While testing in Europe the new Bentley SUV was photographed and it looks like the car will stay pretty close in design to the concept EXP 9 F. The car has some disguise but it can still be seen that it is the new Bentley 4×4 and it was having some endurance tests. The car is due to be launched in 2016.
The concept car; EXP9 F split opinions. This was because certain aspects seemed very exaggerated and it was said that this one done to make the car stand out in the Geneva Motor Show in 2012 which was very busy. The car pictured does have some disguise and so it is not easy to know whether it has changed very much. The proportions can be seen but there is padding on the wings and so knowing what is going on there is impossible at the moment.
It looks from the picture though that there are twin headlamps and a grille in the traditional Bentley style. The front view of the car draws similarities with a tall Continental GT. The grille has its wireframe and the lights are double round with LEDs which are familiar to those who know Bentleys well.
It is thought that the aluminium architecture will be borrowed from the Audi Q7 and VW Touareg off-rod cars which will both be 200-300kg lighter than the current versions and so the Bentley should also be lighter as well.
The test car has a 6.0 litre petrol engine which implies that the W12 that was in the concept car could very well be put in a production model.
It is expected that European buyers will be more likely to look for lower CO2 options. It is expected that there will be a 4.0 litre V8 engine and possible there will be hybrid options as well as diesel engines which could be V8 TDI from other Volkswagen models but with specific tuning to suit the Bentley car.
It has been said that there will be 3500 SUVs built in the Crewe factory in north-west England. There has been a monitoring going on of interest since the car was shown in Geneva but the companies marketing department and it has been found that there is a demand for the car across the world especially in China and Russia as well as Europe and the US.
The former chief executive and chairman of Bentley, spoke about this project last year explaining that it would take advantage of the increasing SUV market and the company are positive that the project will lead to significant growth.
Bentley have also got very clever with regards to prototype testing. They realise that spy shots will be taken and so they have started a website newbentlet.com which has a little bit of information about the car and the chance to register your interest. The main text is about how they disguise cars but it could still potentially have more interesting information in the future.
The Bentley is expected to appear in showrooms in 2016 and priced at around the £140,000 mark.