Bentley’s prototype SUV will live to hit roads, probably not too many trails

Bentley SUV

At the 2012 Geneva Auto Show, Bentley unveiled an SUV concept vehicle called the EXP 9F. And, well, people hated it. We, on the other hand, rather liked it. We see it as the epitome of the Bentley brand: huge and unapologetic.

After the automotive media and fans resoundingly slammed it, we assumed it would never see production. We were wrong, however. News is coming from Autocar this morning that the massive Bentley 4×4 will in fact be built – and sold.

The yet-to-be-named SUV will be based on the same platform as the new Audi Q7 and the Porsche Cayenne. No surprise there, as Bentley, too, is owned by Volkswagen. We suspect the hulking luxury SUV will be powered by either a V8 or Bentley’s infamous 6.0-liter twin-turbocharged W12 engine.

No matter the engine, Bentley will undoubtedly fit the SUV with its close-ratio eight-speed automatic, which features what Bentley calls “Block Shifting.” Block Shifting allows the transmission to quickly downshift from eighth gear to fourth, making for faster acceleration should the driver choose to really goose it.

Based upon the pricing of other Bentley models, we expect the SUV to run somewhere in the mid-to-upper $200,000s.

For that money, though, buyers will get a luxury SUV unlike anything else on the planet. Bentley is proud of its bespoke heritage, arguing that while many other automakers attempt to replicate it, only Bentley truly embodies it.

The fact that the vast majority of people hate the looks of the Bentley SUV is irrelevant. They’ll sell them – and that’s what matters. The real question remains, however: How many will Soulja Boy order?


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