In 2012, Bentley shocked the world by debuting its first-ever sport utility vehicle, in concept form. It was dubbed the EXP 9 F and the design was polarizing, to say the least. Whether or not that particular design may live on, Bentley is bent on delivering an SUV to its well-heeled customers, and has officially announced that it will produce a sport utility vehicle, with sales beginning in 2016.
This morning, the British luxury automaker announced that the forthcoming SUV will be the fourth model line to be built in its Crewe facility. While the styling of the EXP 9 F may have been surprising, the decision to build an SUV is not. Porsche proved more than a decade ago that a luxury-performance motoring brand could build an SUV without diluting its heritage. Given the fact that the Cayenne drives the core of Porsche’s sales, Bentley would have been crazy not to build a ‘ute.
The only question now is- what of the appearance? The EXP 9 F put the world on notice, but it also garnered quite a bit of flak from the motoring press. Bold designs have been proven to win in the past, but how does that fit in with the characteristically reserved Bentley portfolio? Only time will tell.
In the meantime, development and production of this new SUV will create 1,000 jobs in the UK. The vehicle they help produce will likely run on the same platform as other SUVs in the wide world of the Volkswagen family- shared by the VW Touareg, Porsche Cayenne and Audi Q7.
No word on pricing or when we can expect to see a production design, but consider our interest officially piqued.