Bentley has unveiled plans to build its first ever SUV in a break with tradition for the luxury car maker.
Wolfgang Duerheimer, chairman and chief executive of the Crewe-based company which has scores of West Midlands suppliers, unveiled the EXP 9 F design concept at the Geneva Motor Show - branding it “a historic moment for Bentley Motors”.
“Since Bentley’s first experimental prototype in 1919, the very first car to bear the company name, the designation EXP has stood for ground breaking innovation in the automotive industry,” he said.
“With the EXP 9 F, we are literally moving into new terrain for the Bentley brand, just as we did in 2002 when we presented the Continental GT to create a new category of car.
“Our vision for the SUV segment is equally ambitious - we want to be at the very pinnacle of this growing segment adding a car to this vehicle category that so far does not exist.”
Mr Duerheimer added that the vehicle would equally at home in “the urban environments of America or China, the sand dunes of the Middle East and the left lane of the autobahn”.
“The EXP 9 F could be the next big step in the history of our company, expanding our model-lines to three, alongside the bespoke Mulsanne and the high performance Continental GT and Flying Spur,” he said.
“We know that many of our customers already own SUVs alongside the Mulsanne or Continental in their garages. For many of them a dramatically styled, Bentley all-wheel drive SUV would be a natural choice both on and off-road.”
The concept is based around using Bentley’s 6.0 litre, twin-turbocharged W12 engine with an 8-speed-transmission.
Mr Duerheimer added: “While we have not made a final decision on the production of this car, Project EXP 9 F is clearly on the way.”