Bentley SUV is official, goes on sale in 2016 – will others supercar companies make the same move?

July 23rd, 2013 by Road Test TV

Bentley EXP 9F Concept

At the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, Bentley showed up with an awkward looking SUV concept called the EXP 9F. Now, the concept was received with much criticism due to its awkward styling – some liked it but more hated it. Well, it seems like that isn’t stopping Bentley from moving forward with an official production SUV. The automaker confirmed today that it will start selling the Bentley SUV in 2016 – making it the company’s fourth model in its lineup.

Bentley said that it is investing a total of £800 million in its headquarters at Crewe and the development of new models and that the SUV alone will create over 1,000 jobs in the UK. That’s great – but what’s the reason behind finally moving forward with an SUV. According to Bentley, “response from customers to a Bentley SUV has been extremely positive in the last 16 months.”

“This is excellent news for Bentley and for the UK. Bentley is increasingly successful and this new fourth model line will leverage the success of the global SUV market,” said Bentley’s Chairman and Chief Executive, Dr Wolfgang Schreiber. “The support of everyone involved with the Company has been fundamental to this decision, which will ensure sustainable growth for the company.”

This all sounds really great but what about the performance? We here at Road Test TV are all about high-performance and fast cars. Well, According to Bentley, ” the SUV will be a thoroughbred Bentley true to the brand hallmarks of luxury, performance, quality and craftsmanship. The styling will set it apart from any other SUV on the road and will be true to the Bentley design DNA. It will be the most luxurious and most powerful SUV in the market.”

The Bentley EXP 9F Concept that made its debut at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show was powered by a 6.0 liter W12 making more than 600-hp. At the time, Bentley said that the SUV is based around the Bentley 6.0 liter, twin-turbocharged W12 engine with an 8-speed transmission – but the production model will likely get the company’s recently-launched 4.0 liter, twin-turbocharged V8 or a hybrid drivetrain.

Maserati and Bentley are the first super-luxury automakers that have confirmed an SUV. Lamborghini and Aston Martin have both shown strong interest in the SUV market and both have shown concept versions – neither has confirmed a production version. With the Bentley SUV confirmed, it can be assumed that at the very least, Lamborghini will make a move to officialize production of its SUV.

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