Having suffered a rather ignominious debut at the Geneva Motor Show you would think that Bentley would have dumped the EXP 9 F out the back of some warehouse and forgotten about it for a while. Instead the luxury SUV concept was flown to Beijing, where it was shown to what will likely become its biggest market, and an announcement made regarding the engine line-up that Bentley is considering for its first foray into the segment.
Leading the line could be the 6.0-litre W12 engine that was recently usurped as the main attraction in Bentley's Continental. The 600hp, 800Nm twin-turbocharged unit would be ideally suited to a vehicle that Bentley says will be equally at home at an opera gala performance, as it will on the sand dunes of the Middle East or the overtaking lane of a German Autobahn.
Set to combine a spacious, versatile cabin and commanding driving position with on- and off-road manners befitting a Bentley the EXP 9 F could also gain the 500hp 4.0-litre V8 that was recently fitted to the 'entry' level Continental models.
Most interestingly however (as if twin-turbo W12s and V8s are not interesting) Bentley has announced it is also considering a hybrid option. While power figures for the V6 plug-in powered hybrid are not mentioned Bentley does state that it is targeting emissions of 130g/km, a sub-five-second 0-62mph time and an electric range of 19 miles. This was all said with a straight face. Bet those Bentley Boys are good at poker too.
Paul Healy - 25 Apr 2012