says it is still considering how much power to give the car, but that it could be "up to 600bhp."

How close this is to production is not certain, but Bentley has made clear that it is gauging reaction to the EXP 9 F before considering what to do; if enough rich folk coo, they'll get their Bentley gas guzzler.

Bentley's Wolfgang Durheimer said: "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."

Durheimer is the man responsible for making the Porsche Cayenne a reality, despite opposition from all sides at the time - the very thought of a Porsche SUV was anathema. The Cayenne has gone on to become an enormous success for Porsche, of course.

The EXP 9 F, if built, will cost around £150,000 and be made with the sole aim of being the plushest, brashest, most luxurious SUV there ever was - including the Eterniti Hemera, believe it or not.

It will, however, share a load of parts with other VW Group big SUVs - namely the aforementioned Cayenne, the Audi Q7 and Volkswagen Touareg.

No real surprises in the cabin, which is full of walnut (50 Cent might call it his 'walnut whip' when he buys one. BAZING!) and leather, although the central TFT touch screen is incongruously modern.

So, if you've got £150,000 burning a hole in your unicorn skin trousers and think a Bentley 4x4 on 23-inch rims would look good parked next to your custom Hummer golf buggy, get on the blower to Crewe.

For all the latest news on the Geneva Motor Show 2012, click here.
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