Bentley’s controversial SUV project has received the green-light, with production set to begin in 2016. And judging by the outline drawing attached with the press release, the company looks to have listened to ‘some’ of the less positive feedback.
The new model which will be the brand’s first SUV is said to have styling that will set it apart from any other SUV on the road and will be “true to the Bentley design DNA”.
The company’s EXP 9F luxury SUV concept was first revealed at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, powered by a 6.0-litre twin-turbocharged W12 engine and mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox. While sounding promising on paper, the EXP 9F received mixed reviews, despite Bentley saying the ‘response from customers’ has been extremely positive.
Now with approval from Volkswagen’s board, the production version will be built – hopefully with a more elegant (i.e. subtle) design, in keeping with that Bentley DNA which the management team perpetually refer to.
This assumption is partially reinforced by the removal of the EXP 9F Concept from Bentley’s media site.
The SUV will be made in Crewe, creating over 1000 jobs in the UK thanks to Bentley’s investment of more than £800 million over the next three years. Dr Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Board of Volkswagen Group said “The Volkswagen Group believes in the UK as a competitive location for industrial production.”
Dr Winterkorn joined UK Prime Minister David Cameron at this morning’s announcement, where he said “..Bentley fans all around the world are looking forward to the brand’s first SUV. Together we will make this new Bentley another true Bentley – powerful, exclusive and successful.”
Bentley believes this will be a ‘thoroughbred Bentley’ true to the brand hallmarks of luxury, performance, quality and craftsmanship. They went on to say that “..it will be the most luxurious and most powerful SUV in the market.”